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Reverse Busking

Brainstorming phase:

Tas and I wanted at first to agree to explore the idea of interaction through the use of popular Internet videos or ‘Memes’ such as the ‘Running Man’ videos. We came to this conclusion at first because at the time it was the ‘it’ video to be watched all over social media and it had involved a dance that we thought would invite the public to dance along to. This idea ultimately became a failure because by the time we had started the work; the video slowly died out and therefore was not eligible for our original idea. This bred the thought of public inclusion though music. We then decided to busk, and that evolved to our final idea, the Come Play, Hear Our Sound do it yourself style busking thought where we would prop up a keyboard for the passing public to play as we were recording there sounds on the computer.

Process:

Our process for this assignment came up through a jumble of ideas. After we had come up with the idea we were happy with we had the idea of hosting it in the University, and also to make it as mobile as possible because we wanted to have it in at least three sites. We then had the idea of doing it in public and we gained access to the sites with the help of Bianca. We then had to think of the equipment we wanted to use. The obvious choice was a keyboard with enough octaves on it so people could play two-handed and with a lot of freedom. Next were the speakers. We wanted them to be loud but only loud enough so that the surrounding shops would not be disturbed. Tas supplied two, but in the end we only used one and we found that was sufficient enough for the experiment.

We found a use for the sound program Abelton as well. Through our computers we were able to record what the public was playing to mold the work of our experiment. Lastly a few chairs were needed and a sign that was altogether inviting enough for people and also simple enough to fit on a sign.

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Execution of Process:

On the day of the assignment Tas and I were given three options of where to set up amongst the mall of Wollongong. We chose a spot right next to escalators, seating arrangements and shops.

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We chose this place because we thought a lot of people would be trafficking through and be interested in our set up.

Our decisions let to the piano facing away from us and tas and I sitting behind a table on chairs far from the keys themselves. The speakers were set up below the keyboard so to project the sound from below in order to minimalise it. The sign was then placed next to the keyboard, standing at about the same height.

At first we spent a few minutes hoping for more people to be coming through our space but we thought we got lucky with a few people who gave us looks but kept walking. Mostly we would call out to people, colluding to our public interaction experiment. We did this in our best inviting voices but it only worked four, maybe five times. Our first interaction involved a man who worked in one of the phone stores above us. He asked us questions about what we where doing (This popped up quite a few times) and gave what he said was his ‘best shot’ on the piano.

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Most of our interactions started with the question stated above. About fifteen or so minutes before we decided to pack up. One of two people who stopped thought we were selling something. Perhaps the piano or something we kept under the table. Tas and I acknowledged that although the sign did have that factor to it. Its simple message was what was needed for our space to make sense to the public.

Reflection:

This experiment ultimately could have been decided on the variables that we had brought on the day. If we positioned the piano wrongly, or if we didn’t have any sign, then it would have been seen as busking. Thankfully, that opinion was only voiced by one couple, of whom ended up playing one or two notes in total.

At first the two of us were skeptical about our location and wanted to move, but as the early morning turned to mid morning more and more people passed us we were thankful that we had chosen that spot.

A tail of the Free bus: concluding statement

As this final assessment comes to close, I find myself reminiscing of this semester and the previous  assessments. but in particular, this one as I took everything I know and applied it to this with the best of my knowledge. However, though it wasn’t as a good of a finish than I hoped. I scored well with the whole result but mucked up at the end. either way, it has been an enjoyable class with the most entertaining group of this course and I did quite enjoy all of the assessment and work that came with it.

This final assessment had me testing the limitation of both my physical and mental skill as well as my communication with a public audience. the standing structure between Jane and I was rough at the start but it didn’t last long as we quickly figured a way on presenting ourselves with this work. In a sense though the task that we had undertaken felt like a pilgrimage. As we the young student set out onto a path that was set before us to gather knowledge of the people we passed along the way. Our encounters were short but the story we shared we memorable and all the same somewhat similar to our journey.

The free bus can be seen as a convenient mode of transport but it can also be seen as the basis for the notion that ‘all road lead to Rome’, that we all take this pilgrimage together but at the same time on different point along the journey. With different encounter more stranger and eventful than the next but its what we learn from the people that we meet that teacher a value of ourselves. Whether it be a teacher that seeks for an apprentice or bystanders that are mesmerised but something that catches their attention. With each action we make and the decisions we take in deciding our route, we gain a self-awareness of our surrounding and learn that there is more to someone than what they look like. In which in turn, improves the value of one’s self and sharpen their skills.

