november 2016 : the first period of filming capturing the museum’s model railway, ground floor public activity and behind the scenes looks at the stores and the social club used by the electricity board during their residency in the building, ending in the 1970’s

may  – september 2017 : the second tranche is filmed.  post production takes until january 18.

january 2018 : questions set in november 17 are answered and the second tranche is submitted to doc fest 18.

march 18 : filming in the nearly decanted museum.

july 18 : filming in the empty spaces of the building.

november 18 : present shimmering place to the mina symposium, melbourne, australia.

march 2019 : begin tranche 3 (t3) filming onsite and offsite.

august 2019 : first prototype.

september 2019 : first prototype with hardware shared in co production meeting.

 


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friday lunchtime and an opportunity to catch my breath after two highly charged weeks.  throughout them i’ve received help, support and good vibes from sue ball, the museum of making’s arts and heritage producer.  sue acts as a buffer zone to the rest of the project and i need to publicly thank sue for the recent baring with while i work through recent events.

these events are pivotal around the recent co production meeting.  i’ve heard full time members of the museum staff talk about their experiences of the challenging (at times) nature of working this way.

for me the challenges are taking time to process and arrive at a means of employing the learning i have made.

 

 

the iterative nature of the process we’re involved with means that for each time we take stock of where this project is there are many new questions.  these wander into questioning aspects that for me already felt like they had been answered.

in the last week i’ve been through something akin to getting back into the saddle of a horse that threw me off.

this experience even extended to the nature of filming on site at the mill.  i’ll not fully divulge what threw me – it’s an internal matter that as an artist on site i am aware of yet still needs to be addressed.

 

 

while i’ve been working through various things i’ve also been in lengthy discussions with sue about the nature of the installation in the museum.

the placing of a work in a museum is a new experience and a lot different from the placing in a white cube.   there are oh so many considerations and interested parties.  what i’m holding onto is that everyone involved wants the best for the work so when ideas about its presentation emerge – outside of where i currently think about the work –  i examine the idea and go with the flow by testing and checking in with the idea.

 

 

summing it all up.  i went into the co pro meeting pretty sure where i was within the realisation of the work.  afterwards i felt like the whole thing had been shaken and the less well attached pieces had come adrift.  in looking to replace them within the work, there are opportunities to take stock and wonder if there might be another way to do this.  it’s tested my resilience.  i am beginning now to feel back on it and i look to what i now go onto to do to make the work stronger.

between you and me i’m daunted at the moment of the amount of work it feels like there is to do now.  my immediate plan is to test out latest ideas for the core concept of the work and look to once tested, implement them and create a third prototype.

reflecting on the co pro process – i’ve opened myself up to experience and be part of it.  in time i hope that wobbles of late make large benefits in the long term.  this will be realised as i put the work in in the next couple of months.

i fill my lungs and prepare to make the next step.


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get yourself a piece of paper and something to make a mark on that paper.

place the paper down on a flat firm surface.

draw a four sided shape.

place the mark making item next to the shape.

look at your shape.

 

  1. get yourself a piece of paper and something to make a mark on that paper.
  2. place the paper down on a flat firm surface.
  3. draw a shape.
  4. place the mark making item next to the shape.
  5. look at your shape.

 

  • get yourself a piece of paper and something to make a mark on that paper.
  • place the paper down on a flat firm surface.
  • draw a shape.
  • place the mark making item next to the shape.
  • look at your shape.

 

 

 

the shape represents the creative space i have to work in currently.  where i’m working is bound by co-production and i use the word bound carefully because all of those involved in that process have an influence on the shape – it’ll be interesting to compare all the shapes when next we meet to co produce.

this week has seen a co production meeting where i’ve shared the first prototype in the first prototype hardware.  the hardware choices are constrained by budget.  budget is king – both for hardware and software production.

 

 

i’m gently working up to share and reflect about the co production meeting from a personal and honest perspective.

attending the arts and heritage group meetings either as a participant or as an artist is always an enlightening and deeply challenging experience.  look at your shape on the page for a moment … this week the co production aspect of the meeting has left me asking fundamental questions … like am i working on the whole page or within the bounds of the drawn shape.

 

i ask that question here as the other evening there was reiteration of questions that are fundamental to the work i’m making.  for those of you external to this process that might sound harsh, far from it.  the process of human centred design / co-pro sets a safe space in which to operate – so those taking part aren’t threatened and are posed difficult challenging questions with the intention to test out the basis of the idea.

for my part as the artist making the work that was under scrutiny the space was safe and hearing the questions was ok.

what happens outside the meeting is now what i’ll share.

