Unit 2 Assessment

Learning Outcomes and evidence of achieving these

Realise the Project Proposal:

In realising my project proposal I needed to ensure that the general aim was achieved through meeting the objectives I had set out within the project proposal.

My aim was to produce digital artwork that incorporated, in some way, the ideas or the process for producing Islamic geometric patterns. I spent much of Unit1 (a curation of which can be seen on the unit1 assessment page) researching and achieving the objectives that would help lead to fulfilling this goal. Therefore, Unit2 has been much more about the practical implementation of the knowledge gained in Unit1.

Two of the core objectives I had set myself in order to achieve the aim were:

– create a collection of patterns that derive from the methods learnt

– learn how to make use of interactive technology

As I had already spent a significant amount of time dedicated to learning and creating Islamic patterns in Unit1, the beginning of Unit2 was dedicated to exploring and experimenting with electronics in order to fulfil the ‘interactive’ aspect of my final piece. One of my early posts in which I expressed uncertainty about this can be read here: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/beatbearing-and-more-electronics/ However, regardless of my inhibitions, I did go through with a further search of options to implement in the final set-up. This set-up was to be a live feed to capture movement within the exhibition space via a webcam in order to manipulate projection onto a pattern-cut sculpture which would allow the user to decide which parts would be illuminated.

A thorough explanation of how I progressed through the project from research to implementation, and the decisions made in Unit2 that led to the most significant developments in the outcome of the final work can be read in the Unit2 essay: Reflect – the beginning, the middle and almost the end

Preparation of final exhibition:

From around March 2010 to the end of the academic year the number of meetings I attended seemed to have tripled. Being a student Rep I was used to attending meetings with staff and fellow reps from the other pathways of the course. But in organising and collating information for the final show the meetings became much more important both for myself and also in order to obtain information spread to the rest of the students in our cohorts.

Admittedly at times it was slightly difficult to juggle everything with my own work, being part-time as well as the responsibilities of being a student rep. But I actually would not change that at all, as I enjoy being involved in processes of organisation and I would not feel part of the cohort if I was not contributing to decision-making or participation in helping things come along: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/at-a-standstill-and-not-in-istanbul/

To this end I created the floor plans for use in allocating spaces for students to show and in and helping the online students visualise the kind of space that was available to the group: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/dxf-formats-and-floor-plans/

I also provided email updates to the MADA group about general show meetings outside of the cohort and decisions made regarding press-releases and signage.

At a personal level I also started speaking more with students within the Digital Arts group who I did not have as much of an opportunity to communicate with earlier in the course. This included the onliners, and in particular Susan Mortimer. Speaking with Susan led to a very nice and interesting collaboration in a book arts type of production. We were able to combine aspects of our practices to produce special edition catalogues containing images summarising experimentation from my project over the two Units. Images and further details of this can be read here: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/special-edition-catalogues-in-collaboration-with-susan-mortimer/

The proofs that were sent by Susan have had very positive feedback and are a nice touch to the finishing of the project work. It is also proof that you can explore many practices other han your own and engage with others in many different ways. I also believe that this special edition catalogue represents my coming away from the course with more than what I came in with, and much more than I could have imagined I would. I mean this is many different ways – not just physical, practical and theoretical learning, but also in terms of my thinking and approach to practice and research.

It also illustrates the opportunity to meet creatively strong practitioners on a course such as this which has been a highlight of my experience as a student on the MA

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Present a resolved body of creative practice that has evidenced the systematic enhancement of your knowledge and understanding:

The final installation piece is a combination of sculptural and interactive digital practice. The physical work itself illustrates the developments in my learning and application of new knowledge from both Units 1 and 2.

In breaking down the components of the installation there is firstly the sculpture. This is the aluminium sheet I had waterjet cut using the pattern created for use in the final work. The process undertaken to achieve this finished metal is documented within the following post: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/from-pen-to-paper-to-computer-to-metal/ I enjoyed creating this post as I had paid particular attention to keeping a record of each stage in the process. I think the visual elements lend themselves to presenting a narrative of my progress in learning and developing my practice to a higher level. This was a requirement from external factors and the added pressure pushed me to get the pattern files as accurate as I could.

Then there was the plinth. Building of this was a very long process. Admittedly I had set a high goal for my plinth as I wanted it to link with my sculpture visually as well as practically. So in order to ensure it fit the purpose of allowing for all the hardware equipment, high ventilation as well as aesthetic quality I worked on using a laser-cut pattern MDF piece (same pattern as the above sculpture) to form the front panel of the plinth. I spent many days in the 3DResource centre cutting parts to the right sizes, painting, drilling, jigsawing, routing and sanding. It was tiring and time-consuming but necessary. There were many ups and downs and on a particular day it seemed to have affected my mood towards the whole project – which can be read here: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/not-in-the-mood/

However, I did not give up and so general design and construction of the plinth can be read about in the following two posts:-

DIY part 1: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/afternoon-of-real-diy/

DIY part 2: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/diy-day-four/

The plinth was designed to house the hardware for the interactive elements of the installation including the projector, the infra-red web camera and the Mac which plays the processing/OpenCV file.

