Sunday, 27 December 2009

Talks with Albert Lamb, 24-26 Dec 2009

Cotton (2000) claims that there is "some commonality of experience of childhood across contemporary European cultures" that are accepted among children with similar cultural backgrounds, "animals are often used as a metaphor for childhood, with allegorical descriptions treating animals as participants in human-like worlds” to reach across children/audiences from diverse cultural backgrounds (Cotton, 2000, p.33).

In my discussions with Albert Lamb, an author and cartoonist, we thought of a bear who has overslept and woke up to a completely changed world - an idea similar to that of a mother in the film Good Bye Lenin! by Wolfgang Becker (2003). There would be a bear from East side of the Wall who woke up 20 years later (he also suggested A German TV series Heimat (Homeland) to get an idea of how people experienced the changes of Germany).

There's a male bear, who wakes up and meets a female bear from the West. The female bear is up to date and westernised, whereas the male bear is a socialist, just woken up and doesn't know the changes Germany went through.

Becker, W. (2003) Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] Berlin: X Filme Creative Pool GmbH.
Cotton, P. (2000) Picture Books Sans Frontières. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books Ltd. 

Monday, 21 December 2009

Collab mtg w Terry

Throwing ideas about for the picture book project.
  • Will the book proceed like a slide show, and will it be interactive?
  • How long would the score be: Minimalist, and will add layers as the reader turns the pages, adding the depth of experience
  • How would the score link to the pages if the readers could choose when to turn the page?

The Guardian has a (re)design experiment video where a reader can select articles and photographs from a physical desktop, with similar "physical" feel to Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft Surface - The Possibilities. [online]

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Berlin Wall, a Bear and Collaboration

Artists at PeachBeach in Berlin have created Forward Ever, Backward Never! to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Wall's opening (PeachBeach, 2009). Symbol of Berlin, a bear, made of cultural icons and landmarks of the GDR was used to represent the changes of the city.
Attila, one of the artists involved in the collaborative work, says "the people love the drawing because of the loads of stuff you can discover and find in. Berliners find a huge amount of details they know from their own life" in an email interview. Attila and others chose to use the bear, a symbol of Berlin, with "Forward ever, backward never!" a quote by Erich Honecker made on the 40th anniversary of the GDR, a month before the opening of the Wall.

Attila also notes that while some people claim there is a psychological divide, thinks "younger people dont have such mindwalls anymore". On collaboration, Attila and two partners made a mind map after research, and then collectively chose what symbols to include.
PeachBeach (2009) Forward Ever, Backward Never! [online]

Friday, 11 December 2009

Dances for the Wall

"I was surprised to find out how much Nostalgia for the East had developed since the fall of the Wall" says Essmann (2009), who had interviewed Berliners for the Berlin Wall Project. The Project is a series of dance projects "to reflect upon what the Wall and its removal meant to the Western world in its broadest sense" and to acknowledge "that physical and political boundaries play an important role in an individual as well as a collective’s life" [The Berlin Wall Project, 2009].
"We forget this now but the Cold War constantly threatened to turn into a devastating atomic war. No place captured this reality more than Berlin, Germany – a divided city on the forefront of the battle between East and West." [The Berlin Wall Project, 2009]
The performance:;proto%3Drtsp&header_image=header_mil_video.gif 

Berlin Wall Project [2009] The Berlin Wall Project. [online] [11/12/2009]

Essmann, Jeffrey (2009) Nejla Yatkin: The Berlin Wall Project. [online] [11/12/2009]

The Wall by Nejla Yatkin/NY2Dance. [online] 


I have been speaking to friends who have just completed their Collaborative Practices unit. The things I've noticed - also from the unit lectures - are:
  • recognise talents & strengths/weaknesses unique to the collaborative partner
  • keep good communication, possibly choose your creative partner based on their communication skills/capabilities
  • cooperation and compromises are part of working with others
Collaboration is not something new to my practice. One example is the Berlin mit Berlin website, which was set up after several discussions with a friend. However, this unit will challenge me into analysing what collaboration is. I will clarify what I want to create, explore who can contribute with similar interests, and have some time to commit to.

The process of unification in Germany has been a challenge, and it still is. Whatever the views are on the success of this process, it is the result of collaboration, of people from the former GDR and the FRG. There were compromises made on both sides of the Wall in order to unite two nations which had been divided for 50 years.

A kid from Berlin
Her mother is from East Berlin and father from West Berlin. It's very likely she wouldn't be around if the Wall didn't come down in 89. Raising a child must require a bit of collaboration too.

