Ideas Marathon Day 3

Today’s guest was Francis Brady a UAL graduate working with sounds, video, text and technology. One of the soundscapes he played to us today was this, a description of a staircase through the language of geometry as some kind of universal communication. He’s also making interactive narratives which I’m getting very much interested this last month, as part of my research.

So my typology for today was communal shower…! Here is my process/research/presentation. Before I have started my presentation I said that we’re all going to have a communal shower in that room, so I have given each one of them a wet tissue but I told them not to use it until the end

shower_Page_01This is the original communal shower

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and this how communal baths were in ancient Greece and the Roman empire

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In ancient Rome baths were a place not only for washing, but a place for socialising as well. Today, that our world has developed, and everyone got more private, everyone has their own shower or bath. But when people shower in communal showers today (at the gym, at the school etc) it’s becoming a bit awkward. So people are mocking each other, people have unexpected erections, people are insecure of being stripped down, people  try to not let their eyes look at something they shouldn’t look and so on.

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Shower is also a way of distinguishing social classes, shower at night, after work, is associated with working class

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Shower before work is associated with white collar workers, bankers etc

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Shower also means a mass of small things falling or moving at the same time, overwhelm, overload. What kind of ‘showers’ do we need today, after all these showers of lies, propaganda, the information media shower us, what kind of communal showers should we create today? Knowledge showers? reality showers? Honesty showers? humanness showers?

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and then I thought about Rene Magritte’s Golconde which looks like a shower of these suited men but then there’s the question, are they rising? are they falling? are they floating? And actually the artist questions reality and the monotony of business life, because he was dressed like on of these men and he was living in an urban space like this

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I was mainly thinking of shower in an ironic way. What kind of ‘shampoo’ does each person use? and what does each person want to shower himself/herself from? for example the banker is showering guilt? the engineer is showering artificiality? the lawyer is showering lie?

shower_Page_09Pontius Pilate, which is an obvious association with washing, he washed his hands free of responsibility for the execution of an innocent man

 

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and then catharsis in ancient greek drama as cleansing, the effect of tragedy on the audience, a metaphor used by Aristotle

 

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So I’m finishing with a conclusion, a ritual and a question

 
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Overall my presentation got some good feedback and everybody enjoyed it, I think I’m getting into interactive work – that’s a test probably, for my MA project.

The only thing is that, I wanted to get metaphorical responses from this project (I mean the things that I asked them to write on the tissues) instead I got back things like ‘Dirt’, ‘Chocolate’, ‘bacteria’ etc, only one was a metaphor which was ‘achievement’. I was expecting responses as in ‘shame’, ‘guilt’ etc but I should have probably made it clear in my presentation that I’m taking a metaphorical approach.

And tomorrow’s typology is prison! I’m actually a bit excited for this.

Interim Examination Presentation

Yesterday was my interim examination. The aim is of course, to judge my work produced this past year, reflect on what I have learnt, themes emerging, strengths and weaknesses and what could happen next year.

The exam was in form of a panel of 3 tutors, the Head of the course, one senior tutor and my personal tutor.
PRESENTATION

So, this is my space at the RCA. I thought I should start with this as one of the good things of the RCA is the studios – and of course your space shows something about yourself.

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This is for ‘Design Without’, the elective I had for the last 6 months, an intensive course of one-week projects. It helped me to ‘train’ my brain to come up quickly with ideas and resolve them in one week, engage with new concepts and new approaches to my work, explore further video and experiment other mediums as well, challenge myself and just try new things. With Design Without I have a better understanding of research and I’m now able to articulate ideas better and see what works and what it doesn’t.

Drawing by touching from Savvas Zinonos on Vimeo.

Drawing without touching: An experiment of the senses. The brief was asking to consider a desirable augmentation of one of the senses. Instead of enhancing one of the senses I decided to remove one – but in a way, when you remove one sense, the other senses enhance, so it worked. I blindfolded myself and asked my flatmate to hand me objects I’ve never seen. With this experiment I had a different understanding of the tactile sense, everything became texture and shape. Further questioning is how blind people visualise objects they have never seen.