The following posts indicate achieving use of the above at testing stages to determine feasibility of using them for the final installation:

Details of the Processing and OpenCV file testing: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/detection-with-processing/
Details of the camera testing: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/scary-vampires/
Further checks with the camera: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/opencv-with-external-camera-check/

It was not until the final day of build before the assessment that I was able to bring it all together as the plinth took a long time to finish: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/installation-pt2-and-last-minute-bits-and-pieces/

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Analyse and reflect coherently upon your own practice and others through your presentation at the programmed symposium forming a synthesis of your practice-based research:

I created a short video in which I explained and summarised the aims, objectives and developments of my project as well as the steps I’ve taken towards continuation of my practice and research beyond the MA. I ended up making the video in a narrated documentary style and really enjoyed using iMovie to coordinate visual and audio timing.

The symposium video can be viewed here: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/symposium-presentation/

My aim was to make the video clear, focussed and not too long, but still informative. I think it had the right effect as it seemed to provide links between different aspects of my project which aren’t necessarily clear to others upon initial reading of the blog. This is also the impression I got from the feedback I received.

I asked my fellow peers to view the video from my blog and to email me any feedback they might have. I posted about this process and also commented on my responses to some of the questions raised in the feedback within the following post: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/symposium-video-feedback/

The process of a collective group symposium was beneficial and, as many of us created short videos and posted these on our blogs it allowed access to information about each project in a synthesised and comprehensive way. It was also well-timed in terms of being prior to submission of the Unit2 essay and provided a good base and gathering of important points for the written assessment.

I also provided feedback to fellow students throughout the year and again at the stage of the symposium where I felt I had a relevant point to make. For example upon viewing Susan Mortimer’s video I felt her videos evoked certain connections to physical and emotional experiences in walking on rough textures that might not be apparent to everyone else, but could be interesting to point out. My comment can be viewed on her post here: http://susanmort.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/u2-w26/

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Summarise your overall progress and formulate a constructive plan for continuing Personal and Professional Development:

My progress through the MA has been varied and sometimes unpredictable. The speed in which developments were made was also varied but I found that this made my journey from start to end much more interesting.

I believe I had chosen an appropriate subject for my project and let the developments of my practice and learning be governed by the research, both of which informed each other and therefore helped take each aspect of the project forward.

By selecting Islamic Traditional Patterns as the core subject and choosing to combine this with Digital Art practice enabled continuous motivation as both subjects were areas where intrigue and developement in the art scene was also continuous.

It was through the MA research period in Unit1 that I built up a large network of contacts who were able to provide me with feedback and answer questions related to both practice and theory within Islamic Art.

I am therefore very pleased with the route I ended up taking as it led to my understanding of both Digital and Islamic art to be enhanced and contextualised in relation to my own work and those who I encountered along the way.

The knowledge of theory and context that I gained enabled me to make connections between different questions such as where artists play a part in reflecting the Islamic culture and where the curator’s role may be put in the limelight when presenting art work to the public in order to represent the Islamic culture. I took these ideas forward further by proposing a continued mode of research at PhD level within the TRAIN research centre. I became aware of the aims of this research department whilst on the MA and felt it was relevant to pursuing a study of the Islamic culture as it could be seen in a similar way to other currently researched diasporic communities in Britain and abroad.

Details of the PhD proposal can be read here: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/research-proposal/

In regards to my practice, I have also contemplated using material from the MA project to continue with the sculptural work I have developed. Much of the material I have accumulated has thankfully been prepared to a high standard. I believe a part of me wanted to utilise as much of the resources currently available to me at Camberwell. Coming to the end of the course I have realised that the same facilities would be hard to find all housed within the same institute. It was not always easy to make use of these facilities being a part-time student but I hadn’t actually thought that it might be a lot harder after the MA to access these types of resources.

I am looking forward to making use of the wood cut-outs I received from the waterjet company (pictured here: https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/ohmydays-its-here/) and also using the skills and literature I have picked-up on and collected during the project to continue creating contemporary forms of Islamic patterns.

With the prospect of these new series of art work and with the backing of the MA project, which I feel I have successfully accomplished, I feel confident that I can approach galleries and also submit my work for recognition in competitions or as part of research submissions.

I feel my practice is specialised and one that would appeal to a generally wide enough audience as there is much in generic aesthetics as well as technological utilisation within my work. This is one aspect which in Unit 1 I might not have thought possible. However, Unit2 has allowed for a lot more exposure and with this a lot more doors for future prospects for myself and my work at research level. I also think this confidence is important for placing myself in a position to be taken seriously as a practitioner and a researcher amongst the wider art scene and not just within the Islamic Art scene that I initially might have thought of remaining within.

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