Interdisciplinary Field Project – Future Generations

On Thursday the 11th of February me and my interdisciplinary project group including Joel Williams (Graphics Communicator), Adrian Miles (Ceramicist), Bethan Davies (Fine Artist), Charlotte Reddie (Fine Artist), Jodie Phillips (Fine Artist) and added to the group lovely Frances Gwilliam (Ceramicist) came together in the Illustration studio to start developing our 3D city following our plan.

Reminder of the project and plan:

In my group we are required to use one of the descriptions of a city from the book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino provided to us by a tutor, as a basis of a collective visualisation to be formed within my group.

Our city extract was based on a city called ‘Valdrada’ described by Italo Calvino in the ‘Cities and Eyes’ reading.

12746548_10205604673863330_9946400_n
Our provided extract.

The notes we made about the city:

  • Dystopian.
  • Surveillance.
  • Intrusively watched all the time.
  • Uncomfortable.
  • Freedom of privacy not granted – reminded us very much of today’s surveillance through the cameras of our devices that we are attached too.
  • Mirrors.
  • Reflections.
  • Watched.
  • Observed.
  • Monitored.
  • Tracked.
  • A stalker vibe about it – quite frightening and unpleasant.
  • Recording of actions within the homes – today through our devices.

Tasks:

  • Visualise the city using mixed media. E.g. photography, illustration, collage, typography etc.
  • The visualisation must fit onto a 1 metre format provided but can contain both 2D/3D elements.
  • Break outside of the preconceptions of what a city currently looks like. Think big, think future, think what if…
  • On Monday January 15th at 10:00am me and my group will present our collective visualisation and spend the remainder of the day making connections between the cities generated from the variety of other groups, in pursuit of the ideal city, if one could exist.
  • We can extend outside of the Invisible City text using our experiences and perceptions of the world around us in developing cities of the future.
  • Extend upon our research of both utopian and dystopian future cities. Can a utopian city exist without some level of dystopia and vice versa?
  • Consider how could the four pillars of the Future Generations (Wales) Act i.e. improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, play a part in your city?
  • Use our cities visual language to begin developing visual metaphors that could relate to a tangible city of the future.

Our PLAN:

Diagram of our project plan created by Joel Williams.
  • A 3D visualisation of the city as an interactive installation hanged so that the viewer can see it from a bird’s eye view perspective in front of them. A webcam is to be placed above the installation directly recording the viewer which will then have themselves projected onto the Valdrada city. This will place the viewer into an experience of that lived by the imagined inhabitants and a reminder and perspective of the way how our own city is run raising an awareness of the surveillance and tracking through cameras today.

I made the suggestion that the city Valdrada’s verandas ‘one above the other’ stacks of houses should be composed of skeletal frameworks with the idea of using transparent and an exploratory range of perhaps recycled materials for the walls and floors to work with the ‘always being watched, even when you’re in your home’ setting. By building the houses in a normal aesthetic of concealing barriers of walls it suggests a safe place of privacy that desensitises us to the surveillance that is actually going on in this Valdrada city and our own.

This proposition will reflect what not only is our visualisation of the city described by Polo in the book but a clear representation and reflection of our own city today, which can be understood as a dystopian intrusion into our freedom of our every business being our own.

When it comes to the presentation I believe that we need to clarify and understanding of why our cities are running like this and suggest the positives to this that can be argued. Then conclude however how it is ultimately a dystopian matter put into place as consequence of the guaranteed criminal action.

Our Work from Thursday the 11th Feb:

  • Collecting and recycling cardboard materials from the cafe of the art school and studios.
  • Some of us brought in reusable containers for the houses of the city.
  • We cut our base for the city from a large sheet of cardboard I was allowed to use from the illustration studio within the size restrictions of a 1 meter length format by half a meter width.
  • Materials: Recycled cardboard, recycled containers, cello tape, masking tape, scalpels, scissors, craft knife and a cutting mat.

