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?