Would it be possible to use the unification process as the theme, and also to illustrate the importance of communication, diversity, tolerance and collaboration? 

Collaborative Practice notes


As well as at the presentations yesterday, I have talked to students who have just completed their Collaborative Unit. Things I've noticed are:

  • recognize strengths and weaknesses of creative partners (and my own)
  • keep good communication, and have this as one of important elements when searching a collaborating partner: how well do they communicate, and how well do I?
  • co-operation & compromises are part of working with others

  • Clarify what I want to create, and who can contribute with similar interests, "equal stake", time to devote
Collaborations in the past:
  • BmB dissertation website
  • Cold War Game track
  • Recording Albert Lamb
  • "Onomatopoeia"
  • Tree house project in Class 2
  • Bismarck in Class 2
  • History class session on Berlin (which didn't happen)
Collaboration for today (or tomorrow): Toilet cake for the Toilet competition

I know a fun kid with parents from East and West Berlin. What would have happened if the Wall didn't open? This is a kind of collaboration too! I'll explore the  idea of East/West Berlin for my Collaborative work: bridging, connecting talents.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Collaborative Kicks-off

Although it's unofficial, this is the first session on collaboration.

"Same amount of stake"
constantly reflect on the nature of collaboration

Prop (500wds) to be emailed by 6 Jan, for the first official collab lecture:
what you, and they, can bring in and how we'd influence the project: something "I" or "they" can only do
clarify the mode of communication: Skype, Google Docs, face-to-face meetings...

11 March: support work and Crit (1500wds)

Portfolio Contents

Session 2 Reflective Practice
Session 3 "Creativity"
Session 4 Research into Practice
Session 5 Critical Contexts
Session 6 Portfolio Surgery
Session 7 Considering Audiences
Final Portfolio Task Critical Evaluation

The Berlin Wall: 11.08.1990

Berliner Morgenpost (2008) Baubeginn an der Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer. [online]

Who Drew the Iron Curtain?

"Significantly, after 1961, it is hard to find any of the pre-Berlin-Wall kinds of visualisations of the Iron Curtain. The Berlin Wall not only turned into reality the Iron Curtain discourse, but it also focused and dominated it visually. The image of the wall as a border turned out to be strongest at the end, pinning down and virtually eliminating all the earlier 'Iron Curtain' fantasies. It seems that non of them sticks in our minds, in total opposition to the Iron Curtain verbal metaphor which, as if unperturbed by the Berlin Wall discourse, both before and after 1989, is still in use today. Perhaps, visual metaphors hold more when expressed in words than pictures." (Murauska-Muthesius, 2000, p.248)

Murauska-Muthesius, Katarzyna "Who Drew the Iron Curtain? Images East and West" in Murawska-Muthesius, Katarzyna (ed.) (2000) Borders in Art: Revising Kunstgeographie. Warsaw: Institut Sztuki PAN, pp.241-248.

Core Unit: Critical Evaluation

Progress since I have enrolled onto the MADA has been positive and rewarding. I was finding it difficult to find the direction this summer. As I have returned from Berlin and having handed in my BA dissertation, I felt I was in a gap and I was uncertain to which path I would follow… or was there a path to follow? This is an issue not only based on my occupation as a student, but something that could lead to my visa being cut off. When I sent off an application, I was slowly starting to think that the course was going to provide me with an opportunity, but I was still unclear about what it could offer.

Decisions and discoveries were based on various topics ranging from digital software to concepts and theories. I loved the fact I was discovering new ways of expressing myself, and actually, the simple act of learning was of joy. Although there were elements of concerns when I started the course and how I could cope with my new student life, things have turned out to be good, usually above my expectations.

Deadlines and time management still remain to be a challenge, as my part time work at a school restricts me from investing all the time I want into creative practice… having said that, I do embrace creative practice at the school. Perhaps it’s a different kind of creativity and often does not come with a deadline.

I have become further aware of my practice and the work I produce, mostly to do with being aware of the audience and where I see myself to be. As my personal projects have been, well, personal, I did not feel the necessity to consider my audience. I would talk to friends about the images I photographed and that often was the end of my practice.

One of the most important things I have learned, or have re-picked up, is my reflective skills. This was also something I have been distant from due to my very private practice. And the experience of exchanging ideas and learning new skills/ideas everyday is unbelievably exciting. Of course, this is not to say that there is no learning elsewhere. The difference is that I am now clearly aware of my learning when it takes place.

