The Self & Idea Assignment

Over the last week you have been asked to create research about the self (see below). Using what you have learned, create an art work that communicates an aspect that you discovered.

Assignment #1

Daily Practice/Idea Mining

According to the UNESCO definition, research is “any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications.” (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms, 2008)

You have just used text, chance, memory, visualization, brainstorming, discussion and list-making as ways to learn or reveal or ‘notice’ the self. Some ways may work better than others to jump-start your thinking. You can try also use other methods for getting ideas such as games, measuring, journaling, interviewing, reading, watching a movie, or even walking. One you complete the activity you’ll need to look closely and notice what is interesting. You may need to organize your findings or come up with a hierarchy to understand the relationships between the info that you are discovering. You will also need to consider how best to go deeper with the ideas or how to learn more after you identified something. You may need to come up with your own exercises to take you further. One way to do this is to look back on moments were you were pleased with a thought or idea and think about the path that brought you there.

Drawing on the tools you learned to research and the information you discovered, create a structure for learning and sharing something about yourself. The structure should be sequential and should include multiple ways to discover more and develop your idea/s. First pick one specific thing to focus on. You might concentrate on a mundane act or daily ritual; or could delve into your memory or history or dreams. You might work on issues of your body or mind or personal experience. It can be serious, political, or humorous, but it all needs to focus on the self. Stay away from generalizations or sweeping statements. This project will be in the details. Look back at what you wrote and harvest what is most unique, detailed and interesting.

Next come up with a daily activity that you will commit to that will reveal or allow you to understand your subject from different perspectives. Your daily activity can be different each day or it can be sequential. Draw a chart or calendar that explains what activity you will do each day (Thursday – Sunday). Use different materials and methods. Work at least 30 minutes to 1 hour each day. Document what you do. These activities must relate to your idea and will be different for each person. At the finish of each day, stop and think about the big picture. Maybe even map it out. Talk to others about what you are doing. Are you getting anywhere? Have you created ‘new knowledge’? If not try something new, interview someone and record it. Do detailed drawings of how things work or create models out of clay. Observe yourself all day. Go to a place be quiet and write the first things that some to your head. Whatever you do, do not do busy work. Do work that matters.

You will work with this idea for the next two weeks so choose something you care about and produce more information than you believe that you will need.

On Monday bring all your documentation as well as any drawings, recordings, readings, sculptures, maps, images, texts, tracings, photocopies, zines, etc. Bring also your chart of your daily actions. This should be in a clean and understandable format.

Begin to think about ways that this information will become a finished artwork. You will evaluate and organize what you learned. On Monday you will be working on a proposal for a project based on what you have learned. We will meet in small groups and crit your ideas. You are encouraged to take risks and to make sure that whatever medium you use fits and supports your idea.




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