Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Post it

I've been thinking about my journal this summer and Libby's talk prompted me to write about my ideas.

I really related to what Libby said about enjoying the journal module and finding it easy if your interested in your subject. For me I see the journal, and the essay as quite a refreshing break from the practical work and although it's not worth as much as studio work, for me its still a nice way to boost the overall grade.

I wrote so much the last couple of years for the journal. I spent hours designing and putting it together. I didn't do badly by any stretch, but when I got my grades I just thought I could do better. Looking back I feel that my work was just a little bit dry - I tried to do everything by the book and I forgot to make it mean anything. Last year we had to do so many summaries of summaries of summaries I found myself just spouting out fancy words that were just a bit empty and didn't really come from the heart. I kind of despise writing stuff up weeks/months later just to get marks because that's what we're supposed to do.

The idea for my journal struck me when I was working at the degree show in June. I spent all week surrounded by creative stuff and got to look into every nook and cranny of the show and it really got my creative juices flowing. I came home at the end of the day with a big pile of postcards. As I was looking through them it suddenly came to me that postcards are designed to be used. I realised I was going to stick them in a folder somewhere along with all the postcards I buy from galleries I visit, then get them out next year, scan them in and regurgitate them for my CPT. So then I thought why don't I use them for their real purpose? It would make me write things straight away - what's more is that I would write things that really mattered to me and effected my work. I have a notebook full of comments/ scribbles/ thoughts and ideas which is where I record stuff as i'm thinking - this stuff is way more real and important - but I feel it loses that rawness when I transfer it to my cpt, even if its just a few weeks later. So I started writing on my favourite postcards as I went round the show, bought a book of stamps and posted them to myself on my way home. Then when I got them a few days later, I realised they were stamped with the date and place and this added another nice dimension to it. It also meant that I re-visited the work and my ideas again.

Then I went to London and carried on writing on the postcards everywhere I went. Slowly it started to become even more relevant. I started researching my essay and it's become a nice parallel to the digital/ social media in many ways. Hopefully that will become more apparent as time goes on. I found this article on the MMU website about a 3rd year student who did some research into postcards as the first form of 'quick' communication. At the time they were so much less formal than letters they were mainly used by young people, and because of the limited space they showed the earliest evidence of an abbreviated language. The article basically said that postcards were the earliest form of twittering - the concept of posting short, quick messages to your friends. The only thing that's really changed is technology.

So I started designing my own postcards after all the lectures I went to in London and the tuesday lectures at uni, and continuing to post bought postcards from galleries and places I visited, and last week I took them to my PDP to test out my idea and see if it was going anywhere. I don't think I explained my idea very well to start with, but then when I gave Liz my reasons behind it she seemed to like it. In order for this to work as or with my journal, she said it would be really important think about how to display them, and maybe how to get more out of the project. Instead of just writing my review, could I let other people write on them? comment on them? Could I send them to other people? How would I get them back? There's a lot to think about, but I'm quite excited about the possibilities of this as a project and i'm looking forward to seeing where it could go.

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