This has influenced my professional work too. As well as being able to bring in new ideas to the school, I appreciate my time at the school far deeper than I used to. The school work and the NUCA work alongside one another gives me the time to step back and to reflect, while I engage in creative work (although in different settings).

What I would like to highlight are: the perspectives I have been able to sharpen, and being able to critically evaluate situations during my action. I am consciously reflecting on my practice every day, through blogging and other means, and feel more confident and comfortable with the environment I am currently in.

Reflective Practice: Core Unit

“Our knowing is ordinarily tacit, implicit in our patterns of action and in our feel for the stuff with which we are dealing. It seems right to say that our knowing is in our action.” (Schön, 1991)

It is a difficult task for a practitioner to be conscious of their knowledge or skills, even though individuals think whilst in action (Schön, 1991). Schön (1995) claims that process of reflection-in-action is crucial to the practitioners to cope with “situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and value conflict” (Schön, 1995, p.50).

I have been introduced to the Gibb’s cycle of reflection in 2006 when I studied FdA Health and Social Care. Reflection is a process in which I carry out briefly in my head - without writing the events and thoughts on paper – or through discussions at workplace meetings. It is not a rigid structure which I have in place.

However, this pattern is starting to change through blogging. My blog, Berlin mit Berlin, started off as an online sketch book for my ideas and to keep a note of websites I have visited. This routine is slowly developing into keeping journals and reflective notes on my experiences. As my research on Digital Arts course relies greatly on internet, it has been a convenient tool for recording my thoughts and perspectives. And I have an awareness of how I was able to reflect on my practice whilst in action, to alter my course of action.

Being able to navigate and to change will depend on how effective my reflective skills are. Often, I find myself continuing the pattern or being unaware of repetitive cycles. It could happen at my work at the school, or to do with my personal photography projects. Habits could dominate a large proportion of my actions, and motivation or creativity, the drive to try out something new sit at the back. The blogging has now become my daily routine, and I keep a record of the websites I have visited, experiences, ideas and inspiration are documented on a frequent and regular basis.

Blogging has provided an objective eye for me to reflect on my practice, as well as being functional as a sketch book which I can pick up at work or at home. It is hard to imagine myself without my blog now, and how I have changed my view on the blogging culture is enormous.

Criativity and Originality

Creativity is "the capability to create" [Princeton WordNet, 2009]. According to Ken Robinson, everyone is born creative, but the schooling processes frequently "squander" individual capacity and character (Robinson, 2006). "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original" and claims that through education which scares children of being wrong and concludes that we "get educated out" of creativity. So is it possible to link creativity to originality?

Tan notes that originality is often transformation of existing ideas than inventing something new entirely (Tan, 2001). “Inspiration has more to do with careful research and looking for a challenge” and “testing one proposition against another and seeing how things combine and react”. In Tan’s view, “ideas and feelings appear spontaneously and of their own accord” is a concept of myth (Tan, 2001).

This is clearly evident in my practice also, as I place half of my time at the NUCA and the other half at Summerhill School in Leiston. At the Activity room I often discuss ideas I have learned or developed through Digital Arts sessions with pupils, and I gain large amount of knowledge at Summerhill which feeds into my creative work in Norwich. I create collaboratively with the kids at Summerhill and make use of conversations I have with them. Ideas are bouncing off each other constantly, and is transforming and evolving continuously.
The Summerhill environment is based on self-governance and I have a lot of control over the projects I participate in. This is not to say that the school community has no structure, but the point is that each individual is responsible and held to account for their decision and actions. The fundamental values of the community, that everyone takes part in managing the community, nurtures free and creative environment.

Creativity is about “playing with found objects, reconstructing things that already exist, transforming ideas or stories I already know” and “exploring inwards, examining your existing presumptions, squinting at the archive of experience from new angles” (Tan, 2001).
“What really matters is whether we as readers continue to think about the things we have read and seen long after the final page is turned.” (Tan, 2001)
Princeton WordNet [2009] Creativity. [online] [10/12/2009]
Robinson, Ken (2006) Talks: Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity. [online] [02/12/2009]
Tan, Shaun (2001) Originality and Creativity. [online] [10/12/2009]

Core Unit: Critical Contexts

Where does the artist stand in the wider society? The artist is always influenced by the environment of practice, however, not always aware of the field or work of the other artists. Critical context session has helped me understand the importance of the world around them.

