Last week I spoke about research, craft and art being a trio of intersecting parameters in which we define our practises in media and technology. One could argue that, based off Terry Eagleton’s book Literary Theory: An Introduction, that theory is more than just a governing body to give reason behind things we do. Some interesting words came about when discussing a solid definition to “theory”:
- Discourse affecting Practise
- Contemplation and Speculation
- A morality behind a curiosity
So what makes theory vary from Research?
- Theory can spark a particular engagement element or a curiosity as mentioned, to perhaps gain an intention.
- I believe these two ideals DO compliment each other in terms of motivation and outlook. Research isn’t sparked on us without wondering the intentions of something.
I want to use my significance of last weeks post to dive deeper into this with my own experiences and try and grasp such a broad topic with the example I’ve had in practise. Suppose my passion for Drones sparked by a love of the skies. Or perhaps it was my interest to reinvent their storytelling narrative by turning them into an all in one robotic device that allows the operator to capture landscape, subjects and if so desired themselves with autonomy function. Actually, it was much more theoretical than that. It was a lecture room and a quadcopter was walked in sitting amongst other technologies that caught my attention and seeing it take off and land indoors with no real direction as to how it can be applied or what its purpose was. More that there’s a camera on the front, and it can fly, next move is yours. Already we have a research path, a craftsman path and a potential for an aesthetic (which was my initial response to how calm it hovered in the air seemingly by itself).
What transpired after getting involved with them, was the motivation and intention that I was going to build one for the intention of a purpose to extend the human potential that would ultimately create a safe environment for practitioners in engineering disciplines, as well as efficiently saving resources in time and money. This is how I intersected theory (my reason behind or rationale) and research (how do I access resources to get hands on in a technological inspired background). I believe that my research approach (whilst not industry professional stereotyped) was effective in that online tutorial and trial and error actually assisted my craft, which was, finding out everything I can about the hardware of robotics.
The Art side of my practise, which is, how was I going to satisfy my aesthetic motivation with these devices. In the years that I’d become interested in drones, so had every other media practitioner wanting to create visual experiences. This is why I get some people think the technology is fast becoming boring and repetitive (to a certain extent I agree, birds eye view of a landscape kinda has to resonate the video’s trajectory or its past its used by date) but I’ve created start to end projects using the lens of the robot in various forms of motion. Not always does the camera have to be hovering in the air to capture unique shots, this personal assistance allows people to Be Their Own Camera Crew.
The idea of futures, I believe relates to how theory can relate to a critical engagement or an inventive narrative that allows concepts to turn into projects through, again, research application. Perhaps we have an obligation, to continue all three aspects so that these technics live on and projected futures don’t become scarce.
These were my notes from recently watching a video of Steve Jobs giving a speech at a graduation ceremony at Stanford in 2005. I started writing down the words that really resonated with me and stuck with me throughout the video and decided to create a short Lumen5 video for this. This platform allows me to reflect with a visual and audio assisted video that I’m able to then reflect myself as to why these particular parts of the speech are so powerful to me.
It is interesting when reflecting on words from others I’ve personally taken note to. I think theres a particular theme to my narrowing completion of higher studies, that the role of curiosity has played in my own personal development. The idea that my own trajectory isn’t going to be defined in a sense, by others saying yes or no, rather why or why not.
A lot of speculation is often applied to these kinds of motivational speeches and success stories, in the way that “perhaps if they didn’t get these opportunities or there fame wasn’t successful, would they still have that same mindset”. These criticisms are speaking to an attitude that if he (Steve Jobs) didn’t make the fortune from Apple and Pixar, he wouldn’t adopt the same mentality. I disagree with that, and instead turn it around and put myself in the drivers seat. Take an empathetic approach to the idea and use the success he has created for himself as motivation for me. If he can do it, why can’t I? This kind of thinking almost serves as personal motivation, and when asked to reel it back and be realistic about the future (suppose not everyone can be as lucky as Steve Jobs, and most entrepreneurial endeavours are impractical) I invite to read my previous blog on Luck.
I love the idea that we can use other success stories, motivational optimism and self direction to manipulate what we like. I have no doubt that if Apple or Pixar didn’t create the phenomena it has today, we would be all texting on our Uphones and using BananaBook Pro/Air’s instead, Steve never looked like giving up.
Neatly typed version of the scribble I noted down for the video.
Dropout – connecting the dots.
“I should be adopted by college graduates”
I have no idea how college was going to figure out my life.
Curiosity and Intuition was my best experience, fascination over helping with life application.
Looking backwards to connect the dots
Visions of the future vary
Love what I did, You have to find out what it is you love.
Can you wake up in the morning and honestly say you’re happy about what you’re going to do today
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.
Introducing theory, practise, research, art, media and technology into one collective group I believe allows us to draw connections and trajectories between works of art, innovation modules and indeed continue an obligation to broaden the limits for the future.
Firstly, I participated in an activity to draw an draw out or map our thoughts within a Venn Diagram. We split the categories three ways: Research, Craft and Art. With these the base headings, we wanted to discuss how some technologies and works we’ve created in the past fit into some, one or all of these.
