How to communicate with people and break down that awkward barrier!
So its been a while i’ve wrote on this solely because I am usually the awkward person but mostly because I have been working non stop and technically continuing this “breaking down barriers” project as I believe people nowadays should physically talk to one another and not just be on their phones especially on a dinner table setting were people don’t talk about how there day is or what they have been up to. Its all about checking “facebook” or “snapchat” but what about actually taking away those phones what would happen? And why has society became like this? Well I guess there are many factors which I assume could be a state of anxiousness, or feel awkward in public so they seek out escapism on the phone.
Due to this social issue I wanted to take this further but i was unable to make a form out of nothing so I began thinking of the theme having more eye contact because as humans i feel it’s something we often lack. I then began mind mapping about eyes and what we associate with them; is it the capitation, the colour, curiosity or that sense of diversity. I also found sometimes looking into a persons eyes can be awkward and intimidating at times so that could be a factor why we don’t but i believe it shows that we are confident creatures. To get a better idea I began to draw eyes (which safe to say got out of hand!) However, I wanted to find a form so I thought what would happen if I cut it up in sections and surprisingly I managed to make a game of it like piece together the “Correct eye” I thought it was rather enjoyable but then i creeped myself out because it was getting to be like too many eyes!!! eeek!!!
At the same time I wanted to pursue the idea of puzzles as this intrigued me as a form of “icebreaker” puzzles and using problem solving skills naturally compels people to talk to strangers which I feel is an important thing. Communication. Therefore, my search for form continues so I began looking at the brain because I like to look at medical illustrations and found out that the left side of the brain is creativity and right side is problem solving which ws was pretty interesting. I also believed i would use enamel in my work, however, what i took away from this lesson was they use a coated steal which is similar to white boards to enamel on and that kind of inspired me to do a type of whiteboard broach which sounded cool as you could write on that persons broach or doodle something ridiculous!
I also explored the idea of memory and as I was walking home from uni I witnessed such a nice sunset and instantly felt so calm and serene. I believe sunsets are also universally witnessed and also has an impact on our serotonin levels and makes us feel good so from the many pictures I captured of sunsets I wanted to also create a type of “culture probe” so like a test before the actual product to test the waters using public opinion and interaction. So I began to make this rubix cube idea were it would generally be a rubix cube but instead of solving colours it would be solving landscapes. Next “culture probe” was this magnetic landscape were you would solve which piece fitted were using colour. And finally having a conversational landscape cube which would be placed on the table. What peeked interest was the combination of the landscape cube and the magnetic puzzle. Therefore I had to somehow combine the two or perhaps develop them somehow to just not objects.
I wanted try out my initial idea similiar with the eyes the white board broch ide but with landscapes and to do this I literally got a white board and cut cut a piece off and riveted it onto copper. I then used this process called sublimation which i used for a similar project (see anxiety project) so transfer my paintings of landscapes onto metal. I then cut up the sections to create this puzzle and you would essentially solve the image in a way I was using a form of art therapy as well as they would be creating their own scenes if need be.
My next idea was a development of that table cube and finding ways to make things interesting so i thought about having movable cubes but again maintaining that puzzle aspect an matching the face. I found it very playful and so did other as they passed my desk safe to say it was very distracting.
Next I took a step back as I felt i was going a bit geometric and so i had to seek out another form as I prefer to use organic shapes as i find it easier to manipulate. However, I did play with the concept of brooches a bit more harnessing Jack Cunningham’s work and his concept of Visual narrative, conversational brooches. So with that in mind again i looked at anatomy drawings as i feel they always give me such great inspirational forms so because I am trying to connect people I began to look at veins and so drawing them was rather interesting and taking the forms and blowing them up in a bigger scale which made such a difference and individually I created these bespoke shapes which were both playful and organic. Next was to decide what material to use i was playing around with paper and deciding were they should go on the body or what they are!? I than bravely decided to lazer cut them from wood as i had been using wood throughout my project so why not and the outcome was really good (despite the burning smell!) and having the off cuts come off game me the idea that could things be even inserted into them and be made a playful feature rather than be disregarded.
I then began to conceptualise this piece and thought it could be something like a charm bracelet were it would have memories each one could be something unique to the individual for example the piece below could be a holiday abroad where each individual collected or drew something that made the holiday memorable for them they can then piece the pieces together discuss it and even when these people were not together they would still clutch onto this memory using charm bracelets as a way of each of the friends to remember their time together.
However, due to the simpleness of a charm bracelet and also the visibility on the arm i wanted to stick with the brooch idea because I find brooches to be more noticeable on the body. I also found flaws in my design which has brought a very important realisation for me that making in reality defines your design drawings as initially i was going to make the objects above spin but realising they were not symmetrical the reality hits you then you develop it through your designs that have been made. Therefore I made these circular and drew personal images on these designs but I found that there was on the other side. So I thought about not everyone will understand why there’s a rabbit, or a ukelele or palm trees on a brooch so I thought about the idea of further communication of putting QR codes on the back of the design so it would have the image and then spins to reveal QR code of ukulele music or whatever the persons into?
So the journey of QR codes began i was trying to relate them to pictures of photobucket so when they see the memory they could also access more photos of these memories (this was tricky as the qr codes were so fine on the laser cutter it could not pick up the code I also have the struggle of having a more contrasting material like having a lighter wood.
In the end I combined the aspect of puzzles with having something that was at the same time wearable to create almost a game or something that was portable and capturing that aspect of memory as I feel memory is a good conversation starter be it with someone you shared that memory with or even you want to share that memory with a complete stranger and I think that’s what this is about is just sharing experiences with people and conversing in person and just breaking down that barrier.
Hopefully from summer onward I can develop this idea perhaps talking to people to help me develop this idea further as i believe its something that needs work if i am going to display it for degree show summer 2018 but by then I hope i’ve got my idea together.
Till the next time