We simply enjoyed creating houses for our city of all shapes and sizes and we liked the prospect of making them quirky and interesting like houses from shanty towns linking to the city Valdrada’s verandas ‘one above the other’ stacks of houses as mentioned in the description of the ‘Valdrada’ city in the ‘Cities & Eyes’  extract by Italo Calvino. 

12769404_10205597133634829_1392095087_n
Seen here enjoying the project together. We had the freedom to make the houses in whatever way we wanted knowing the more quirky we were with the designs the more visually interesting it would make our city.
12077204_10205597133314821_1975003113_n
This is Adrian working on building a house for the city.
Bringing our houses for the city together on our cardboard base.
A developing collection of collaborative unique house designs.
This is Charlotte at work on one of her very extraordinary houses for the city. She particularly found 3D work and cardboard a bit challenging but we loved and encouraged her otherworldly work.
Bringing our houses for the city together on our cardboard base.
Bringing our houses for the city together on our cardboard base.
Bringing our houses for the city together on our cardboard base.

After a discussion with the group we decided to use a projection of a piece of video footage of an eye to be projected onto the city looking all over the city. We liked this more intense and dynamic concept so we scrapped the initial plan of using a web cam to project the image of the viewers onto the city. This new idea was very big brother like and I remembered a seminar where a tutor mentioned how we are attracted to light and how it draws our attention to it greatly so I really think our piece will stand out when it comes to presenting the work.

This idea was much more of a stronger statement and clearer for the audience to interpret with the eye casted over the entire city creating that intense and dominating watchful atmosphere.

We planned that Francis who is unavailable until presentation day to create the eye video footage.

Work from Friday the 12th of February:

Me, Charlotte, Joel and Adrian where the members from the group who were able to attend the development on our project on this day.

After a discussion about the strength of our houses sharing our concerns for some of the houses fragility with our use of the cello tape securing the cardboard houses in shape we agreed on strengthening our cardboard houses using the paper mache technique. This will ensure our buildings are solid and sturdy structures knowing that we had a little amount of glue for the glue guns in the workshop available to us. We also thought about how the paper mache would give it a really nice interesting texture to the buildings. We agreed on using the resources we had available to us for the paper mache so we used toilet tissue from the bathrooms and the PVA from the illustration studio.

We also cut holes into the roofs as I suggested to look as purposeful interventions made to the privacy of the imagined citizens allowing us to see inside their homes suggesting that their is no place where they are unwatched by the surveillance of the government like our own reality we experience.

We also experimented with some playful collaborative compositions of our houses on the cardboard base and took some pictures for reference for when we later attach the houses to the base using a glue gun.

We agreed we didn’t need to worry about being precise with every house being stacked on top of another as mentioned in the extract as it made no difference. The piece is a clear dystopian statement of the city described and a reflection of our own city.

We agreed that I will get on with making some more additional houses I suggested that we needed for a more interesting busy and dense city for aesthetic purposes whilst the rest of the team Adrian, Joel and Charlotte crack on with the paper mache technique application to our cities quirky houses

Materials: Large paintbrushes, PVA, tub for glue, toilet tissue, water, scalpels, recycled cardboard, recycled containers, cutting mat and cello tape.

12053265_10205597134994863_1256367584_n
Collaborative composition experiment. Paper mache (PVA mixed with water) solution prepared in the red tub.
Collaborative composition experiment. Birds eye view perspective which is intended for the viewers in the final presentation stage of the project.
Collaborative composition experiment. Birds eye view perspective which is intended for the viewers in the final presentation stage of the project.
12736067_10205597135194868_1831889906_n
Collaborative composition experiment.
12736080_10205597135154867_1705093451_n
Collaborative composition experiment.
Collaborative composition experiment. Birds eye view perspective which is intended for the viewers in the final presentation stage of the project.
Collaborative composition experiment.
12767201_10205597135914886_237528873_n
Collaborative composition experiment. Birds eye view perspective which is intended for the viewers in the final presentation stage of the project.
Collaborative composition experiment. Birds eye view perspective which is intended for the viewers in the final presentation stage of the project.
Collaborative composition experiment.
Collaborative composition experiment. Birds eye view perspective which is intended for the viewers in the final presentation stage of the project.