The three categories were filled with words or thought stimulators we could come up with. We ultimately decided that if dwelled on for long enough, each of the examples provided could actaully weave their way into all the categories. Which meant we had to be really specific with out choice of examples. For instance, if we say “technology” as a whole, it can definitely be talked about in a Research, Craft and Art bias but when naming a specific technology like VR/AR or 3D Printing, we then have to think about its position in these categories relevant to the time period.
This then lead into a mode of generalised thinking;
Research – Documentation, theory, PAST TENSE, things shaping ideas that have already happened and are revisted for further understanding
Craft – Practical, Skill based, materialistic, for me the act of “doing” could even be placed here. For example, the act of deciding to create or develop, that intrinsic thought applied to turning ideas into a reality.
Art – “the Grey area”, possible outcomes, aesthetic?, subjective, passion
For my own benefit and area of practise, I decided to take the controversial topic of Drone technology and try and outline their significance in each of these categories with an example of the above. I love the conversation this kind of thinking evokes, and how innovation can be seen as an artwork, or someones craft can pave the way for further research. This has happened with me. A lot of my projects have stimulated my own research into drone application for jobs to help people or solve outdated problems. Though indefinite, my research isn’t exactly “aesthetic” or probably wouldn’t be considered by most as an Art piece, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be. A device that provokes discussion for me means that it has potential. When the technology becomes a realistic everyday norm that’s when it gets succeeded.
Examples I want to share and build on the idea of specific pieces of work from drone technology, rather than the broad field they offer.
Next week, I’m excited to dive into the “futures” topic, and further develop this idea of connected links between craft and theory, and how some of the practises I’m involved with had elements of Research, Craft and Art mixed to create a prototyping idea through media art and communications applied to a new area of study in engineering.
I’m not usually a huge believer in FATE or LUCK, rather, looking at these as gestures from a kind mixture you create for yourself using opportunity and preparation, to which I think comes from a Roman philosopher Seneca when talking about perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I think variants of these are gambling or the like, but when referring to my own life and personal experience and relationships, I genuinely believe that the mistakes and work you do behind the light of praise and acknowledgment results in perhaps views from others as “Lucky”. This mentality is what drove me to reflect on a decision I’ve recently made, and give attention to detail of the experience I’m having and will have, in choosing this class I’m currently undertaking, “Advanced Seminar in Media and Communication”.
I want to take you on an Auto-Ethnographic journey starting from week 1, and leverage this platform to showcase how I’ve decided that not only can you reflect on work and effort put into a particular outcome, but you can value the experience along the way. This was showcased to me when asked to think (spontaneously) about an event, in which I’ve mentioned I undertook study in a subject I assumed would be theoretically too advanced for me and something I perhaps didn’t need to finish my tuition.
I’m in my final semester of studies. I have enough “Credit Points” to attain my degree without this subject. I’m quite busy in terms of extra-curricular activity. The course description screams academic writing and honours. But I decided the challenge to myself is to keep diving deeper into my studies. The value I’ve upheld since starting this new degree (transferring from a B. of Performance in 2014) is that of never become comfortable, because thats when I fear I’m getting left behind. It got me thinking throughout the class of the successful nature this opportunity gave me.
Looking back, this value I hold to myself of making the most out of relocating for further studies, it’s not the first time I’ve taken on a decision with zero momentum carrying me through forcing me to learn a completely new field. My first year, second year and consequently where I am now in third year have all started with me taking a risk with literally no idea how or why to start. The drone influence I’m trying to push on a hesitant public stems from my desire to build one in my vision for a particular purpose. I have zero engineering skills and even less attention span, which lead me to use a series of YouTube videos on how to build one as quickly and painless as possible. It’s something that has subconsciously driven the majority of my university success and something I’m now passionate about when asked to speak to students coming through the university setting worried about creating “good projects” or not having any ideas.
What I’m really impressed about in my decision to choose a subject I believed was a professional practise and not something I could offer a lot turned out to be something I’m really excited to apply my own autobiographical stories and experience to further reveal the complexities in a fast-paced changing trajectory the completion of modern media studies has to offer.
Today was our last day to nail it. I believe we did.
We re-made the spiral pages with premium cardboard paper with the cut out poem attached.
Ironed the sheets that covered our furniture so that the medium we’re using was a professional quality. The furniture that made the cut were a door, single chair, two tables and props sources from op shops that gave a homely feel. The lights we’re using are a mix of flood lights with a red gel on them and ambient light from the room and projectors. We sported the idea of using a lamp but found that it was too much interfering with the others.
We decided the projector on the floor for the start of the spiral was out of place and the position of the actual subject itself was wrong, so we went back to the original location and used a LED screen to loop the poem for he start. We also uses photo frames for the remaining cut outs of paper and formed a strange dialogue with the paper to have some kind of urgent vacation feel to the whole room.
I particularly like the accidental features of our work, not least the idea of words spilling from a cup due to a break (this represents the hardship showcasing emotion through the poems and the words that are central to this idea). This was both an aesthetic pleasure and a great utilisation of the space we were allocated.
The time and effort has been challenging this semester, especially with the size of our groups and the amount of creative input from every member. This has definitely been an iterative process and the theme of the whole work I believe we’ve narrowed down through the use of revisiting departure points and feedback from the year group and tutors alike. Some of the physical skills that i’ve improved in a media arts sense has been really beneficial, and the time given to us to work on this project has been a credit.
Tomorrow we go live.