 

 

firstly i’ll share that i have had to reach a decision about how i share with you about my processing of all the iterations of ideas and positions of the shared prototype.

the day after i took to sharing the very personal reflections with a member of the group – this has cleared enough energy for me to further reflect about it here.

i glance at the shape i drew a few minutes ago.  it is symbolic of what i went through yesterday – needing to apply myself to get myself back into a space where i knew where i am.

in drawing the shape a fresh i have included different ideas within it.  yes, the meeting the other evening posed some many questions that i have had to dig deep to find the answers within me.

the ideas behind what is driving what i am doing have evolved.  the user interface will evolve, the way i work on site will evolve – has evolved.

take your mark making item and go over the lines of the shape you drew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

looks stronger ?

feels stronger ?

 

after some rest, i’ll be back into practice

and application of what i have learnt.


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within all the research and trying out of ideas there needs to be points of focus – usually a meeting.  there’s been one recently – a design meeting and for it i pulled all the disparate pieces of together to create the first prototype.  i’m pleased to bring back from the meeting and subsequent discussion many positive things.  we’re on track.

the day before the prototype meeting i’d been onsite at the mill.  there are many many more people on site now as the mechanical and electrical work gains pace.

let me take you on a quick tour of some of the building as it was monday 19th august 2019.

the ground floor floor of the italian mill.  this part of the work came as a bit of a surprise to me as most of what happens does.  there’s so much happening all at once there’s no time for briefings – it’s quicker for me to go and see where it’s all at.  the steel work is for a new floor suspended above the old one.

 

bricks coming out of the building have been cleaned and reused internally.  the man in the photo is one i’ve spoken to several times now and i realise today i’ve not asked him his name yet.  conversations on site need to be kept to a minimum because those working on site are focussed – in the zone of what needs doing.

 

the rear lift is being upgraded so it complies with current safety measures.  much other work is happening around it as the electrics and heating are being run around the building.

 

in workshop 3 the preparations are going on to accept the machinery.  the workshops will be the first part of the museum to reopen and be used to create furniture for the museum.

 

onto the first floor.

 

the radiators for the heating system are going onto the walls.  i spoke to the two guys doing the work and like almost everyone else i speak to onsite are so behind the idea of a work that describes the making of the museum of making.  i say almost everyone as there are some who are shy to talk – choosing to remain in the zone of work.

 

 

one of the most focussed group of people are those involved in the restoration of the mill’s metal window frames.   on site today i managed to capture a description of their process without too much external noise.  they were feeling optimistic as they believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel appearing !

 

 

the civic hall is emerging.  the steel work is up and one of the major attractions has been placed within the steel work.  the next works to happen are the installation of the mezzanine floor and the roof going on.

back in march i was told the site would get busier and at the time i wasn’t able to imagine how busy it would get.

as the spaces become finished the amount going on will continue to increase.    the design team are in their blocks waiting to move in to install their work with the collections team poised to begin the recant of the collections.

 

during the afternoon of 19.8.19 we met in the co pro hub to explore the space navigation of the second floor.

 

being in the mill and the co pro sessions i experience some of the intensity of the process to realise the museum of making.   at the time i don’t know it’s intense as i’m right within it.   being away from the intensity makes me realise it’s there.

within my chats with site manage mark i talk about intensity and he reflects that he and the rest of the team are living within it almost all of the time.  i continue to research if there’s a way in which to include that intensity within the overall work.   however what i see from the rushes is the mindfulness of process.

 

in a previous post i’ve mentioned how i’m reading an essay from a collection of essays by australian academics and artists.  this came in handy when reviewing the design meeting with sue.  we’ve started talking about how the visitor experience of the work will be a lean forward experience.

when we watch a linear film or documentary we press start and lean back to watch it.  with the non linear form we invite the visitor to lean forward to keep their experience going.  this notion sits well with the research i’ve been doing into arcade game buttons and joystick for controlling the work.

 

so all in all i’m feeling good about where i am at the moment.  with the working prototype i have something to refine and to start to work into.  my post production process now has a little more definition and i can start to turn my attention to the physical hardware of the work to inform the user interface proportions.

work continues and i’m looking forward to the next point of focus.

 


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alongside the practice based research, i’ve been attempting to broaden my understanding of the theoretical space i’m working in.

