10/02/17 Commune Workshop
Our workshop today was led by two ladies who run collaborative art projects, based at Elephant Castle and currently in residence at Tate Modern. They gave a lecture about their work with different communities and how they design interactions and design change, by bringing different creative activities and projects to areas that otherwise wouldn't be exposed to art perhaps. It is a really good concept and they had some really innovative ideas to engage people who might not usually have an interest in art. In our commune groups we did one of their activities- we had to clasp hands to make a cup, and then they poured liquid plaster into our hands, this took about ten minutes to set so we had to sit there for that time, and we discussed the theme of commune while it set. Once it was set we let go and it creates quite an interesting, abstract sculpture which I guess represents our commune.
The next task was to think about the shared ideals of our commune and come up with a slogan, a logo and a chant for what we stand for as a three. We thought about what we had in common as people and personalities and in the end our slogan is "Several whispers make a SHOUT" because we liked the idea that although we're three fairly quiet people, when we come together we want to make our outcome to have an impact and a strong message- the power of three voices will be stronger than one, in essence. Our logo was literally designed in a matter of minutes but it uses sound waves as a symbol and a mouth shape is formed from this in a continuous line drawing.
We had a shared lunch today, with everybody contributing something. It reflected the theme of the day and it did feel very communal, especially compared to a normal day where everyone splits off into small groups to get lunch and it often isn't very sociable. After lunch we had to think bout writing a manifesto for our commune- we weren't sure whether this was meant to be strict rules for the days we're spending together next week or if it was more abstract than that, but it was a good chance to talk about it next week in more detail. We decided for example, we'll get coffee each morning to plan the day and make a to do list.We'll do a gallery each today to hopefully do some intense secondary research. And we'll spend 24 hours in each person's house and area, living their lifestyle- so for that day that person is a sort of tour guide and decides what we do. Cherry is going to vlog and I'm going to get a disposable camera to make a big album of the process. We are also going to buy white t-shirts and wear them everyday of the commune- writing on them when ideas come to us, so we have a physical representation of our ideas and we won't forget anything we came across during the three days!
*after today one idea I had for my final project was the theme of multiculturalism and celebrating diversity?
10/02/17 Commune Manifesto
16/02/17 Commune Rules
16/02/17 FOR SUNDAY
-White Tee Shirt
-New sketchbook for unit seven
-Book for photos and words afterwards
16/02/17 Commune : Collecting data and opinion
*SILENCE (Monday) *ORDER (Tuesday) *PREDICT (Wednesday) *INTERACT
What are the ways you can translate the themes into practical tasks?
Disucss one theme a day, over coffee/meal times etc. Notice the presence of each theme in everyday activities and the world around & document them. Write any thoughts about each theme onto our tee shirts.
What is the potential of the location you have chosen?
We've chosen to stay in London because none of us are from here anyway so there are plenty of places which are new to us all and we want the chance to explore new areas. London is great too because it is so varied, so we will be able to experience different environments and settings all within London.
What communication might you look for with your chosen location?
We want to engage with the environment using all our senses- what we see, hear, feel, smell etc. We're going to record and collate sounds that we hear along the journey. We're going to document the different surfaces we walk over (using photography and rubbings). We also want to observe the different people in each location, are there other communes?
Will you share your research within your commune or research more widely?
We have made a Commune snapchat that we can all post to in order to broadcast our journey live to others. We did this because we hope to get others' responses and maybe suggestions for places to go our research to do.
Who is your audience?
People our age? Each other? The locals we see on our journey? A wider audience means more feedback and inspiration so we want to connect with as many people as we can in order to grow our commune and learn from others'.
21/02/17 COMMUNE DAY2
Today was my day to organise and the word to focus on today was “ORDER”. We started today at Nothing Hill Gate and walked from here to find brunch at Farm Girl Cafe. Notting Hill is somewhere I’ve only been to really briefly and I knew I wanted to explore it further. It also came to mind with the word “Order” too because of the rows of almost identical houses. Again whilst having brunch we made our To Do List and thought about the plan for the day. The cafe itself was in a really unique setting, next to a white painted church and we sat in the courtyard surrounded by plants and with fairy lights above etc.
We walked the length go Portobello road, stopping lots to go down side streets and take photos. We looked in the vintage shops and at the market stalls, and it wasn’t too busy because it’s a Tuesday. In terms of “order” we thought there are loads of interpretations of this word- some of the rows of artefacts at the market reflected “order”, the house numbers too, but alternatively “order” in the sense of ‘law and order’ and rules and restrictions was an additional slant which we thought about. The market itself was a good source of inspiration because there’s such a range of products and stalls. The random/chaotic stalls contrasted ‘order’ but in some ways we thought we were more drawn to these stalls because they’re more intriguing and I think I’m drawn to the challenge of hunting through to find things.
