Coming into this 2-week intensive course I knew it would be challenging, and it was, but not in the way that I had imagined. When I had enrolled into this course I was most excited about the idea of producing work that was greater than my individual ability. I was extremely open to the possibilities of what we could create collectively. However, what I was most excited about was also the most challenging part of the process.
Working with a product design student, animator and fashion design student, everyone came with their own skill set and provided interesting input throughout the process. However, throughout the first week it was clear that everyone had prioritised different aspects of the brief. Although we all started learning the software, Darryl and Matt accelerated with it, and at some points became very engrossed in learning it, that the discussions for concept development and research kind of fell to the wayside. As this happened it spiralled into a lot of issues that I think were cause by a massive lack of communication and understanding.
One thing that I learnt last year when doing a similar subject that forced us to learn new software rapidly (AfterEffects), was to not get caught up in trying to master the software. Instead learn the basics, then work on developing your concept/narrative and use those basics well, in order to effectively communicate the narrative. I had once got caught up in trying to keep pushing the software, keep pushing how much I could do and how many fancy effects I could create in the software, that my final composition – although technically advanced, was weak in the most vital part of the brief: the visuals! While I don’t think this is entirely the case here, I do feel Matt got caught up in learning SoftImage, trying to push the sound in MaxMSP, that it also took a toll on the group progress. Although Joanna and I were happy to try a develop the concept, whenever we did present our new revelations of how research and narrative could link, our ideas were questioned to the point where it was clear he wasn’t on board with it. Some days his questions were valid, and challenged me to re-think the idea, or word it better so the idea was more clear and less waffly. However, other days it felt as though he disagreed simply because it wasn’t his idea which became the hardest obstacle to overcome – especially in this ‘collaborative’ space.
What this whole experience has taught me from my own encounters and observations of how other group members reacted in various situations, is the importance of coming into every session of group work with an open mind. Ready to listen to other’s ideas, understand other people’s opinions or concerns, and being open to the process of how this develops organically. I was definitely inspired by the way Joanna handled some of the more challenging situations – she was able to stand up for herself while letting things go when it was too much and putting on a positive attitude.
Additionally, I was also inspired by the way the other groups worked and it showed in their final presentations. In particular RBBL, who presented their final sequence with a mission statement about collaboration and celebrating everyone’s talents within that space, and that is exactly what I think collaboration should be.
Moving forward from this, I am keen to keep experimenting with Motion Capture, Motion Builder and even possibly SoftImage to see how I can create interesting visual compositions. Moreover, working with the amazing and unique space that is the Data Arena, it has really taught me to consider the space, the screen, the scale and the pace in which graphics move. I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in this lab, and look forward to collaborating with other design students in the future.