A tail of the free bus day 3: we begin

Date: 23/5/2016
Time: 11:00-12:30
Location: Wollongong bus bays
Company: Jane
Encounters: 5
Monday Arvo I met up with Jane as we began our project from the library at which point I had arrived a couple hours earlier to warm myself up to the space that I was in. it gave me time to reflect on my skill set and what I’d learnt from my encounter with the stranger from last time. The result we’re pretty good if I do say so myself and having people look over my shoulder with a hearty approval gave me the confidence bust I needed to start the day off.
soon after I completed my sketch of the area jane had arrived which marked our starting point of our assessment. we started off on deciding to not stay in one place but rather move around so we can get some leg space as well as the different encounter of each different character at each stop. Each stop had its own unique trait with a different crowd around them, hence is why we moved around each bus bay. We came across 5 different people each with their own reason for using the free bus and it’s convenience, we even encounter other pilgrims of the church on their own journey on the path of the word of God. As well as bumping into the stranger that helped me with my sketching the other day.
with each encounter, Jane would take the lead and I would follow up but everytime Jane would address here self to the bystander their attention would always draw to me. I tried not to pay much mind to it as I was on the clock and had only 5-10 minutes to draw them but they did, however, come out pretty well for rough drafts. We ended the day pretty with some good recording of both of us but I also discovered that I had a limit to the amount of drawing I could do in a day.
In conclusion during our walking interviews, we caught the gaze of many bystanders some even lingering over us with curiosity. But for the most part, they more likely were looking at me with curious as to what we were up to but I felt the need to not notice it as I felt more like an object rather than a subject of people attention. As each time I would sketch I would take up part of the walkway that had people flowing around me like water travelling around a stone in a river. I was unaware of the presence around me as my eyes were more fixated towards the subject before me but I did however felt the gaze of the people around me and though I wasn’t fully sure of how many there where I knew that they were there.Scanned-image-2-0Scanned-image-3-0Scanned-image-4-0Scanned-image-5-0Scanned-image-6-0

A tail of the free bus day 2: Alone

Date: 21/5/2016
Time: 11:00
Location: Wollongong Library
Company: non
Saturday afternoon or close to it, after Thursdays class I had agreed to meet up with Jane at the front of the Library to begin our assessment. I wanted to get started on it as soon as possible but the main reason was because I would not be attending next weeks class. This was because I had to attend to family matters that required me to travel north on Wednesday and therefore be away for Thursdays class.

I started the day early and arrived at the front of the library around about 9:30 because I wanted to get some drawings done of the area. Unfortunately, though given that it was the morning I was bit rough with the sketch and still trying to find my rhythm for the book and the space I was in. as I waited for the arrival of Jane I received a couple of glances from the passing people that where going about their day. Some coming in close and another making obvious as they looked over my shoulder to see what I was drawing. But it did not phase me nor did it throw me of the people looking over my shoulder. It wasn’t until something surprising happened where a complete strange came up to me and began to have a discussion with. At first we talked about art as most artist would do but then he began advising and showing me the appropriate way of how I should be drawing the landscape. It wasn’t until I asked that I found out that he was an artist teacher at a high school who studied at the Wollongong Uni. We sat and talked for a good while as he guided me and critique each stroke I made with the pencil show me from the appropriate way to holding a pencil, to even how to look at something. We talked for hours until I realised the time and found out that I had another appointment somewhere else and that I had to cancel my meet up with Jane but my talk with the stranger he asked if I would be interest in some further lesson into the art practice. It was sudden when he asked me that, I almost felt implied to say yes when there so much more that I need to learn about art and he seemed like he would be a good teacher. However even though there is still so much I need to learn about improving my skill I felt as though that he would probably not be the best of teacher for me. He is an artist through and through but even I can tell that something yearns within his heart, I mean he seems like a passionate person but I could sense that his heart seeks longing for what I believe a challenge and a reason to being a teacher. Mostly likely though he seeked for an apprentice that would share his eye for the fine artist. It might be the ego of an artist talking but I felt as though that we probably wouldn’t be a good match but I guess the chance to know that has passed and therefore I’d probably will never know.

In conclusion I learnt of how putting something new into the environment can invite other people to approach in both an appropriate and direct way when observing something out of there daily routine. Which can lead to chance encounter that have us loosing of what could’ve been.

“Social Intersections Research Project”

“Working in groups of two or three students, produce an art project that engages with issues of the relation between art and the social.”

