learning with stefanie posavec: day one

Photo 2-11-15, 11 55 21 AMThe first week of the program is kicked off with a series of lectures and workshops by Stefanie Posavec. What a wonderful way of begin the program, because it was her work that really pointed me in the direction of my FYP.

An interesting note: she’s my flatmate too. We share the apartment of our host Rachel, and on the first day we went to school together. It was a really ~wow~ moment, and as much as I wanted to, I didn’t ask too much of her work and things like that because I didn’t want to sound too eager and fangirly… I told her a bit about what I am doing, that’s all. Also, the stuff I wanted to ask her was all covered in her presentation in the morning.

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Talking about Dear Data: this project is about quantifying everything around and visualising it in analog form. The result is 52 weeks of 2 different visualisations. This is currently in the midst of being printed into a book so yay… we will get to see this in its full printed glory. Stefanie says it was challenging to do this, it took around 8 hours of her week, and making a conscious effort to take down notes about each week’s theme.

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Stefanie sharing her work Writing Without Words.IMG_8533

Even though this is the first week of the program, I am pretty certain this is quite the highlight already, being able to hear Stefanie share her working process, the ideas that go behind the works that she’s known for. Most artist/designer’s portfolio websites are often pretty straightforward, telling the work like it is, so it’s a real opportunity to hear her own thoughts about the work. She mentions that Writing Without Words was a project that she made almost ten years ago, which really directed her to her current career path as a data illustrator. It got really big on the Internet, and people were really receptive and curious about that work. This is really inspiring to hear, because you might never know that you’re on to something that people would be incredibly supportive of, and might open doors to much more exciting opportunities.Photo 2-11-15, 11 56 54 AM

The first part of her presentation addresses her identity as a designer – Stefanie calls herself a data illustrator, and uses data as a material to create a graphic and to tell a story. She shares her data visualising skills and process from a designer point of view, and she often collaborates with someone who’s trained to do research and statistical analysis, like Miriam Quick, (who will be us next week to share with us how to work with datasets – the technical stuff) and they work in tandem to create a data story using graphics.

Some key takeaways from her presentation about using data as part of art and design:

  • data visualising aims to communicate beyond the data – it is therefore important to make sure the visualisation is effective.
  • as a designer, you can look for patterns within the data and translating them into visual language. Data as an aesthetic output.
  • data gathering can be used as a personal documentary: data is everywhere in the physical world, and it’s not impossible to visualise them.
  • a good dataset is interesting, rigorously researched by you, or from a reliable source. Honesty and integrity is key.
  • dataset can be a souvenir (referring to her work Dear Data with Giogia Lupi)
  • the process of collecting data can be performative, an endurance test, a self-portrait.
  • data can inspire feelings. It’s not all dry facts!
  • data is a scientific and cultural material.
  • data visualisation explains, explore, exhibit.

Next post will be about the visualisation techniques.

Project Hyperessay #1: Concept

The title of my project is beverley.tv.

Through this project, I’ll like to rethink the concept of webcam in our everyday lives. All of us now have access to an inbuilt webcam on our laptops, but few of us use the webcam to broadcast or record the nitty gritty details of our lives. Instead, we use our mobile phones to capture these details. We turn to social media to share every part of our lives, through text updates and pictures, and more often than not, we gain validation through comments and likes. We willingly give ourselves up to surveillance and allow the portraits of ourselves to be painted by other people when they view our carefully curated profile. Most of us use social media enough to notice the patterns and behaviours we take on when we go online: we share a lot, but we also conceal a lot, all to build and curate an online persona or what we hope others perceive us as.

For my project, I would like to open up my process of making art public to the audience in an unrepressed and informal manner, while making use of social media platforms and its functions to aid my project.

My broadcast will combine two kinds of filming and recording to document my artistic process: using the mobile application Periscope and Quicktime player’s screen recording function. The two filming methods is a contrast against each other, inspired by the concept of private vs public. Periscope works by using your mobile camera to film live footage of your surrounding and sharing it with an international audience, whoever happens to be online and tuning into your channel. It also includes a live commentary function, where you can see viewers responding to your broadcast and giving “hearts” in appreciation. Quicktime’s screen recording is an in-built function that records your actions on the screen. The screen recording records all the actions that take place on the screen. I use it as a form of broadcast as it offers a private and genuine way of documenting the art process, as it records all the subtle actions I do on-screen as part of the work: whether it’s a pause during typing, backspacing, deleting — these are all little details that offer a glimpse of the thought process, and how everything comes together to form a final piece of work.

As an artist, I find that documenting the process is just as important as making the work. I am a firm believer in the saying that it’s the journey that’s important, and not the destination. Documenting my process at each step of the way is akin to making sketches in a notebook: it allows me to go back and see what I have done, what works and what didn’t.

The concept of private vs public is rarely explored in the realm of art, particular the relationship between the artist and the viewer. Little interest in shown towards getting to know the artist and the process, and often the attention is on the work itself. Through my work, I also want to highlight that making mistakes is part of the process. A lot of times, most creatives tend to keep this part of the art-making process hidden and not shown to the public. There are also other habits that creatives keep hidden because they feel embarrassed about it. Through my work, I offer an uninhibited view into the process of making a piece of work.

The project is also influenced by the reading ‘Webcams: The subversion of Surveillance’ by Steve Dixon. The article explores the use of webcam as an electronic eye to our personal lives, and potential exploitation of privacy and intimacy. The reading also uses an example of a group of artists who use the webcam to document their processes, turning their studio into a Web installation. The webcam is also described as a camera which produces “low-resolution, grainy” footage and it’s static effect also lends it a stern, surveillance quality.

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Jennicam (1997)

Jennifer Ringley’s work Jennicam is an inspiration for my project. She lives her life out in front of the camera, and it records her activities from the mundane to the intimate. My takeaway from the work is that her documentation of her life is definitely realistic. Her setup of her cameras also provide insights to her life through various perspectives, by setting up cameras in every room and from all angles.



Risograph references


I bought some of these beautiful zines printed with risograph over the summer as well. I have been quite interested in this printing technique for some time, although I have not personally tried printing my own work with it. Over the last year I have been trying to collect some good examples of risograph works and learning more about the process.  My aim for this semester is to print a section of my work with risograph.

Why am I interested in this technique? Last semester I made some glitch art. They didn’t look very good when they are printed with the laser printer. I’m trying to find out ways that I can bring the “virtual to print”, and I think overprinting with risograph using such bright and neon colours, could help achieve this effect.

Below are some examples of overprinting with risograph.

From the work Aqua Solo by Double D‘s.

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Unmatter by Dominic KestertonPhoto 16-8-15 2 07 44 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 07 49 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 07 58 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 05 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 10 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 14 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 18 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 32 pm


What is a Grid?


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