My practice is always changing, even though there is a commonality which connects various projects I have designed and carried out. It has started at my GCSE Art classes, enrolling at a journalist college, working as a political policy researcher, photojournalist, photography teacher, cultural studies and an arts student, and I continue to learn from my social environment. For example, my BA dissertation on the Berlin Wall and its influences it had on Berliners’ perceptions was based on my interests in the Cold War and supported by my political research background as well my experiences as a photojournalist. I am aware of the political and social context of Berlin and Germany which has just celebrated 20 years of the opening of the Berlin Wall.

I have not been familiar with the process of using any kinds of models to position my practice, and my observation on the course is that it is not always necessary. This is not to say that there is little or no point in finding out other artists and their work, but some artists I have exchanged ideas have been tied up in the labelling of their work (in my opinion).

As of my own practice, I have become critically aware of my angle and positions. My background as a political policy researcher gave me an interest and an in-depth knowledge of the Cold War cultures and perceptions, and my experiences as a photojournalist influences my work to be based in the more-traditional photography with little or no manipulation and editing.

What I intend to do on this course, however, is exploring and expanding my self-awareness of work. I vision myself changing my styles and developing into a new practice, where it is beyond photojournalism and being expressive and active. All these changes I plan to introduce is built on top of my current practice, and is not a subject entirely new. And for that reason, I valued the opportunity to have a critical eye.

Hybridised Practice Critical Review

Historical ethical aesthetic of digital tech

Conceptual ground of digital technology has influenced the way individuals’ perceptions through its historical development. Since its beginning in the 1950s this media has rapidly evolved and the computer-based digital culture now dominates our lives in the industrially developed nations, organisations and individuals alike (Colson, 2007). The age of digital also overlaps with the Cold War, coincidentally or otherwise. The establishment of two German states, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, was shortly followed by the publication of Cybernetics and Society, a key text in the foundation of human-machines communication and interfaces (Colson, 2007). The Berlin Wall, a by-product of the Cold War, was constructed in 1961 when “the world’s first video game” Spacewars was created at the MIT (Colson, 2007, p.14); and lasting until 1989, similarly influencing people’s perceptions and behaviour.

Roman Cieslewicz, cover of Opus International magazine, 1968 (Pavit & Crowly, 2008)

By influencing the minds of individuals, the technological development has also changed the social and cultural elements of our society. Collecting, processing, displaying and storing information has been affected by the rapid, logical and hybrid media, thus resulting in changes of our interpretation of the world (Freyer et al, 2008).

Based on the findings of my previous research and interviews of the Berlin Wall and its influences on perceptions and values, I have been working on a short introduction of my project. The project Berlin mit Berlin – Berlin with Berlin – recognises the differences the former East and West Berliners’ values, largely created by twenty-eight years of separation by the Wall, and further, emphasises on the positive nature of its diverse perceptions as a fundamental concept of pluralist capital of the reunified Germany. It is also important to acknowledge that individual character often occupies a large and influential proportion of personal behaviour and perceptions, thus the “wall in the mind” is neither predominant nor permanent.

In order to illustrate the diversity of Berliners who had participated in the research, I have proposed to produce an introduction clip to the concept with view in mind to upload onto an internet website it was to be short, between fifteen to twenty seconds long. To maximize the effect of the clip, I have also decided to:

have Berliners speak of their experiences of the divide, the Wall’s opening and/or the reunification process which followed,

show multiple portraits of the individuals, with minimum manipulations and to implement a documentary style of presentation,

avoid the use of any text or numbers to enable viewers to focus on the images and voices, and

to end with one image or a symbol, but not of unity, to signify the individuality of the Berliners.

Through research, the link between the Berlin Wall and the Space Race became clear, from its political origins to timescale of events, between late-1950s and early 1961 to the opening of the Wall and the end of the Cold War (Hoffman, 2008). It seemed appropriate to compose a constellation-like image with photographs and a dark background, to illustrate how singular forms of life can form a larger concept, as constellations do (National Geographic Society, 2009).

The production process began from editing interviews with Audacity and Logic Pro, from searching for short sound-bites, and clearing the background noise. To show the diversity, the clip was to show as many Berliners as possible, in this case, twenty-strong, and to portray a sense of buzzing and energetic atmosphere of the multicultural city. I had several discussions with video and sound technicians to explore how effectively this short clip could materialise, and concluded to use: a combination of Adobe Photoshop and After Effects to process the photographs into a movie file; to edit and export audio recording files of Berliners from Logic Pro, to illustrate a timescale with moving photographs with narratives, and finally to export the movie file to Quick Time.

