Scanning (For) Memories

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Scanning (For) Memories is the next stage of my Pontypool project.  I will be setting up and trialling my “Scanning Station” on thursday (25th April 2013) in the Mellor Management Training Incubator between 10 am and 2pm.  I will be asking for the public in the town to bring  photographs, letters, tickets, nick knacks, anything that holds local memories, to stop by and share those memories, and have the item scanned or photographed as a way of capturing information.

I am hoping that I can capture local stories, personal memories and locations that can be used in my “You Are Here”  , (other blog posts here and here) but also to gather together personal effects which can be used in a memory book of the town that I intend to create.

So, if you have any interesting memorabilia of the town, regardless of how old or new, bring it by the Mellor Management Training Incubator on Thursday (25th April) between 10 am and 2pm and share your stories!

You Are Here! Mapping Project Update and Additions!

I have been thinking about space and place throughout this ‘You Are Here’ mapping project (here), how we experience space and place and how we form memories of those places.  I decided to put together my own “Memory Pack” to see if I can create and capture those experiences and memories and get people viewing the place they choose in different ways.  I decided upon a picnic/lunch bag as the carrier for the “Memory Pack” as it is associated with days out, fun, holidays, school trips and fun memories.  Inside that I placed a plastic lunch box filed with all kinds of things….
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The Lunch Bag/Carrier

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“Memory Box” contents

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Close up of “Memory Box” contents

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Close up of “Memory Box” contents

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Close up of “Memory Box” contents

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Close up of “Memory Box” contents

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I included bubble blower as it has fun connotations and memories of being a kid,

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Crayons,

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Pencils

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Balloons

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Post-It-Notes to use with the crayons and pencils to write about your favourite place, draw on etc,

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A bottle to capture tiny treasures or anything that is interesting from your favourite place,

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And a disposable camera to capture the memories on.  (this will be processed and a copy of the prints given to the participants for free)

Memory Pack rules

And I included some rules!

***A £1 deposit is required before you are able to book out the “Memory Pack” which is refundable upon return of the pack.***

***”Memory Pack” is available to book out for periods of half an hour unless otherwise agreed***

***Prints may take up to 1 month to process and distribute***

To take part in this part of my project please pop into the Mellor Management Training Incubator at Stall 21 in Pontypool Market or email us at projectpontypoolincubator@gmail.com, please also visit www.projectpontypool.wordpress.com

You Are Here! Form and data collecting!

I am currently working on a project looking at Pontypool, the map of the area and memories associated with places in and around the local area.  I am asking people about their favourite place/location and memories they have of the place in order to create a new kind of map.  In order to capture the data I am asking people to fill out a simple form (below) or pop in to the space we are currently residing in, (Stall 21 in Pontypool Market, (also known as Mellor Management/The Incubator) to give us your favourite places and share memories and put your mark onto the map!

If you can’t pop in for whatever reason, the form below can be filled in and will be sent directly to myself to add data for you!

Thank you for your time and information!

You can follow the project at http://www.artreviewed.wordpress.com or http://www.projectpontypool.wordpress.com,or  pop and visit us at Stall 21 (Mellor Management/The Incubator) in the market

The project so far…

You Are Here Mas Intervention

Putting Your Mark On The Town (Map)

Don’t forget to check back regularly for updates on how this project is shaping up! 😀

Voyeurism ad Surveillance – How my project became the Fb Project

I shared with you my ideas about this project in this post and after a lot of thought and experimenting with different ideas I now have a concrete project that I am working on.

I spoke in the last post about Voyeurism, Surveillance, Big Brother and social networking, with ideas to investigate what people share on-line and how people disregard the privacy settings, meaning that whatever they share is not only viewable to their friends but also anyone else who happens to stumble upon their page.  I was quite set on this idea but as time has gone on I have now been thinking about the manner in which we share data and how social networking breeds sharing (and over-sharing) of information we might not necessarily have meant to share to everyone.

I have started to look at the methods we go through when sharing information onto social network sites, in specific, Facebook.  I chose Facebook as it is a common denominator among myself and my friends, there are very few people I know who don’t hold an account.  When looking at this I found that a quarter (approx) of Facebook users fall into the 24 – 34 age bracket (in the UK) and the figure for that group stands at 8178000 (taken from SocialBakers website) which in itself is astonishing.  When you think about it, these figures seem to make sense, this is the age group that first had Facebook (launched 9 years ago, wikipedia ) and it is the age group that have embraced new technology and can understand the potential in social networking, whether it is to keep in contact with friends or use as a tool to market yourself or even play games.

My thoughts and research led me to creating a new Facebook to see what information I needed to give and what information you are likely to share when asked.  I took screen shots of each “Information Field”.  I wasn’t totally aware of why I was doing this but at the time it seemed like a good idea.  I have since gone back to them and kept looking at them and wondering what I could do with them, questioning how we share things, why we share things and the means we have to share things.  It struck me that sharing information on-line was quick and easy, something that we have to do when making purchases, visiting websites and has become part of normal life, it seemed people just clicked and shared because it was so easy.  This train of thought led me back to the book idea, what if I challenge how we share information?  Take it back a step and make it a physical action that requires more than just a click of a button.

