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Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham
10 May 2010 - 17 July 2011
Reviewed by: Ryan Hughes
I tried various things whilst trying to write this review of my experiences blogging with Degrees Unedited; I tried to write about what a great community of young artistic talent it is, I tried to write about how it helped me become aware that the internet is a big participatory playground, I even tried to write a screenplay using the discussions which popped up after blog posts as the dialogue; as I have before with my dissertation and my review of Close and Remote’s publication Manual for Marginal Places. None of these things worked. It’s hard to write a review, in any format, of what was only a section (albeit quite a major one) of the larger experience that was the final year (and a chunk of my second one) of my degree. My blog keeping and my participation in the blogging community would have been worthless if I were not as active in the community of the art school or even the other sections of www.a-n.co.uk such as jobs and opps, interface and the forums. So this review is going to be focused on the period of time between 10/5/2010 and 17/7/2011; that is my first and last post on Degrees Unedited.
I opened my blog the week before my final assessment of my 2nd year, I had been working outside and seemed to be fairly interested in shelters but in hindsight had no idea what I was trying to give shelter too and what that shelter was against. I remember knowing I had an interest in participation and architecture. Interestingly I didn’t open by blog with a statement of intent, I didn’t state why I was blogging and I don’t think I really knew why I was... it was just the right thing to be doing. I was writing posts every three days, I don’t think this was any sort of plan I just wrote when I felt I should. The following posts talked about wanting a higher level of production in my work and wanting to get back into university as soon as possible.
I had a fairly busy summer in 2010; I had a show with the Leamington Studio Artists, installed work in a skatepark, which went on to be discussed more in my blogger profile in September, and I began attending workshops. Having become aware I was interested in architecture I started making walls and things a bit like billboards thinking that these are was of affecting or communicating with the public. It was around this time I began thinking about SMS abbreviations being the ‘new’ language of the public and I was starting to use this in my work. In blog post #22, dated 24th September I was talking about Skype and that I had got hold of some DVD's and CD-ROM's of new media works to investigate over the weekend. I was obviously beginning to think more about electronic media, but was still obsessively making walls and billboards at this time; however, in the following post I was beginning to work with Playstation games and was finding images on Google street view.
One month into the third year I posted I had work in a show at Spacestation65, this was the first of many exhibitions I was to have work in that I found through www.a-n.co.uk’s jobs and opps section. In hindsight I showed many things that were by no means work at all but was actually just bits of studio junk or things in progress. It was no wonder I wanted higher levels of production in my work. However these shows were all a great experience for me when I was still just into my third year. Over the next few months I tried a huge range of things including making sound, dance, print, sculpture and digital drawings. Then in December I was invited to show work at NewMedia Daet, a festival of new media art in the Philippines, it was for this I made the transition from using SMS abbreviations to actually sending SMS messages. I sent around two months developing Physical: Virtual: Freedom and it was the work I was most pleased with over anything I had made to this point. It was around this time I started work on a few projects that are only just coming to completion now, I was beginning to realize the benefits of extended research and making periods which began to allow me to achieve more intelligent work with higher production levels.
One of these projects was collaboration with music producer Flowlosopha which were just finishing now and it should be on show somewhere before the end of the year. The other was what was to become Marking the Internet and the Physical which I have shown at The Birmingham Social Centre recently. I don’t think I ever mentioned it in my blog but neither of these was going to be what I was going to put into the degree show. I wanted my degree show work to be something new, which reflected everything I had learnt, decided upon and wanted my practice to be. In blog post #57 I was writing my proposal and was talking about networked architecture. After this there were only another 13 blog posts in around 6 months. A few of these included setting up various exhibitions, my website going live and a bit of discussion around my dissertation but my main focus, not just in my blog but in day to day life was my work for the degree show.
Come the 20th June the show had opened and closed and results had been given. Comments on the blog came for a few days after this and it was during this time I realised that Degrees Unedited really is a strong community of young artistic talent; it had changed my view of the internet and had been a very major part of my degree experience. The Degrees Unedited and indeed the art school experience can be best summed up by a part of a comment that was logged on one of my posts by fellow blogger John Harris;
Maybe each of these things on degree act like the structure of a sentence with the appropriate nouns, adjectives, capitals letters and then at the end is what you think should be a full stop to your degree but actually it's a comma to what is your practice.
posted on 2011-02-07 by John Harris
I am intrested in walls and networks. They are our experiance.
Birmingham Institute of Art and Design
Degrees Unedited Blog
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