Due to crazy weather we postponed our first meeting on 10 Aug to 16 Aug. During that time we did some admin work, set up a shared drive to put documents in and also put together some reading materials, which include papers on design, interactivity, drawing, research and interdisciplinarity.
Reading some of these papers helped kick start this project and enabled us to start thinking not just about our own discipline but the others. I read mostly about how drawing is applied in design, where it could be regarded as conception of things or a way of representing what is in the mind/mental function. Considering these definitions, I started to think what else drawing could do outside of that. Performative drawing sprung to mind, where it changes in its own terms as it performs itself; something that grows into something unplanned or unforeseen. I came across an article in the online journal TRACEY, where Jane Tormey, the author, used J.L.Austin’s model of performative statement and constative statements in How to Do Things with Words as an analogy for drawing:
“Austin’s model provides an interesting analogy for drawing, both in terms of the procedure itself, and in terms of the differentiation between what might be termed a ‘constative’ drawing, which would represent or describe mimetically, and a ‘performative’ drawing, which can be seen as changing its own terms, as it performs itself. In doing drawing, a drawing is seen to constitute itself – it creates as it describes. And the one who is drawing directs their own form of production.”
Design seems to emphasis on purpose and functionality, what happens when it has to deal with ambiguity, aimlessness and uncertainty?
Mike and I spent the day at the V&A surrounding ourselves with numerous objects from different ages and countries that were made for different purposes, where some were even made to misbehave.
The Disobedient Objects exhibition was the first thing we visited. The emphasis in this exhibition, for me, was the reappropriation of already existing objects to a means for resistance/activism. For example, solidarity badge made from resistors, and a saucepan lid transformed into an instrument used at protest. The message that came across was the D-I-Y ethos of get whatever is at hand to create what is needed. Instructions of how to create your very own makeshift tear-gas masks, flone (kind of like a drone), lock-on devices, book bloc shield and bicycle-mounted megaphones were also available at the show for us to take home. It was interesting to see how creativity manifests in times of struggle, protest or fighting for change or one’s world view.
The next destination was coffee. With white Americano in hand, we then sat outside and talked about our thoughts on this collaboration, mainly what we could make together. We then decided to wonder around the whole museum to carry on our conversation and talk more about each other’s practices and interests as well as to get inspired.
Conversation was spontaneous. We were both just freely talking as any ideas/thoughts came to mind. I decided to take down keywords in case they were forgotten afterwards. Very quickly we picked up on common interests, which were cave paintings and rituals. I am interested in seeing drawing in the context of ritual, where the studio or the gallery becomes the ritual space. Mike’s interest is in human’s daily rituals. We are both interested in the mysticism behind cave paintings and considered them to be ritualistic performances. Mark making was also something we discussed as we noticed the maker’s marks on the objects on displayed. We talked about how the marks made represent presence of the maker or even provenance. Drawing is about being present. We also looked at handwriting/letters/Chinese characters as a form of drawing and looked at different designs available at the museum. Discussion went on to the idea of trace, how drawing is a trace and how the trace doesn’t have to be permanent. Shortly after we came across a video showing an artist drawing on sand and we decided we want to try it out too. When what was drawn disappears, the action/the act of drawing is highlighted and not the end result, so then the power is in the action. We then thought about working with light/shadows, Mike even mentioned lasers. Impermanence seemed to be something we both were interested in.
After a day of wondering about this massive museum, talking and discussing possible ideas, I feel like this collaboration is taking shape but still in the early stage where it could take many different routes. I didn’t mention everything that was discussed here but only some highlights. However it seems that we are both interested in experimenting and creating a lot of different objects/art pieces/performance. What if we create an object that draws? What if the object makes its own marks or has its own”hand” writing? Mike spoke about light dependent resistors, which are essentially sensors. It would be interesting to create something that interacts with the artist or even the audience in some way to create something together maybe?
Having been mostly doing our research by reading and looking at things so far, we decided it is important to do some practice based research. We decided to add to our schedule a workshop day in a couple of weeks’ time at Mike’s studio, where we would spend the day drawing in different ways and making drawing tools. I would also demonstrate what I do and Mike would show me the technologies used in design. In the meantime, we will digest what we talked about and do some more reading.