During production, the clip’s play time was extended to thirty seconds, due to the limitations of time and the necessity to include Berliners who had participated, and this compromise seemed to have solved the time dilemma.

The Berlin mit Berlin clip has been shown to seven people and has received a mixed feedback. Specifically, the fast transition speed caused confusion and disengagement of the audience. This was due to my understanding and the desire to maintain the clip short to avoid the audience’s attention being diverted from the clip. The “confusion” was to be part of the intentionally created atmosphere of liveliness. However, it became clear that this thirty-second timescale was not long enough for the Berliners to tell their story sufficiently. The original structure for this clip was to keep the length to twenty seconds, although I will reconsider the length of time to allow Berliners and the audience to engage further, as it is crucial for the audience to feel the context of Berlin mit Berlin.

Another issue was ambiguous final image: photographs combined to the shape of Berlin City. It was important for the final image to be simple and easily accessible, and the city of Berlin seemed an ideal solution. Avoiding landmarks which identified with only one side of the former division was likely to portray a kind of bias, and it was necessary to conclude the clip with a neutral symbol. Brandenburg Gate, with its strong identity symbol, also represented united Germany and Berlin, which was not the concept that Berlin mit Berlin contained. However, it has been evident that the audience could not recognise the shape of Berlin without any descriptive text or additional illustration.

(Strange Maps, 2009)

We Hate Borders. Ina Mar [2009]

Inserting numbers or text - for example, 1961, the year of the Wall being constructed and 1989, the year the Wall was breached, or the name “Berlin” - would be considered, in order to allow the clip to reach out to and to connect to a wider range of audience. The possibility of a map with areas surrounding the city of Berlin appearing in the background will also be experimented, although the distraction from the photographs should be kept to minimum.

There are two languages being spoken by the interviewed Berliners, German and English, and this could form a barrier to those who do not speak the languages also. This issue has been addressed and is being considered for an improvement, and highlighted the limitations and challenges of reaching a global audience through internet.

Overall, the Berlin mit Berlin introduction clip is beginning to form its shape, with clear conceptual messages still uncompromised with its strengths and weaknesses have been recognised. , as well as development needs for skills to explore further possibilities of the digital media and concepts.

Reference List

Colson, Richard (2007) The Fundamentals of Digital Art. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA

Freyer, Conny, Noel, Sebastien & Rucki, Eva (2008) Digital By Design. London: Thames & Hudson.

Hoffman, David (2008) Talks: David Hoffman Shares His Sputnik Mania. [online] [17/11/2009]

Ina Mar [2009] Fall of the Berlin Wall – 20th anniversary (1989-2009). [online]

National Geographic Society (2009) Star Attractions: Constellations. [online] [17/11/2009]

Strange Maps (2009) 414 – Strangling Hitler-Germany. [online] [09/12/2009]

Pavitt, Jane & Crowley, David (eds.) (2008) The Cold War Modern. London: V & A Publishing.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Reunited by a Bridge: Workington

A town which "can legitimately complain that it is now half the town it once was" (Kelly, 2009) is now reunited with a temporary bridge.

Kelly, Jon (2009) Rail station hope for the town cut in two. [online]
Wainwright, Martin (2009) Footbridge reunites Workington after floods. [online]
Wainwright, Martin (2009) Workington divided by broken bridge: 'It's going to take years to correct'. [online]

Monday, 7 December 2009

Another Wall of Division

The wall between Israel and Palestine is still physical, and just like the Berlin Wall, it cuts people's lives into bits. This Guardian article is talking about how Palestinian patients are being pressured to become an Israeli collaborator in return for access to medical care.

"Israeli officials deny that entry to Israel for medical reasons is conditional on patients becoming informants but they say security is an issue." (McCarthy, 2009)
McCarthy, Rory. (2009) Israel accused of interrogating medical patients from Gaza. [online] 

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Berlin 89/09: Berlinische Galerie

Olaf Metzel, Fünfjahrplan, 1985
The exhibition carries out an investigation of the transformation the capital has experienced since the opening of the Wall, including work by artists who themselves have lived through these changes.
"When the Berlin Wall was opened, the city became the focus of international attention almost overnight: previously the symbol of two opposing political systems, it was now a barometer for the process of reunification and the test ground for new societal, cultural and architectural ideas."  [Berlinische Galerie, 2009]

Berlinische Galerie [2009] Berlin 89/09: Art Between Traces of the Past and Utopian Futures. [online]

