some thoughts as we move to the final meeting on tuesday.....
This opportunity has diverted me from the thinking patterns I usually engage in and enabled my practice to be opened up, exposed and in turn challenged. I have been presented with new ways of working, practical concerns around problem solving, the creation of rules to work within and different methods of making.
Exposure to these issues has thrown up a number of thoughts - on the one hand exposure to new ways has informed what I do, much of this has been appropriated into my practice over the projects timespan and highlights new possibilities, for example working within a constructed paradigm to generate deep thinking, changing materials but retaining existing structure and actively testing to create data with which to improve existing work or develop new work.
The project has also made visible and so possible what I do but I am now able to re contextualise it - already a part of my practice through the work with OCA the use of Skype has cut down my travel but I now see it as a tool to connect, with the opportunity to work globally or at least with somebody at the end of a computer.
Although collaboration is a large part of my practice - the book form is a collaborative experience - from the many parts or elements that go to make up a book to the people who create it through the numerous specialist processes they engage in. Collaboration within ones own practice is one thing and relatively easy, a shared understanding of the form exists, across art forms another but this is still within a shared understanding of values. Within science thinking it is different. But the project has had at its core respect, respect for the values of others and this has enabled me to release the creative process, relinquishing control and establishing new frameworks.
Searching out ways to fail gloriously
It is important to recognise that my intention was to work in ways I had not previously experienced and to make things that I did not understand. The overarching idea was to attempt to be surprised. This idea of surprising oneself was important - the collaborative work pattern was such that a conversation became an idea which was then developed into a practical working research strand which would become a physical models, structures. If that idea, when becoming manifest, was recognised or understood it was often abandoned and new strands of the unknown were taken up even if the original projected outcomes were to be successful. This led to brand new work which will require long term thinking to consider how it will transform both my ways of working and the work itself. Although there was an interesting discussion around finding oneself becoming the other person, making similar work, although not ones own!
The experiences experienced and lessons learnt will inform my own making when I return to the studio but it will also support and facilitate the teaching I undertake, both formally in three institutions I teach in; Camberwell College of the Arts, Norwich University of the Arts and the Open College of the Arts and informally within the workshops, consultation sessions and residencies I become involved in.
It will also make me an advocate for science and science thinking. For too long Science and Art have been seen as separate and different while during this project I have witnessed a group of people within Thrish's lab creatively problem solving, working deep, thinking laterally and exploring materials - sounds a lot like the creative sector. They also feel comfortable sharing - there is the realisation that one person cannot know it all and that more is possible if knowledge is shared. Although their working patterns of thinking something into existence and then proving it by experiment/experience is similar in some ways to the design world - having in ones mind an answer or vision and working towards it. Rather than working with an idea and setting out not to know and when a direction is decided upon looking out for new routes to get there.