 

 

finding this book feels so right as one of the contributors is max schleser, who i know as the organiser of the 2018 mina symposium at which i presented shimmering place.   

of the seven essays seth keen’s is the one i’m currently working with:
The Documentary Designer: A List of Propositions for Interactive Documentary Practice Online

it’s a large piece of writing to process so i plan to break down into small sections.

keen opens by setting a scene.  he links design in context to the internet and it’s fast pace of development.  design being a process that responds to the problems arising through change.  keen’s scene is based on the internet.  this is ok as previous works from me are available on the internet, and we are yet to see if this current work is fully hosted locally or on line.

keen draws our attention to how interactivity has moved away from the “choose your adventure” preface to an either/or structure and how design is a key component of interactive documentary practice.

the internet is multilinear and this is transforming documentary practice.

keen argues for the case of the interactive documentary maker being the documentary designer and sets out points he thinks are needed for the practitioner to understand.  his own experience is underpinning his essay and  vision of a documentary designer.

he cites Ryan 2004, 338 – interactivity changes medias “ability to tell stories and the stories it can tell.”

using korsakow produces a more fluid experience than one where each scene is glued together (thalfofer).

getting further into the introduction keen starts to outline his conceptual infrastructure he’ll use to take us through his vision.  affordances he states are the properties of things involved in delivering the interactive documentary and are :

  • granularity – multiple relationships
  • remix – computer ability to combine and recombine
  • indexing – used to retrieve and form relationships between media
  • spatial montage – ability to have multiple windows open simultaneously.

i see how korsakow fits all of these affordances.  korsakow being the application i’m planning to use to realise the non linear project.  this was invented by thalfofer.

keen presents an argument for videos that can be remixed into different combinations as having a “web of relations”.  the only problem with this is he seems to be suggesting that the web is literally the whole internet.  for this project the space is more clearly defined.

he touches upon bordwell and thompson’s categorisation of linear and narration to arrive at interactive documentary on the web being multilinear non narrative.  for me it starts to get a little too tight and i find myself pulling back slightly so i can still breath.

keen states

“designers are problem-orientated practitioners who integrate hands on skills with conceptual ideas, thinking through their making to create solutions to problems.”

and

“design thinking recognises that artefacts are propositions that are ideas.”

 

what has emerged for me is that in the space i am working both change and problems are common place.  i am in effect working on the edge of change – it’s going to be uncomfortable – and it has been.  this uncomfortable feeling is normal and rolling with it has been the best thing to do as it’s not going to go away.

 

 

in taking a rest from my note taking i day dream as i look around the coffee shop i’m in. i notice a singer from a band queuing for his latte, about to sit and converse.  i realise that people’s lives weave in a multilinear fashion, transitioning between updating each thread.

i see myself as having a multilinear life.

 

Ryan, Marie-Laure. Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.Google Scholar

Thalhofer, Florian. Korsakow. Computer Program, 2000.Google Scholar


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alongside the content creation, i’m also researching the user interface.  this is currently happening as two lines of research

  • the main interface
  • how might the work be made more accessible.

the accessibility considerations involve me adding additional code to hack the live code produced from the authoring software.  i’m not sure if this has been done before.

 

 

at the moment the accessibility research is very separate from the main interface development.  i anticipate at some point the two needing to merge and how might they inform each other.

 

 

so for now the user interface research is without accessibility considerations.

in going forward i am going to need to open up the accessibility considerations to the co production process.  i really hope our on going arts and heritage meetings can provide an opportunity to connect with volunteers with knowledge and experience of visual combinations of colour to provide the best possible experience as well as ways and means of testing the work.

i reflect that the recent research has been about the technical.  soon it will need to move into aesthetic considerations.

 

 

another aspect of the interface design i’m considering is might it work to include sections of drawings for the area of the mill being featured.  this is an idea in progress.

so something to do soon is to bring all the pieces together and see what mess i can make – with a view to edit and clean it up.

to be honest with you, at the end of may when accessibility appeared in conversation it lined up with some passing thoughts i had had and it took me out of my comfort zone.  i had no idea at the time how to achieve what i believed was being proposed.

now some weeks on and i can see it will be possible in some form.  what it will undoubtably do is influence the overall design of the interface.  this is new to me and need to have more conversations about it.

in considering how to make the work accessible as possible, as well as contrast considerations there’s also colour blindness.  most of the thinking i’ve been doing has up to now been centric to using colour.

just how far do i need to go to make it fully accessible?

at what point do i need to work with a practical compromise?

 

my research continues.

 

 


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