2 Narratives by Thomas Hoepker of Magnum

A Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker reflects on his assignments covering the GDR with his photographs at (Hoepker and Filgueira, 2009)Hoepker also gives his account at the Economist website (Hoepker, 2009b).
"Earlier this year I realized we would celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I went back into my archive and discovered that I had boxes full of negatives that I had never seen before, taken in East Germany over the past 50 years. It was a treasure which had to be earthed." [Hoepker, 2009a]

"I dont think we should miss Lenin and Stalin and Ulbricht and Honecker a lot, but they represent at least a trial of what men could do, but they failed bitterly of course... In some aspects it was a dream which was shatterered, many people believed in socialism for a while - and so many were disappointed." (Hoepker, 2009)
In both these narratives, the photographer narrates and reflects on his experiences in the GDR with his voice and photographs.

Hoepker, Thomas & Filgueira, Eva (2009) Pictures from a Vanished Country. [online]
Hoepker, Thomas (2009b) Life behind the Berlin Wall. [online]

Framing with the Scene: Michael Hughes

Photographs where tourist souvenirs are held in front of the camera, only to cover up what is behind these goods - the real landmarks which often represent the city. Framing is a stage in photography, but Michael Hughes has removed/purchased these tourist mementos from gift shops and replaced them at the scene of their origins.

Hughes has worked on reportage works in the former GDR too.

Hughes, M. [2009] berlin, brandenburger tor. [online]
Hughes, M. [2009] Michael Hughes's Blog. [online]

Schabowski Interview

Günter Schabowski claims the border would have been opened within hours, and what he had said at the press conference was no mistake.

BBC [2009] Berlin Visa Man: "It wasn't an Error". [online]

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Fluid Text at Bestiario

This page appeals to me in terms of the text to be projected onto the Wall: flexible, fluid but still permanent in some way.

{b.}bestiario [2009]

Günter Schabowski Interview, Shortly After the 9 Nov 1989 Press Conference

Günter Schabowski, the spokesperson for the SED (GDR's ruling party) gave an interview to Tom Brokaw of NBC, after the 9 Nov 1989 press conference which - by mistake or otherwise - lead to the opening of the Wall. In it, Brokaw questions whether GDR citizens can cross the Berlin Wall, in which Schabowski replies in English, that "it is possible for them to go through the border" and confirms that the people are granted "the permission of leaving GDR".

When Schabowski answers the questions about the free election in the GDR and how the SED has been mistrusted by the the people of GDR, he answers "we understand that it is a very very difficult task, but it is a task" (Schabowski, in Shea, 2009).

Shea, D. (2009) Berlin Wall Newscasts 20 Years Later: Watch Brokaw, Jennings & Rather Report The News (VIDEO). [online]

Friday, 4 December 2009

Sketches from the Less Bicknell Lecture

Sketches I made during my Core Unit lecture today. Les Bicknell presented some of his work, collaborating with residents of various communities, and above the door of the office's entrance he had painted the word "entrance" backwards. This was his perception to say that he should be out on the street (and it started up conversations too).

This linked with ideas I have about "the wall in the mind". When people say there is a psychological divide, they're referring to the cultural difference and conflict of values between  former East and West Germans (Ossies and Wessies).
"Today's East and West Germans harbor deep mutual suspicion. The stereotypes are deeply ingrained and readily conjured: "Ossis" are racist, lazy, and self-pitying, while "Wessis" are self-centered, money-obsessed, and arrogant. Statistics show that Germans from opposite sides of the former border rarely marry, and they sometimes seem to make efforts to avoid mingling socially." (Abadi, 2009)
So people are still influenced by the concepts developed under the Codl War. Do Germans compare "the other side of the wall", against their own values? Is that the wall which still searve as a boundary? So I placed some words on a physical boudary.

If the wall of ideals seperated "us" and "them"... would printing the word "entrance" backwards help people see the values on the other side? (it would be "Eingang" in German, but I didn't think of this when I sketched this picture.)

Or is the word entrance too emotionally attached to them coming over and invading their culture or communities? Should the backward text be "Ausgang" (exit)? Maybe there should be different words facing each side of the Wall. Perhaps it should be a question mark.

Abadi, C. (2009) The Berlin Fall. [online]

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Considering Audience 03/12/09

Out There: Relating to my Audience (and, who are they?)