We planned for Adrian who was able to come in on the Saturday 13th of February to spray paint our paper mache houses in the silver paint we had chosen as the colour for the whole piece. We chose a silver paint to match the reflective conditions mentioned in the description of the city and because it’s a colour that also relates to the metal infrastructure resemblance of a city.

Work from Sunday the 14th of February:

On Sunday the 14th of February me and Joel worked on attaching the silver spray painted houses to the cardboard base and then spray painting the cardboard base to make the entire city the silver reflective colour we desired.

We did initially use glue guns to attach the houses to the base but they ran out of glue surprisingly quickly which meant we had to take a trip to Tesco to buy more adhesive. As there was no glue cartridges of the right size for the glue guns that we had, we improvised by using a different adhesive called a ‘EVO-STIK Grab Adhesive’ we bought which proved even better than the glue gun results.

I was really pleased with the texture of the buildings from the paper mache technique as it added to its eye catching and attractive aesthetic.

Gluing:

We used pictures from my phone of our previous collaborative compositions we created with Charlotte and Adrian to re-position the buildings on the cardboard base for gluing.
12325431_10205597138354947_1818290992_n
We used pictures from my phone of our previous collaborative compositions we created with Charlotte and Adrian to re-position the buildings on the cardboard base for gluing.
Close up of our shanty town like City. I love all the textures and mash up of materials making it look intriguingly textural.
12735691_10205597139194968_695748147_n
Close up of our shanty town like City. I love all the textures and mash up of materials making it look intriguingly textural.
We used pictures from my phone of our previous collaborative compositions we created with Charlotte and Adrian to re-position the buildings on the cardboard base for gluing.

Spray Painting:

Close up of our shanty town like City, I love all the textures and mash up of materials making it looking textural.
Close up of our shanty town like City. I love all the textures and mash up of materials making it look intriguingly textural.
Once we secured all the houses to the base we simply took the piece outside on the grass of the university and spray painted the base and the buildings that needed a touch up. We wanted to make the piece as silver (reflective) as possible getting into the insides of the buildings as much as physically possible. We took the spray painting in turns and I really enjoyed it, it was super fun and satisfying.
12735807_10205597143795083_1123112913_n
Completed 3D piece with the house forms firmly secured to the base and the piece completely spray painted. All we had to do was allow it to dry overnight ready for preparing for presentation the next day.
Close up of our shanty town like City. I love all the textures and mash up of materials making it look intriguingly textural.
Completed 3D piece with the house forms firmly secured to the base and the piece completely spray painted. All we had to do was allow it to dry overnight ready for preparing for presentation the next day.
Completed 3D piece with the house forms firmly secured to the base and the piece completely spray painted. All we had to do was allow it to dry overnight ready for preparing for presentation the next day.
Close up of our shanty town like City. I love all the textures and mash up of materials making it look intriguingly textural.
Close up of our shanty town like City. I love all the textures and mash up of materials making it look intriguingly textural.

Work from Monday the 15th of February:

On Monday the 15th of February 2016 we were set a morning collaborative task in our initial group 3 class where we had to divide ourselves into thinkers and doers.

I knew that I was a thinker as I generate a vast amount of ideas with every project and I always put a lot of thought into reasoning the features of my work to empower its statement.

The doers and thinkers groups were divided into two separate glass rooms facing each other at the opposite ends of the room in the Cardiff school of art and design.

We as thinkers had to devise a plan for a visualisation based on the wellbeing of ourselves and the Future Generations using our discussed and selected positive words from the previous task last week including peace, environment, togetherness and optimism that we felt were particularly substantial in improving life on earth.

We then had to send one of our thinkers out to explain our plan to a selected doer individual who then had to pass on the instruction to the rest of the doer’s team. We on the other side of the room could then only use our body language and visual stimuli to direct the doer’s without further verbal communication.

We as the thinkers collectively formed a clock face symbolising our time on earth spent acting on these positive important doings with recognisable symbols to be located at the every quarter of the clock creating our all-encompassing goal for wellbeing considering ourselves and the future generations. I like how the clock face is circular reminding me of the shape of the world itself and how it can be a stand for now is the time to act on change.