We’d wanted to go in Graffik Gallery at the top of Portobello road, but we were really unlucky because it was closed for rehanging. This forced us to think on our feet and we wandered into a gallery across the road. It was mostly screen prints and posters, all by this artist called ‘DON’T’ and they were all about politics and current affairs- such as Trump and Brexit. There was a strong message throughout the work and a sense of purpose which I liked. It was good timing, especially as we hadn't planned to go in that gallery, but the artist showed up as we were leaving the gallery. He introduced himself and we had a really good discussion about his work and he was giving lots of advice about how to get our work out there. To summarise our chat... -He hadn't studied at all but had success as an independent artist and was going to Dubai and Miami in the next few weeks to display his work. -You have to believe in yourself and your work -Don't keep it to yourself -Share it with your friends as they're the ones who will be your best promoters -Don't get too attached to your work, it should be personal, but not to the extent where it's too precious to share. I found him really inspiring and he gave me his email and welcomed any questions/advice in the future.
We went from Ladbroke Grove tube to Pimlico and walked along the Thames to Tate Britain. I had been to Tate Britain but not for over a year. We had pre booked tickets to Hockney but first went and sat in the cafe downstairs. We did some sketching and also an exercise to gather overheard conversations and quotations from the people around us- we decided to carry this on into the exhibition and I heard some really funny remarks about Hockney.
The Hockney exhibition was amazing, it was much bigger than I had expected and covered everything from his really early works, like crayon sketches and ink line drawings, to his really recent works on the iPads. It really inspired me to want to paint again and also to make more of an effort to use colour in my work as I so often take the easy option of black/white/grey colour schemes. This is the list of some of my favourite pieces that I want to research further: 'Love Painting' 1960, 'The Third Love Painting' 1960, 'Savings and Loan Building' 1967, 'A Lawn being Sprinkled' 1967, 'Against the day in the French Style' 1974, 'The Four Seasons, Woldgate Woods' 2010. I didn't realise Hockney used typography in his work but I really liked some of the early paintings which had words and numbers almost hidden amongst the painting. The four seasons video piece was really memorable too- it was in a square room and each wall was completely covered by a large screen playing the same journey through the woods at four different points in the year. It was a very immersive experience and the scale of the screens meant you felt as if you could actually be there.
We walked to Westminster tube to go back to Aldgate and my halls and I just made bolognaise for everyone- giving the girls a sense of what I would normally eat. It made me think about how much our culture is influenced by others' and actually some of my favourite things about "British" culture are a fusion or adaptation of other nations. Inspired by Hockney and his playful photography pieces, we tried our own this evening and made an A2 collage of the three of us sat around as a commune. It actually came out really well and this is a technique I would definitely use again. We also did a colourful crayon sketch across all our sketchbooks, using Hockney's paintings as inspiration- this made us think about the common features of his paintings and the repeated themes, like trees, water, a bold colour scheme, and textural mark making.
10/02/17 Commune Workshop
10/02/17 Commune Discussion
What is a Commune?
A group of people with shared ideals. Can be any size greater than two people.
What kinds of communities are there?
Communities based on location- where you're from, where you live etc. Different religions. Same gender. Shared opinions. Forced into a commune, eg. the flat you live in.
Can you belong to different communities at the same time?
Yes, they definitely overlap and you often find yourself belonging to new communities each day. There's a sense of belonging- for example if you grow up in one community but then move away you would still associate with where you're from.
If so/not how does that effect your identity?
Alter your identity to fit in? Or to ease communication- e.g, speak in a common language.
Is there space for individuality in commune? What are the pros/cons?
Yes it's good to teach/learn from each other and everyone should contribute. But you can't be selfish- if people aren't prepared to adapt at all then the commune won't be effective.
How do you create collective identity and maintain individual identity in a group?
Share all your ideas with each other. *Dress as one = a visual collective identity.
10/02/17 Commune Slogan
15/02/17 Commune Manifesto Poster
20/02/17 COMMUNE DAY 1
We met at eleven this morning at Leicester square tube station to start our project. As we agreed we are going to share the leadership so today Cherry had planned what we were going to do and we experienced her lifestyle today. This meant going to China Town for brunch. She ordered a variety of things for us to try, like Jasmine tea, Dim Sum and Steamed buns. It was all new to me so I tried everything and was surprised that I liked all of it. Although I thought China town was a tourist hot spot the restaurant “Golden Dragon” felt really authentic and there was mostly Chinese people eating in there. She also taught me to use chopsticks, this was the first time I've actually managed to use them properly. We wanted to start each day with coffee/brunch because this gives us the chance to take about our theme for the day- ‘SILENCE’ today- and make a set of goals for the day. Cherry spoke Chinese to the waitresses and it was interesting to hear her speak in her own language- the way we communicate in English normally shows how Cherry and anyone not from the UK has to adapt their identities to become part of our community/commune and fit in. Language is always something I’ve been interested in and find I realised I find it really frustrating when I can't understand people! Languages such as Chinese and Korean especially seem so inaccessible and far from English, I think we take for granted the fact that they all learn English from a young age so we can communicate with them, whilst we now absolutely nothing about their language and culture.