Why do we make things and who are they for? Les Bicknell gave a lecture on considering our audience, and where we place ourselves in relation to the art work we produce and how we relate to our audience. We were given 30 seconds (although it wasn't too strict) to draw a diagram, and to place ourselves as an artist, and this is what I drew. It was harder than I thought... and when I tried to explain the diagram below to my group, I still felt a little lost.

Being aware of who perceives your work, and speaking in their language is crucial, in order to communicate and perhaps to draw them into your work. Les talked about the processes he'd go through, interviews, consultation, workshops... to capture his audience. "The mind of people" was something artists needed to engage with. Blogging was one of way of being visible to his audience, he said.

When I worked as a photojournalist, I wasn't in direct contact with my audience, as I photographed and the newsagency sold my work to their clients. Perhaps my boss was my client (who I did not like, and vice versa).

My photojournalist background meant I have emphasis on observation and documentation, so the Berlin Wall naturally influences my work, so I had to bare in mind the environment close to the diagram.  And I had to define my position as a photographer of the Berlin Wall and as an educatior in photography and 3D design.

Who are my audience? I've realised I had two roles: a photographing the Berlin Wall, and working at a school with photography and 3D design projects. My Berlin Wall project started off as my personal photography project propelled by my Cold War enthusiasm, so I didn't need to think about who saw my photos - I took photos of what excited me, and I'd show the images to my friends over beer or peppermint tea (this project developed into my BA dissertation in 2009, but the audience was still limited, mainly to my lecturers/markers). Are the Berliners I interviewed my audience?

When I think about my work at the school, are the kinds audience, and how do they interract with my work? When I drew this diagram, I didn't think there was much the kids could do to my work...

but they do pick things up and play with them. Sometimes the kids get into the projects I run, and sometime it doesn't pick up at all... so I guess the kids are my audience in a way, and who I'm trying to communicate with. The group of kids I work with are friendly and motivated, and the context is specific to the environment.

On top of that, I consider a different group of audience now that I look into digital arts and media... so the whole wide world (well, at least those who have internet access) will now become my prospective-audience.

What cultural context do I consider now?

Adam Richardson's Invaded Space

Adam Richardson explored the concept of war and photojournalism, and adds humour and irony [Gugazine, 2009]. Photographs were taken by other photojournalists and he does not intend to make a statement or to prove a point [Rchardson, 2009a and 2009b].

Richardson, A. [2009a] Adam Richardson // Invaded Space. [online]
Richardson, A. [2009b] Invaded Space... [online]

I'll Be Gone.

I'll be gone from KORB on Vimeo.

Jobless Rate for People like...

The New York Times has published an interractive chart of unemplyment, where you can click and find out the unemployment rate based on various social backgrounds: racial, gender, age and qualification. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployment rate for all men and women between Oct 2008 and Sep 2009 is 8.6%, and for the same perod, for black men aged 15-24 without a high school degree is 48.5%.
Carter, S., Cox, A., & Quealy, K. (2009) The Jobless rate for People like You. [online]

Hyb Tutorial Notes 3/12/09

Using digital as mode of communication and collaboration. So don't get stuck in the idea of the media, but explore it.

BmB clip: is it long enough to tell a story? The idea originated from making an ad-like clip of 15-20 seconds, which t now seems to have developed into another project. As an "ad clip", it shouldn't disconnect the audience from getting drawn into Berliners' experiences, hearing the "collective identity", which is what the clip does due to its length (or shorth) of the clip.

Dilemma of time

It is a concept of BmB, unlike the brand of Paramount or TED

It can still be a good way-in for BmB, but let it tell a little more, and give the Berliners more time, and the idea of collective co-existance (where lots of photos start to appear) can happen much later. Make the clip double the length to 1 min?

It is in its developent.
Working progress
"Premiss is the people"

10 min.
Background of production (research)
Evaluate the piece (as seen above)
Written evaluation also

Edward Murray Wall Photographs

"Prompted to undertake this documentation by his belief that the absurdity of this medieval concept" (Berlin Wall Art, 2009), the photographer Edward Murray has documented the Wall, mostly between East and West Berlin. Over 800 photos document the art on the Wall on May 1989 (McCormick Freedom Project, 2009).

Berlin Wall Art (2009)
McCormick Freedom Project (2009) Berlin Wall Links. [online]

Two Berlins Kiss

This is an image created by Ina Mar, using prints and Photoshop, for the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. It was designed from silhouettes of two people kissing and shapes of East and West Berlin, and the writing "Wir hasses Grenzen" - we hate borders, which refers to the Wall.