The panel seemed interested in this and asked me if I just discovered something there or it exists ‘out there’ and what if I drew the same object after looking at it – a probable next step. I admitted that it probably exists out there but I haven’t explored it further because it was a one-week project.

This is my response for the FUSE project, which asked us to question the assumptions we make about typographic languages. I was interested to perform language/typography through a medium and see how this becomes choreographical. I’m also planning to bring more people in and see how they communicate.
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I stated again that people seemed interested in the ones without the rubber bands but I found this problematic because the gestures are created because of the rubber band, so it probably doesn’t communicate what I want it to communicate.

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A project I’m still experimenting with, the brief for this project was about coercion and how governments use consumerism to distract and manipulate the masses. I was interested in the language politicians use, how they ‘re-arrange’ and distort reality and present it to us as the truth. This reminds me the rubik’s cube. I’m looking at articles and quotes by politicians. For example in this video, the initial quote was “The continent is enjoying a very fortunate era” by the German finance minister.

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This is again a project that has to do with politics. The brief was asking to re-map Europe and I came up with the idea to ‘re-map’ the myth of Europe. I continued the story and I made it to adapt in today’s Europe situation. I’m using the mechanism of tiles to reveal the real meaning of words – Asterio becomes Capitalism and so on.

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At my presentation I showed this mock-up as well, which is a long strip which can be places on a wal in a space for a spatial performance.

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The mechanism for ‘Re-map’ Europe is actually inspired by this project, which was a collaboration between the V&A and the RCA. We were asked to respond on the theme of the future of the poster. My response was commenting on the nature of the poster – through the loop of future, present and past, it suggests the omnipresence of the poster as something being static, something that gives you information (the piece of paper you take, and the poster as something that has an expiry date and something that leaves in the street (throwing the paper on the floor).

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This is for Visual Research, the mandatory drawing elective. I had a very strange idea of what VR was in the beginning and what it was trying to do, although at some point it became something that I can have a break from everything else and just produce stuff.

An animation exploring and questioning the nature of an object – ‘drawing with drawing pins’.

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Drawings for a brief that had to with observing objects again – using the technique of frotage.

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A brief for landscapes – I look at my bed sheets as an aerial photograph of a landscape

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I’ve never spoken about the Cultural Interfaces project on my blog. This collaborative project with students from 3 different courses of RCA was sponsored by Blackberry, aiming at communities of London.

Our project was for Hackney Stream, a class of elders who learn how to use computers. We ran a couple of workshops with them and found out that the reason they go to Hackney Stream was to come together – and particularly at a Spotify workshop we noticed how many stories they have to say about music and their culture. So our brief was to bring these cultural, technological and social elements together using music and story telling. We wanted to make them start conversation between them and come together.

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So we introduced a device that has three play lists, each one distinguished by a different colour, one private, one shared with friends and relatives and one shared with the rest of Hackney/the world. By shaking it, it skips a song, by tapping it on surface twice it likes a song, which later goes into a top 10 list of Hackney Stream with the most liked songs. It also has a recording button which records stories for Hackney Stream or to be shared with other people.

I never had to do collaborative work for such a long time and it was a very useful experience. I realised how everyone has a different role and the level of commitment you have to show to this if you want a really good outcome, because if one doesn’t turn up at the meetings and stuff, the whole thing goes bad.

 

FEEDBACK:

They seemed interested in the work presented although they pointed out that it’s all unfinished, experimental work. I’m aware of this, and as my elective was all about one-week projects, I took advantage of that time to experiment with a lot of different stuff so I can take themes that emerged from these projects – such as language, interactivity, motion and probably performance – to take further in the second year.

Where do we go from here?

It’s a thursday and I’m blogging about the project I showed yesterday (the post for the new brief will come later).

Well, ok, the brief for the past week was about coercion, de-facto and generally how governments and politicians control the masses with consumerism so they can have them distracted from their evil acts – like wars and nasty deals with corporations.

Referencing:

This video talks about theories of Freud and Edward Bernays and how they managed to control the masses in the 20th century by creating desires and ‘happiness machines’.