 

– PROCESS –

After the initial project briefing, my group and I were very confused where to start. We spent some time brainstorming different ideas, drawing from other works we had been shown in the class lectures. When sitting down and thinking held no results, we drew from previous assessments and decided to go for a walk around the Uni campus in an attempt to find some inspiration.

The walk sparked some ideas; camera surveillance, the process of people meeting, etc, but nothing that we could foresee to be project-worthy.

After hours spent and meeting as a group we were still struggling to think of a main idea for our art project, so we turned to Bianca. Bianca took the assessment outline, and gave us the idea that the task itself could be the art project – our problem of not having an idea, could become our solution. It was a really interesting concept in which we decided to take upon. After discussing this with Bianca we went away and decided to lay out some rules for our project. We would visit 3 different locations and survey the public; explain the subject & assessment and ask them what they would do for an art project if they were in our position. We initially aimed to get at least 10 answers at each location, recording the audio of the conversation, and then record the individual’s age, gender, occupation, etc, in order to compare the answers.

On paper, we had an amazingly straightforward and conceptually interesting project, but when we put it into action, problems started to arise.

We started out at the Uni campus as location #1. None of us realised how difficult it would be to walk up to a stranger and start asking them questions. After conquering the first problem and building up the nerve to engage passers by, we came across another problem. Most people do not have a spare minute out of their day to help 3 poor uni students. We tried different openers to try and persuade people to stop and help but we were still not getting any results. After about an hour and a half we had to resume to our individual lives, but decided we would visit Wollongong mall next.

Later that week we set up camp at one of the main entrances to the mall and started harassing strangers. We found people were even less inclined to help in comparison to the Uni. We ended up getting 1 or 2 results from roughly 25 attempts, which took just over an hour. As we were struggling we discussed going into shops and asking staff but agreed that was inappropriate. This is when the project started to evolve. What ever it was that we were doing prior, was not working, so we had to change something. It didn’t suit us – in terms of time – to stand around for hours getting only a few results so discussed what we could do to obtain results more efficiently. I suggested I could interview a bunch of my friends as we couldn’t afford to spend so much time in the hopes of surveying random people on the street. The group agreed, so I recorded the audio of roughly 10 different conversations onto my phone that day.

Our initial idea of presenting our project was to use an info graphic poster, to compare the results of different locations/ages/genders/etc and display this visually. This also had to change, as the majority of the interviewees were of the same age, and the randomness of each individual was eliminated due to the fact I was interviewing my friends. As a group we discussed our options and came to the idea of compiling the audio recordings and playing them through a speaker for our presentation.

I cut up the audio files so that each of the interviewees ideas/answers were back to back, so you didn’t have to listen to me ask the same question over and over. I feel this would be more engaging and interesting for the listener. We then designed a poster to accompany the speaker so that the audience would understand exactly what it is they were listening to.

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Copy of SOCIAL INTERSECTIONSRESEARCH PROJECT

 


Here is the final audio compilation:

“CAOS201: Social Intersections Research Project”


 

 – REFLECTION – 

The two main texts I found relate to our art project would be Allan Kaprow’s “Just Doing” and Roland Barthes’ essay “The Death of the Author”.

1. In Barthes’ essay “The Death of the Author” he talks about rejecting the idea of authorial intent, and instead develops a reader-response critical theory:
‘The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination.’ The use of the word “quotations” expresses the idea that a text cannot really be “created” or “original”—it is always made up of an arrangement of preexisting “quotations” or ideas. Therefore, the “author” is not really an author, but rather a dictator who simply puts together pre-existing works, which is exactly what we did as a group. I found it interesting in distinguishing who really was the true artist/author of this project. Yes, our group planned out the idea behind the project, but without the public/audience, the project would not exist. Because of this, I feel as though the public are the true authors of the project, and we (the group) became the audience.

2. In Kaprow’s “Just Doing” he states that ”playing with everyday life often is just paying attention to what is conventionally hidden”. This relates to our project as it held no real purpose; playing, and we were essentially just uncovering ‘what is conventionally hidden’ – that is, the ideas and memories of individuals, which already exist. We continued “playing”, and like Kaprow states “Playing has no purpose other than more playing”, we allowed the project to evolve without consciously setting any kind of limits or boundaries.

 

 – REFERENCES – 

– Kaprow, A 1997 ‘Just doing’, TDR, Vol .41, No. 3, pp. 101-106.
– Barthes, R 1967 ‘The Death of the Author’