Ina Mar [2009] Fall of the Berlin Wall – 20th anniversary (1989-2009). online]

Portraits of an Eastern Narrative

Peter Molloy has interviewed many in Eastern Europe for his The Lost World of Communism: An Oral History of Daily Life Behind the Iron Curtain. In the book, there is a collection of portraits of the people he interviewed, showing wide range of people he had met in order to give an in-depth perspective.
Molloy, P. (2009) The Lost World of Communism: An Oral History of Daily Life Behind the Iron Curtain. BBC Books.

Google Mapping Search Results

Brin, S. & Page, L. (2007) Sergey Brin and Larry Page on Google. [online]

Ken Robinson on Leaning Creativity

Ken Robinson delivers a speech at TED on creaqtivity and how schools, and the industrialised culture behind it, kills it (Robinson, 2006). Robinson claims that education system avoids making mistakes which opens possibilities for learning, and that nothing original will be created if all individuals feared being wrong.  

Robinson, K. (2006) Talks: Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity. [online]

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Notes from 2/12/09

Wall Projection

digital projection:

  • project onto gel sheets
  • could this filter certain words?
  • use mobile - Alexander Calder

  • LCD screen
  • text projection gun thing
  • texture... concrete, brick, wood (materials that were used for the Wall?)
  • Bill Viola: water screen, "haunch of venison" .com
  • pinhole cam
Calder Foundation (2009) Calder's Work. [online]

Maps of Berlin and Germanys

The map of Germany had been frequently updated since the end of the WWII, following military occupation and political changes. Various border changes can be seen at GHDI.

Yvi Magazine

"I have designed a new European flag in which stars are no longer arranged in a circle, but according to the geographic positions of the capital cities. This creates an open sky, full of stars and without borders. Europe should present itself as unity in diversity - a varietate concordia instead of a unity of uniformity." (Eynde, in Yvi Magazine, 2007)
The new European flag was created following the 2005 referenda on European constitution, which was rejected in France and the Netherlands, and over concerns that European ideals were starting to adrift. Various institutions in Europe displayed the flag in solidarity (Yvi Magazine, 2007).

Yvi Magazine has published a book-like website, where the viewer can turn the pages by dragging the edges like turning the pages of a book [2009].
Eynde, Maarten Vanden (2007) "Europe2008: In Varietate Concordia" in Yvi Magazine. Den Haag: KSMT, pp.90-93.
Yvi Magazine [2009] Borders. [online]

DAZ Research Exhibition

This research exhibition by the Dutch architect Joyce van den Berg proposes to change the trauma-landscape link of the Berlin Wall sites into a recreational area, to locations of "respecting and visualising the traces of history" and "protecting the great potential of this landscape" [DAZ, 2009].

Peter Frischmuth Photos of the Wall

"I will never forget the view from the window of the PanAm at the landing approach at Tempholf airport. It was already dark as the plane pushed its way through the clouds. Underneath me a bright band of glaring lights that cut the city in two. The wall, the death strip – my first impression of Berlin." [Frischmuth, 2009]

Peter Frischmuth is a freelance photographer with focus on travel and journalism. He has published "Berlin Kreuzberg SO 36" with pairs of photographs of Kreuzberg district - one taken in 1986 when the Wall was up, and the other in 2006 after the Wall opened - alongside one another.
"You can look at the old and new photographs from Kreuzberg SO36, and compare and draw your own conclusions" [Frischmuth, 2009].
Frischmuth, P. [2009] Berlin Kreuzberg SO36 - The Book. [online]
Frischmuth, P. (2009) Berlin Kreuzberg SO36. [online]

Monday, 30 November 2009

Zygmunt Bauman Essays

Bauman, Z. [2009] Europe of Strangers. [online]
Bauman, Z. [2009] Alone Again: Ethics after Certainty. [online]
Bauman, Z. [2009] Culture in a Globalised City. [online]

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Paul Schutzer Photographs the Wall

Detail of The Party's on the West Side by Paul Schutzer

Detail of Room with a Scary View by Paul Schutzer

Detail of Face Off by Paul Schutzer
Schutzer, P. (2005) Berlin Back Then: Life at the Wall. [online]

Bruce Willey by the Wall

From All We are is But a Brick in the Wall (Willey, 2009a)

From East and West: Cycling the Berlin Wall (Willey, 2009b)

Willey, B. (2009a) All We are is But a Brick in the Wall. [online]
Willey, B. (2009b) East and West: Cycling the Berlin Wall. [online]