Sunday, 28 February 2010

Getting to know you

It's a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you'll be taught.
Identifying practitioners as a means to positioning ones own practice alongside other artists can be an enlightening and frustrating experience. This searching method is often practiced in arts education when students are encouraged to think of their work in a wider context. For the average person this task often involves visiting the library and 'flicking' through books before photocopying pages then sticking the copies in to a sketchbook. This system generally continues until the sketchbook is filled, lost or the next project requires a 'fresh' sketchbook. Either way the compiling of source material can be somewhat adhoc and limiting with regards to how many people may see (and comment) on the collected source material.

One possible alternative for assembling the contextual element associated with the sketchbook is through flickr or more specifically flickrs favorites facility. The flickr site contains a wealth of imagery, ranging from famous art works to uncle Jim's stamp collection - there is no high and low division here. By building a visual data bank (that is confined within a virtual storage facility) the material is always accessible on line and is easily available to share with others (class peers, other online folk, tutors etc) . More over by generating a data bank of imagery in this way (and over an extended period of time) one is able to identify emerging themes, subjects and sensibilities that may have gone unnoticed using the physical sketchbook format.

By having a more democratized access to an individuals 'favorite images' one has a deeper insight as to why someone may produce the work they do and what kind of imagery motivates them. More importantly one is able to visually engage with the thinking behind an individuals words in the physical classroom. In most instance you feel like your 'getting to know them'.

Here are some of my Favourties from the slide show facility in flickr. Feel free to offer insights about my selections.
Also read The Machine Mediated Image within New Perspectives: Art & Design in the Digital Age