The doers had the materials of pens and sticky notes to complete our directed visualisation. They were allowed to stick the sticky notes to the glass window of their room opposite us. We were also allowed to direct the team with our own sticky notes to put on the glass but we were soon told to take them down in our room as there was some ceramics on a shelf near the window and they were concerned about them falling and breaking. We instead improvised using body language and drawings that we drew on a page formed from sticky notes indicating the symbols we wanted at what place on the clock face.

 

12736001_10205597144795108_1548933075_n
Some of our collaborated plans we made privately in out thinker’s group. The illustration on the left page is a brief example of the plan we wanted for our chosen visualisation which we later changed to the clockwise order of peace, optimism, togetherness then sustainability. It didn’t matter what order they were in as they were all equally as important. The illustration on the right is another idea that we created with the additional tree background signifying our vital nature roots but we preferred the balance of the four factors in the other design.
Our distanced view of the doer’s working at the opposite end of the building. At this point we were directing the doer’s with our body language and indicating via drawings.
This is the completed task outcome which was very successful and quite fun.

I found this task enjoyable and surprisingly not that challenging at all. Our idea wasn’t too complicated and I liked how the doer’s applied their own interpretation with the bottom togetherness symbol being the number ’69’ which is quite funny instead of our idea of two people holding hands. It was a nice touch which we all approved of.

After lunch I and my project group including Joel Williams, Adrian Miles, Bethan Davies, Charlotte Reddie and Jodie Phillips set up our ‘City of Eyes’ visualisation 3D collective piece in preparation for our presentation. Our other member Frances Gwilliam who was unable to attend the presentation came in briefly and handed us the video eye footage to be used for the projection on our city.

We attached our 3D piece which had dried overnight and became a really firm and solid work using drawing pins that Joel attained for us. We put it at the height of eye level for that extra eye grabbing effect and as previously planned.

Installing our 3D Piece. 

12735891_10205597148275195_212527265_n
Intended for viewer’s the bird eye view perspective of the city.
12516306_10205597146475150_238470777_n
We love the look of our piece as it was so eye catching and it had a lovely reflectiveness to it, it was just as we pictured it would be. The shadows casted from the buildings makes it particularly a dynamic piece.
12696277_10205597147395173_1385537736_n
Playing with camera angles of the 3D piece.
12053255_10205597148875210_1148401586_n
Playing with camera angles of the 3D piece
12596047_10205597147595178_833332423_n
Playing with camera angles of the 3D piece.
12746500_10205597149075215_2077505374_n
Intended viewers bird eye view perspective of the city
Playing with camera angles of the 3D piece. The interiors and exteriors of the city completely revealed.

Setting up the Projector

All we had left to do is set up our projector that we were allowed to use from this studio by levelling the support platform for the projector at the right height for the projection to be positioned onto and in size of our city. We plugged the projector into a laptop which we then had the video footage on a USB provided to us by Frances Gwilliam ready and running on loop.

This was our first projector that we used but it wasn’t able to achieve the format we desired. We then queried the tutor about there being any other projector here in the studio we could use and we were lucky to have access to another projector that achieved exactly what we wanted.
12767471_10205597149315221_1532023165_n
Here is Joel (left) and Bethan (right) swapping over the two different projectors. The grey projector has a direct beam shot for projection whereas the other white projector only had one specific size and angle format for projection.
Joel and Bethan were sorting out the technical equipment and Jodie shown to the right was preparing the video footage made by Francis Gwilliam.
n
Here is our projection of the looking eye projected onto our cityscape. Our outcome was definitely an attention grabber.
Here is our piece and the other city work created by the other groups who also had their own different Invisible Cities extract which they based their work on, ready for the presentation that involved us explaining and discussing our work in groups to the class and tutors.