Tom Balchin, working with Neville Brody at Research Studios, who came and set the brief pointed out that society is struggling because we no longer understand our own environment and this understanding is what has always facilitated our own evolution. Ads and generally all this propaganda always give us options – like Coca cola and Pepsi – but is it really an option? They’re both pure consumerism and brainwashing.

So the brief was: “As communicators we are the key players in the evolution of all new reality. Where do we go from here?”

The keyword I picked up was manipulation. I found interest in the language the politicians use, and how they deconstruct reality and re-arrange it to persuade us and manipulate us. This whole re-arranging thing reminded me of the Rubik’s cube. Rubik’s cube is confusing just like the politicians. But what’s the real message behind the fake one? In order to find out the real ones, I need to decode the fake ones and study propaganda language. I found interest in creating an object of truth.

So I started collecting words related to politics and society, they all had to be 9 letter words or 12 letter words – the 9 letter words would fit on one of the surfaces and the 12 letter words would fit in one row on all surfaces. DSC_0927DSC_0928all DSC_0908 DSC_0909 DSC_0910

And this is after you re-arrange it – God knows who could someone solve this!

DSC_0918 DSC_0919 DSC_0920 DSC_0921Later on, I had the idea of the Rubik’s cube showing you the real message of a fake one. So a propagandistic message is written on the Rubik’s cube and then when you re-arrange it the de-coded/real message appears. Mind blowing I know, it would take ages to make this.

This is Knitting Book by Jinyoung Joung – a friend showed me this and it actually relates a little bit to what I’m doing here:

Knitting book
“Classic Yi is a syllabic logographic system of 8000–10,000 glyphs. Although similar to Chinese in function, the glyphs are independent in form, with little to suggest a direct relation. There are 756 basic glyphs based on the Liangshan dialect, plus 63 for syllables only found in Chinese borrowings” (From Wikipedia). The columns and rows of Yi glyphs printed are seen on the two pieces of paper. From this one pair, a story can be generated as you move a row of glyphs all the way across along the fixed columns. Moreover, if you bring another row of glyphs, this one page book tells another, and another, different story. Isn’t it amazing?”

Later I had the idea of making many cubes together connected with a string so different sentences can be arranged. A really bad mock-up here:

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My second idea, which I did during the crit yesterday, was coming from the idea of change, how can we change this, how can we bring change. And change doesn’t come by talking in a room, change comes with people in the streets. So, invited everyone to take their chairs and join me outside of the building, which represents a system, an institution, and talk about change. Also the theory of the hundredth monkey says, if a certain amount of people adopt an idea/behaviour, then that behaviour is distributed to the others and at some point all the species can act the same.

This is the first time I’m doing something like this and it was really revealing and powerful for me, there was actually a big change in my work. Although in the end we didn’t take our chairs because another person in my group had a similar idea of taking everyone outside. His idea was to put arrows on the floor, drive everyone to go around the building and finish at the room’s window – but outside of it. He, in a way, managed to get back in the room and talk to us from inside the room and asked us ‘ Where do we go from here?’. So our projects were connected, in a way. It’s a shame I didn’t film myself talking about it before we got outside. Here are some pictures from the part that David drove us to the window:

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The background story was also interesting, David called me earlier in the morning to organise the project, he was outside the window telling me on the phone to join him, although I wasn’t sure. Next to the room we usually have the crits, there’s an emergency door leading to where the path he created, which when you open the alarm go off. I used that door as a shortcut, to go and find him. Neville saw me and told me to come in – he thought I was smoking. I didn’t know anything about the alarm, he informed me. Then I went outside from the opposite side of the building, still looking for David, and as soon I got outside the reception woman came to me and said ‘you opened the emergency doors and you’ve set off all the alarms! You’re not allowed to do this!’ I apologised, but I didn’t really care, I got in and returned to the crit room pretending I was looking for the ones that didn’t turn up yet. Again, it’s a shame I didn’t film this part either, as it ‘breaks’ the system, even accidentally.