I am now looking at those screenshots and formulating an idea which turns Facebook into an actual physical book experience where the viewer of the book is asked to fill in the information required (with a pen or by printing out and sticking photos in etc).  Would they be willing to share the information if they had to think about what they were doing and go through physical motions to do so ?  Will it make people more aware of what they share and who can see it?

Hopefully this project will raise questions of personal security on-line and make people think about what is shared and who with and even the way we share information.  I have always been careful about what is shared and who with, I don’t want my info to be shared with 100 of my friend’s friends and then shared with their friends etc.  I also don’t want this project to be a shocking account of what can be viewed on-line, or become a campaign about internet sharing and safety but I do want to question the means of sharing and how and why we share.

Photographs!

I have just taken 2 rolls of film!!!!  One black and white medium format (120mm) film in my Holga and one 35mm colour in my Diana.  This might not be much to most people but to me this is amazing as I don’t really take photos any more, I like to see what I do as ‘Creating Images’.  Hopefully I can develop them tomorrow and at least get contact sheets made so I can see what I have got and if they are any good and share them on here!  These images I have just taken are experiments for my new project about Voyeurism and Surveillance.  Ideally I would love to take the images with a Polaroid camera (like this or this  ) as I think that the photographs they produce, both in quality and feel would fit right in with my project but for the moment I have taken photos with 120mm and 35mm just to see what effects I can get from these before, perhaps, purchasing *another* camera!

Voyeurism and Surveillance

Our new project, Voyeurism and Surveillance, got given to us a short while ago.  I had been toying with the idea of a Big Brother themed idea, because to me Big Brother is the bridge between the both, it has a voyeuristic feel to it – a social experiment where total strangers enter a house and live together whilst every movement is captured on CCTV and broadcast for the general public to ‘enjoy’ as a tv show, whilst covering the surveillance aspect through the house-mates movements and conversations are picked up and monitored as an experiment.

This moved on to more modern ways of voyeurism and surveillance, the internet and social networking.  It is crazy to see what people upload to social networking sites and what you can find out about someone due to what the put on their ‘Profile Page’ –  a page that tells you about them, their date of birth, family members, where they work, the area they live, the music they like and even hobbies, interests, sexual orientation, whatever they want to share, you, as the viewer, can potentially see.

I originally started looking at people’s profiles that had lots of information viewable (not my actual friends, strangers profiles) and thought about using information that I could find out about that person to create a book about them and all this “found” info but am still unsure of this as I don’t really feel that there is much of a message for the viewer of my work to see.  I did think about internet security and how, even with things in place such as ‘Privacy Settings’ , people didn’t seem to are about what they were sharing and wanted to make people more aware of their internet security and to raise the question’s “Why share?” and “Is it necessary to share this much information?” .  I am still thinking along those lines, and still want to make a book but I’m thinking of pushing this whole concept and idea further in terms of audience participation.  Changing people’s thoughts about internet security and information sharing may not come from just seeing a book full of information I have collected from other people’s profiles, it may come from the processes we go through in sharing information over the internet, it’s so quick and easy to type in something and click a button that we rarely think about it any more, but what if we went back to pens and paper to share information and it became a more physical and thought about process?

Discover Pontypool…

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What is my work about?

My work is based upon maps and is about concealing and revealing information.

What were your inspirations?

I went to a talk for the 100 Years symposium in City Campus, Newport, where Mishka Henner showed us his work Dutch Landscapes, and spoke about his work.  This work focused on Google Earth images and showed how the Dutch had tried to conceal things in their landscape using really obvious methods such as Crystalisation, an effect taken from Photoshop, and camouflage.  As the viewer, you could see that this had been so obviously done that it really wasn’t doing much to conceal anything, you knew there was something there but didn’t know what.  It made me want to find these places and visit them to see what was being hidden.  It was this train of thought which led me to thinking about my project.

I also thought about Google Maps and websites such as the visit_________.com sites that many regions now have.  Using such sites means that you can go to an area, sus it out and never have to actually travel there, and you can decide from what you have seen whether to go to the area or not.  I thought that Pontypool would not benefit from such a way of viewing it as there is more to Pontypool than what is on the surface, there is history, architecture, green areas, walks, a folly, a shell grotto and so much more that you wouldn’t really get to experience just by viewing it on a screen.  Pontypool is as much about the experience as it is the area.

What have you done to create your work?

I took a map of Pontypool and looked at several different methods of concealment such as hiding information with a biro, and thought about what information to leave in or take out.  I came to the conclusion that using Photoshop would be good both for effectiveness and for how I wanted the finished piece to look.  I decided to remove all the road names, and any writing that was on any green areas and any landmarks.  I left in the canal, river and any other water.  I also left in Pontypool Bypass.

What were your thoughts about your work?

