2021 Breathe: Art in Process Week 4

Today I spent some time thinking about a ‘shell’. Yep a small sea-shell and how it could inspire me.

It is a process.

To understand what I’m on about you will probably need to glance over week 1 – 3, however, I’m working towards a body of art-work and interactive media for an exhibition later this year. The project is based around being influenced by elements of nature to create structures of narrative.

Surprisingly it did – inspire me, the shell. I first drew it and then just listed elements I could see and feel. Things like: lines of spots, 3 rings, textured, neutral colours… and so forth. It took a bit of contemplation and for a while I was thinking, ‘what the heck am I doing?’ – how is this shell going to inspire the structure of a interactive media installation??

This is the shell, which I used in last weeks blog.

I think one thing to remember is to that the process will happen, you just gotta have a little creative faith.

Once I had listed the elements of the shell, I decided to choose 3 elements that could structurally work for story telling. I chose:

  • Shape has function
  • 3 circles
  • Live edge

Once I had chosen this list I wrote what they could mean for story structure. (They could mean anything – this is just what I came up with).

  • Shape has function: The way the story works has function for the content
  • 3 circles: 3 parts, or 3 points of view
  • Live edge: Nothing static, plot points have a living quality, some paths could go nowhere, or characters fall away (like life)

Then I started crafted the very first stages of a story together. It came a lot quicker at this point than I imagined, but by now I was really open, allowing the process to just unfold without my critical mind getting in the way.

I broke the story up into 3 parts, a diary entry, a text, and the description of the world. Once I had those parts, I just wrote, which you can see on the left – yes, I tend to work backwards…

Absolute draft stages, and I don’t think I will carry on with this story – it was just my first attempt to see if nature could inspire structure. And obviously it can. Still a lot to work through – but that is what process is all about.

This attempt only took 1 – 2 hours, I had to walk away a few times just to let me mind think of something else, then I would come back and contemplate a bit more. It’s how I work. I will try again through this week with another item. Drawing the object first was a good start, it just allowed me to be with the shell for a while, also choosing 3 of the descriptions worked well, it gave boundaries for creating structure. So I will do both those things next time, and try a few others as well.

Catch you next week xx

2021 Breathe: Art in Process: Week 3

This week is a little explanation of what the heck I’m trying to do. My partner and I were going for a walk and I was telling him what the project was about – so I thought I would share some of that here:

Often VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and interactivity within storytelling heroes the technology rather than the technology being in the background. This can easily turn into a ‘technological’ experience rather than the forgetfulness of technology – like going to the movies and not thinking about the projector.

So how to switch this around?

In this project I intend to be inspired by nature, as in the forms, structures of how nature works as a starting point to create Vr, AR or interactivity. My hope is to create a more natural placement of the technology within the story development. (I do need to add here that I’m not intending to create VR my concentration will be around interactivity with a small AR element. But the intention is for the technology of all of these to always be in the background).

For example, a person maybe seated at a gallery engaged in a installation, and within the experience the story asks the person to use something, like headphones for part of it, or glasses for part of it, or choices on the screen and it seems very natural, it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, so the parts of technology being used are not focused on – rather inherently part of the experience.

I mean gaming is very good at this. When I’m gaming (and this is very rare), I don’t often think about the controller – unless I don’t know the game well.

So, my first mission is to grapple with how nature gives or provides structures and frameworks and how to incorporate that within a narrative piece. As I stated in the week 1 of this project I want to start with the patterns and oddities in nature and then move onto systems, as in weather patterns as such. But first off, patterns in leaves, shells and stones.

The first part for me is to collect objects and think about the forms nature has given them. There is no wrong or right way of looking at an object for this. For example the first image of the stone I’m interested in the random elements of it, but with the shells I’m interested in the patterns. What I’m not going to do is analyse why they are formed in the way they are formed – not at this point anyway. Rather, I’m just letting myself be inspired and then see what happens.

I really have NO IDEA where I’m going with this – but I have some sort of faith that I will find a way at connecting nature with interactive and AR technology….

That is the hope.

So, my challenge for this week is to be inspired from these objects with no intended outcome at this stage – just to be inspired and of course to remember to breathe.

Catch you next week xx

Process: A mixture of creativity and chaos – Part 1

This week is something quite different. I’m going to discuss a creative project that I’m working on at the moment. I’ve been planning to share my process on the blog, but kept putting it off – however, I think this is the ideal moment.

One of the projects I’m working on is titled, ‘At the Horizon’ (ATH). It’s an installation for a gallery in Auckland. However, with the lock-down due to covid-19, I’m not sure if it will be going ahead or not. However, I’m keeping-on. For one thing, I need some creative outlets to work on during this time, and also, I’ve got a momentum going for the work, so I need to carry that energy through.

The work is about my mother, myself and my daughter.

My ideas initially formed on this topic in 2016, and I filmed my mother sharing some of her childhood memories. At that stage I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the footage, and if perhaps it was only for the family. But I kept coming back to the interview and re-watching it, thinking about my mum and how her memories had somehow become my own, not as if I had experienced them, but rather I had experienced her re-telling – it was part of my childhood. I have my own imaginary place and characters, for her stories.

This idea began to develop into a question around, how I experience others experiences of life, especially my mother, and then later on my daughter.

Nothing I tried to create at the beginning of the process was coherent, I tried a number of times to edit the footage into something, but it just wasn’t working. Then in 2018 I had a chance to travel with my daughter to China and during that time I took a lot of photos and footage.

What has happened since that time travelling is a collecting process, new footage, old footage of my mother when she was young, footage of my daughter as a child, footage of my daughter now, all intertwined with a constant unpacking of what it is to have these relationships.

I slowly formed the project towards nine short films, of different lengths, that work separately on their own, but also collectively strengthen each other, as an interconnection. Much like the relationship I have with my mother and daughter.

The work is a collage, that will work interactively on the internet. This work is still completely in process, not one of the nine films are completed, at the moment they are all in production, (at different stages). I have been lucky enough to have Claire Duncan working as sound designer, and I have also roped my partner, Grant, into doing the coding for the interaction and web-site, which the work will be housed in.

I just want to say that creatively, this process has been very messy, there has been a lot of up and downs, a lot of dead ends. And that is OK. When I thought I was onto something, it often turned on its head and I had to start the process again. Creating 9 short films that interrelate yet hold a distinct quality… is harder than I thought.

But now I’m at the end stages, most filming is complete, most image collection and montage work is done and I can start to see the creativity through the process.

Whatever you are doing, striving for, trying to create – trust yourself. Trust the process. Trust the chaos, the messy bits. It’s OK. You are exactly where you are meant to be.

I’m going to bring you more about this work later in the year, maybe even a few clips to entice you into watching the finished piece…(when it’s done). Haha.

Catch you next week xx.