Video of our Successful and Complete Interdisciplinary City Project:

Video of our Successful Complete Interdisciplinary City Project. This is our collective visualisation of the city ‘Valdrada’ in Italo Calvino’s ‘Cities & Eyes’ description that we were provided. Our city also functions more importantly as an extreme representation of our future dystopian world, where nothing goes unseen and unrecorded. It is the world that we live in now, but magnified. We will have no secrets and no personal space. The culture is regimented, strict and overly organised. The citizens are oppressed and restricted never feeling free or private. The youth here are hopeless and powerless.

Jodie’s video of our collaborative project up close:

 The presentation went really well and we turned down the lights in the room to emphasise the projection work.  It was great how we all chipped in explaining the piece thoroughly and precisely. The tutors and students where very intrigued and loved the work and we effectively ignited a lot of input from our viewers in an interesting discussion stemmed from our presentation about our surveillance in our life being dystopian.

Work from Tuesday the 16th of February:

The final day of our interdisciplinary work was on Tuesday the 16th of February where we created an exhibition space displaying all our cities generated from the group 3 class facing each other in a circular space.

Firstly we were instructed to collaboratively in our project group formulate a Manifesto based on the facts we discussed about how our city is run to be placed beside our 3D city installation to give a clear explanation of what our piece is stating.

12596456_10205597154555352_1680650350_n
Our collaborated manifesto for our city.

Secondly we worked as a class to reorganise the following words in an order of importance for the wellbeing of us and for future generations with the most important being placed on the highest plinth.

Words in order of importance: Social (highest), Environmental, Cultural, Economic (lowest).

We realised how important it is to be able to work together and collaborate which we need to do in order to make a global united difference. We must work together to protect the environment and culture which we then can agree to use the economy wisely which would aid change. We collectively agreed that social, environmental and cultural have much more value and power than the prospect of money.

12736067_10205597153915336_1409575493_n
Our collaborated completed task with colour coordinated notes symbolising each individual term.

We then were instructed to work within our project groups collaboratively to establish and explain how our city is run in consideration of these specific factors.

12767628_10205597154115341_779182581_n
Again organised in importance order being social the most important factor and economy the least important.
A close up of the collaborated information of our city.
A close up of the collaborated information of our city.

As the final task of this resourceful interdisciplinary experience we had to realise and devise connections using the provided strings on the plinths symbolising those specific terms between the descriptions we had written on our posted notes shown above or on the city installations themselves between the other cities that link. It was interesting to see the links between the cities as being similarly run.

12736466_10205597155075365_1863353745_n
Collectively seeing and making connections between cities.
12746607_10205597155875385_1310374405_n
Collectively seeing and making connections between cities.
Collectively seeing and making connections between cities.
Collectively seeing and making connections between cities.
12767363_10205597155395373_1010034488_n
Collectively seeing and making connections between cities.
12767560_10205597155675380_1592587678_n
Collectively seeing and making connections between cities.
12769366_10205597154715356_1714963991_n
Collectively seeing and making connections between cities.

From this task we learned mostly about what doesn’t work as a way of running a city. In every city that was created for the task they all had a quite a significant dystopian element.

What have I gained from this experience?

From this experience I have developed on my important and rewarding skills of team work. This experience has made me feel much more confident about working in a group and I have learnt that the best way to approach working with others and to enjoy yourself in this world of collaboration effectively is to have a balance of both leading (speaking) and following (listening).

I loved the insight I gain from working with others they provide me with surprising ideas that opens my mind to more possibilities than I would with working on my own. The outcome is always so much fun with collaborative work as it’s always a completely unexpected outcome with its development always excitingly navigating to new roads in making and changing concepts through discussion.

It’s the social aspect of working in a group that is particularly special to be a part of and although there can be uncomfortable clashes which I have experienced once in this project and another time in a subject project I know now simply who I’d want to work with next time. I now have links with many friendly, talented and as motivated people who I had the great opportunity to become acquainted with so that if I need their help with anything in the future I know who to call. My friends individual specialism outcomes, skills and knowledge offers me new creative mediums, techniques, ideas and inspiration to try and apply within my own practice to flourish, widen and excite my creative experiences and knowledge.

 

Advertisements

Author: ellosweetmellon

I am 21 years old and I live in Cardif. My dream is to be a great illustrator that can sell and exhibit my work with pride.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s