By choosing to conceal street names and just leave in the Bypass, bringing the viewers’ attention to it, I hoped to highlight that Pontypool’s problems really started with the construction of it.

Maps are usually sources of information, a way to navigate a terrain, a way to decide what to visit and in what order, by taking this information away it becomes up to the person using the map to decide where to go, guess where they are and how to navigate, somewhat similar to a treasure map.

It is also about power someone said to me that having a map gives you power, which is something I thought about, and going back to Mishka’s Dutch Landscapes and then looking further into how things are concealed in maps, Japan and other places use the Clone tool and copy fields to drop over areas they want hidden in Google Earth.  Doesn’t the power then go to the creator of these maps as they have the power to conceal information from the user?  My work revolves around the idea of giving the power back to the map user, by taking away road information the user has to decide where they are, they have the power then to make choices based upon where they think they are, and they can discover, for themselves what Pontypool has to offer, perhaps even discovering things for themselves which they didn’t even know were there.

What do you hope to achieve with your work?

I hope that by creating maps that have little information on them and distributing them to the public, that they will use them to make their own choices regarding navigation of the town, relying upon them to find new places, discover things they haven’t seen before and view Pontypool in a new way.  I hope that my work will ignite curiosity about the area and bring in people from other areas, generating much needed tourism for the area.  Hopefully it will bring people back to Pontypool who will then start spending money, the people will attract new businesses , new businesses means less empty shops, less empty shops means less disrepair and that means that the whole town centre part of the area would be transformed once more into the thriving area it once was.

How is your work going to be presented and why?

I decided to use two formats for presenting my work; one is in the form of a map.  The map will be credit card sized and fold out to A4 size which will make the map easy to carry around and refer to.  The other form for my work will be postcards, a series of 4 different ones which focus on the four different sections of map, these can be collected as a series or can be mailed to friends so that Pontypool can be known in other places and shared with friends and family, hopefully creating further interest and attracting new visitors.  Both of these formats are designed for easy distribution to the public.

There are other ways of presenting my work that can be considered, flyers, posters, banners, vehicle stickers (such as on the side of busses), in reality the ways of showing this work are endless.

The Park

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I took these photos at the same time as I took the ones in the previous post (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/its-all-in-the-detail/ )

I am still fairly undecided on where I want to go with this project and what I want to do with it, I have an idea but don’t think it is the best idea and feel that I could do better and create something that I would be much happier with.  I know that I would like to do something involving/based on the park but I also want to do something involving industry as it is an important factor in how the town came about.  I am currently working on a concept but am uncertain at the moment where it may lead.

Rules of Photography

These rules were published in an article from the BBC website (link at the bottom).  The article was about lomography and how it may have saved the film industry, the “rules” are in relation to the lomo camera but can easily be transferred to any camera, and taken on by any person using or owning a camera regardless of whether you are an amateur or professional.  The rules are a good thing to follow, just go out there and take some photos and don’t worry about what you actually take, part of the fun of having a camera is using it, and being involved, not what the image looks like at the end, it is about taking images and enjoying doing so.

  • 1. Take your camera everywhere you go
  • 2. Use it any time – day and night
  • 3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
  • 4. Try the shot from the hip
  • 5. Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible
  • 6. Don’t think
  • 7. Be fast
  • 8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film…
  • 9. … or afterwards either
  • 10. Don’t worry about any rules

Taken from (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20434270 )

Town Project

I have an idea for my latest brief which is basically working alongside the local council on a regeneration project on my local town, creating artworks which will be placed around the area while much-needed building work is undertaken.  The work can take on different forms but the main form that has been discussed with us is hoardings… Those boards/tarps/plastic covers that hide scaffolding around buildings while they are being done up, however I was keen to learn that the council is open to any ideas that we have with regard to “artwork” which is where I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I have been reluctant to start any work as I was worried that I could only go so far with my idea and then it either be dismissed or I would have to start again, so rather than run the risk I decided to wait and discuss my idea in a 1-2-1 meeting with one of my lecturers.  I had my 1-2-1 on Monday where I was able to discuss my idea and the research I had already done and I was really happy with how it went.  I would like to pursue my idea to create a sculpture and if possible have it made and put in my chosen area.

The research I have done so far involves the area that i would like to see my work displayed and on the area in general.  I decided that I needed to speak with the local community and seek out their opinion in general and get some feedback which i can relate to my project so I created a tick box questionnaire which had spaces for any opinions/thoughts.  We have been quite lucky as a group as the local market have lent us as a class a couple of empty stalls to do with what we please.  My friend needed to gather some ideas and research from the public so we set up a stall offering a free cake to people who gave us info.  this worked quite well and I have a load of questionnaires filled in and ready to sort through.

Today my friend and I went to the town and took some photos of the area, things that could be of interest and general townscape photos.  It was fun looking around the town and seeing it from someone elses eyes.  I have yet to go through the images that were taken and hope to have a look through them this weekend and maybe share some of them in the week!  😀