So my first 5 week plan! It's time to get stuck in. This has actually been a fairly interesting thing to sketch out, especially with where I find myself currently - the intersection of my current professional practice, and my aspirations for my postgraduate focus. So, as I make the transition from my existing work opportunities and into a dedicated, discrete creative enquiry phase, I've decided to utilise an existing real-world project to form the basis of my 5 week plan and kick my postgraduate productivity off in a resourceful way. A few weeks ago I was awarded £4750 by The Arts Council of Wales to develop Playces - a new series of interactive sculptures that promote exploration, curiosity, and play.
Locations come in many forms: Familiar and exotic. Historic and modern. Peaceful and dynamic. Natural and manufactured. Playces will feature a series of cross-media artworks that will explore the notion of ‘what makes a place a place’ and present those ideas and observations via a series of interactive kinetic sculptures for audiences to not only view, but play with and enjoy via a shared, non-passive arts exhibition experience.
My proposal to the Arts Council was centered around a prototype sculpture I had created a few months prior, called The Windmill:
The Windmill is an interactive sculpture, made entirely from recycled cardboard and low-cost embeddable sensors, which allows people to uncover sound and create music through explorative physical interactions with various elements within the sculpture. This prototype was initially an effort for me to explore new formats for presenting traditional musical outputs to audiences, and through my proposal for funding, has expanded into a public-facing arts enquiry that is focused on artwork approachability, artwork relatability, and engagement methodologies that span all age ranges successfully. Naturally, this was fantastic news to receive! ...but this DOES mean that Placyes is already tied to a pre-existing agenda and specific set of development priorities for local public arts engagement, so at its core, this project won't tackle the main focus of my intended postgraduate enquiry. At least... not directly. It is, however, a good opportunity for me to look at the tangible creative outputs of this project and allow this to establish the beginnings of the intended journey for the focus of my studies. So, I've decided to use Playces as an opportunity to execute a creative multidisciplinary project one last time, without the influence of the sensory relationships praxis that I wish to begin developing for my postgraduate work. This is a valuable scenario for the ongoing work I intend to produce moving forwards as I can use this opportunity to generate a set of questions and/or observations which I can begin to explore on the conclusion of this 5 week plan. Once I have those, this will mark the beginning of the development of my praxis for multimodal creativity. So here's the plan! 1 real-world project. 5 weeks. 5 core steps. Each of which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound:
Week 1 Activity: Playces project management and artwork concept sketches. Outcome: Designs and build methods for sculptures to be identified and completed. Artwork development schedule established. Financial planning cross-checked and completed. Materials sourced and/or ordered. Rationale: Establish a good organisational foundation for the entire Playces project. No more project management thinking beyond this point - just DO! Week 2 Activity: Sculpture construction 1/2
Outcome: Establish the foundational structures of all the sculptures for Playces. Rationale: All creative outputs for the 5 week plan are tangible at this stage, making it easy to adjust build plans for the following weeks, and recalibrate expected timeframes for future tasks. Week 3
Activity: Sculpture construction 2/2. Outcome: All sculptures have 2nd level of visual detail established, finalising the visual component of this creative project. Rationale: All creative outputs feature a necessary level of construction detail to ensure that the sculptures are visually descriptive - this needs to be completed before work on electronics and sensors can begin as many of these visual elements will be directly linked to the interactive methods for the artworks. Week 4 Activity: Interactivity and sound design. Outcome: All sculptures' interactive and reactive components developed and implemented. Sound design for interactive elements begins. Rationale: All creative outputs enter the final stage of creative development, moving beyond visual structure and into sonic and interactive modalities.
Activity: The Salon showcase (interim Playces demonstration). Outcome: Execution of live demonstration of (at least) 2 interactive sculptures with 3rd party engagement and interaction. Rationale: Provides an opportunity for me to discuss works with 3rd parties and reflect on the relationship of the sensory elements of the works within a public context.
So that's the plan! ...and that's enough waffle from me for now - I'm a doer - so it's time for me to do as a doer does and go do. Watch this space for weekly updates on this 5 week plan and the creative mania that's about to unfold. *Cue the smell of glue guns heating up*