From brunch we went to get BubbleTea which, again, I hadn't ever had but Cherry has it at home and wanted us to try it. I didn't like it to be honest but was keen to try new things like we stated in our manifesto! We got on the tube to South Kensington next as we were heading to the Design Museum. We thought we wouldn’t go to the nearest tube- so we walked for about 40 minutes and explored this area which was new to all of us. We came across a really cool stretch of wall with all different quotations along it in bold, black type. One said “(NO CONTENT)” which we thought fitted the theme of SILENCE pretty well and other interesting ones were “THIS WORK IS REALISED WHEN YOU STOP LOOKING AT IT” and “MONEY CREATES BAD TASTE BUT CREATES CULTURE”.
We also spotted a little courtyard down a side street called Pembroke Place and it was very photogenic. The houses were all painted, there were trees in the centre and flowers on the window sills. I hadn't realised until today how drawn I am to photographing buildings/exposed brick and little hidden spots like this one.
The Design Museum was a new visit for us all too. Sadly, the exhibition we had thought would be good for ‘silence’ finished yesterday, but we looked around the other bits. I really liked the building and the space felt really open and calming. There are steps in the entrance where people sat and relaxed and we thought this represented silence well. Although people were sat together they were often silent or whispering and we asked why this was the case?? There is almost an unwritten rule in museums and galleries that you have to be silent, but we started thinking why? It would make more sense for people to be discussing what they were looking at or for there to be music/sound to create more of an atmosphere.
The most memorable bit of the design museum for me was this interactive piece which was a mirror that you stand in front of and, using an iPad next to it, you could project different outfits onto it so it looked as if you were wearing them when you looked in the mirror. It was really clever how the clothes were in sync with you and moved when you moved. This would definitely come under our “INTERACT” research heading and was attracting a lot of attention in the museum.
We went up to Kyoto Park afterwards so we could sit and do some sketching and thinking about what we had seen. We did a collaborative drawing across all our sketchbooks of the park and the surroundings and we tried to do this in silence, so it was abstract and unplanned. I think ‘Silence’ is often associated as a black space or white page, but our drawing was busy and spontaneous, yet still represented the “silence” which we drew it in and the quiet setting of the park. We all have quite different drawing styles but I think the combination overall looked effective and we stuck to black and grey as a theme to keep it consistent.
From here we got the tube at High Street Kensington back to Kings Cross where Cherry lives. We got our nails done where Cherry goes nearly every week, carrying on our attempt to live like her for a day! She cooked for us in the evening so we had spicy noodles, again new to me and definitely out my comfort zone because I don’t like spicy foods that much. For our outcome at the end of today, we did a similar exercise to the drawing in the park, but on an A2 sheet and we tried to illustrate our day and what we had seen and experienced. We’re staying at Cherry’s tonight so the three of us are squeezing into her bed! It’s been interesting to try new things today and learn more about Cherry’s life at home, compared to now. It’s made me realise how little I know about Asian/Chinese culture.
22/02/17 COMMUNE DAY3
For our last day, organised by Minjung, we met at Old Street. This is about a twenty five minute walk from me but I had never done this walk in the daytime and it was really interesting to actually take in what is so near to me that I hadn't ever noticed before. We walked away from the tube station to the Victoria Miro gallery- I didn't even know this existed and it was tucked away in a really unlikely location behind McDonalds. However, it was a really nice, open gallery with a garden area out the back. We went to see the Do Ho Suh exhibition and I think it surprised us all how good it was. There were life sized line drawings of doorways in the first room and these made much more sense once we had seen the 'Passages' installation and how these doorways were translated into 3D structures. The technique was really original and the level of detail that had been embroidered, such as door handles, light switches etc was amazing. We also really liked the video which was playing in a dark room upstairs- it covered three walls so, like Hockney's 'Four Seasons' it was really immersive. It showed someones journey around different areas of London, and Korea, all voiced over by a child and their dad discussing immigrants and different cultures in London (Korea in particular). I think hearing this from a Child's perspective is really effective- their innocence is humourous at times but it also makes the piece accessible to a wide audience and it created an interesting contrast between the opinions of two generations.
We walked back to Will Wyatt halls this afternoon and tried Korean food- we made rice balls and Minjung also made a sort of omelet for us- both were so nice! It was also really fun to make them together and was probably the activity from the last few days where we really felt like a 'commune'. I think it also demonstrates our efforts to learn about each others' cultures and trying new things! After food we had a session to reflect on our commune and what we had learnt about each other. I had the idea of doing a big Venn diagram to prompt discussion about what we found we have in common, but also what is unique to us, because I feel we definitely maintained our own identities whilst still working as a unit in our commune.
For me, the most significant outcome from our commune has been that I have opened my eyes to new cultures and realised how shallow we can be in terms of our lack of interest in other cultures. It is really common for British people to generalise groups of people, I know my knowledge of Asian culture for example was really limited, whereas in reality there is a huge distinction between Chinese culture and Korean culture, for example. I think people can be really oblivious to the efforts people of other nationalities make in order to conform to our society's expectations, but in reality I think everyone should have the right to maintain their own identity wherever they are and we need to be more open to accepting this. I think this will be the focus of my final piece for unit seven.