Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Face Off part 2

By Millie Ross published

Wimbledon College of Art interview Central Saint Martins in the final stage of This Is Why We Meet.

(Click any image to enlarge it)

What were your expectations before the project began?

Sofia: From the beginning, I found the idea of working with other CSM students from different courses exciting, if not a bit frightening as well. The opportunity of having my work up in one of the most viewed areas on Brick Lane and working inside such an innovative advertising agency made for some quite high expectations I have to say.

What was the moment when you came up with the idea for the project and what lead up to the idea?

Sandra: This was actually our first idea and we came up with it just by talking and trying to get to know each other. It turned out that we were all interested in literature, writing and books, so it was something that we all had in common.

Did you know each other before? Are you enjoying being part of a team?

Helen: We only met through this project and had been in touch via emails and facebook prior to meeting on the Monday morning.

Sofia: It is quite challenging working with people that you have never met before but at the same time it can be far more intriguing and interesting. In my opinion collaborative work is really important in the field of contemporary and applied arts. So it is not only about enjoying being part of a team but actually being able to embrace it and put your own personal touch.

What do you see as the projects biggest challenges?

Helen: It was a challenge to make a distinct piece of work from the other colleges. We also had the weight of the success of the previous installations to consider.

Sandra: We had to work very fast since it is such a short project so we did not have much time to test our ideas, but we were lucky anyway since we came up with our idea so fast. Another challenge was to stick to the budget and still make the installation look the way we wanted it to look.

Is the outcome something you think you would've created/thought about doing by yourself?

Jai: No, this is not something that I would have thought of making into an interactive exhibition. Prior to this project I had no ideas as I felt it was not possible to plan an exhibition without knowing my groups skill set.

Sofia: Yes, the general idea is really close to my way of thinking. But of course when you are working with other people the shaping of ideas is going in all different directions that you may have never thought yourself. That is what makes collaborations interesting and important after all.

What are your thoughts on 'iNTERACTION' in relation to art works and has this changed throughout the week?

Helen: The first screen is where the text will be entered, then the second displays the story in its entirety. The crucial point is that once the enter button has been pressed on the first screen, the thing has been said and a commitment has been made to join this collective story. The second screen visually vocalizes the narrative in an automated mode, like a type of monster that will grow from the input we’ve anticipated. We wanted to be generous with the level of input the audience could make but there are certain frustrations to the process (such as a limited word count). In this way, the piece is about taking part in a work that is permeable, but at the same time has an element of resistance and inaccess.

Jai: Interactivity within artworks engenders a feeling of belonging and adding to the artwork. There would be no art without interaction, without the audience all pieces of art have essentially failed. Unless the intention was to produce art works that require no stimulus of any sort.

Sofia: The communication with the audience is one of the things that make a work of art strong and successful. Interactivity takes it one step further. From this project and the technological difficulties we had I learned to try and keep it simple.

What do you hope others will get from your project?

Helen: A facility to possibly express their thoughts and to place these outside of themselves.

Jai: I believe the point of the project was for the community to create a piece of art that consist of themselves and their sense of individuality. So they feel a sense of belonging, knowing that without them there is no art work.

Describe the experience so far in 4 words...

Helen: Talking, talking, making, talking

Jai: Stressful, Tiresome, Enjoyable, Random

Sofia: Crash, boom, bang, yay!

Sandra: A never ending story.

Has the project made you consider your college's identity at all...?

Helen: A lot of people have told us that this has been the most eclectic group. I think the disciplines taught at the college can be quite removed from one another and don’t necessarily integrate together. It would be a good idea to take this project as a model for further collaborations organized within CSM and the University of the Arts. There should be more opportunities for students to meet future collaborators in advance of graduating.

Sandra: I agree with what Helen is saying. I think that projects like these are important to bring people from different pathways together and open you up to new ways of working and looking at your work. All disciplines are in one way or the other connected to each other and I think that interdisciplinary work should be more encouraged and even promoted by the different colleges.

But to answer the question I have to say that the identity of CSM as a college seems a little bit of a mystery to me, I do think there is one but I also think that the sense of community could be made stronger. A lot of the communal areas at the college have disappeared, for example the bar.

Re- instating that would be a good first step to increase the sense of community.

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