2.0 Journal Entry 04-20-21
Nearing the end of this project is exciting and disappointing at the same time. I think I have this engrained idea in my head that I could always do more or the work could always mean more. This project has been an exercise in letting that go and really just following the process. It has been less frustrating than other projects I’ve done at CCS because I haven’t really felt “wrong” at any point—and if I did get something wrong it only meant room for growth. All that to say, this process has felt much more fluid and natural and I was able to take a break from it and get re-excited about it again—rather than just burn out.
This next week is actually the final steps… I have a lot of production to do—but I actually kind of love that part as long as everything goes relatively smoothly. I plan to finish pretty much all of the printing this Tuesday (I have one straggler page that will need it’s final layer on Thursday) but then I will be able to bind and scan on Thursday and photograph over the weekend.
I worked through a refreshed microsite design that is really quite simple but incorporated a little bit more contextual information that might further explain some of the thinking to someone who knows nothing about the project. The e-reader is still the primary function.
For the images I take this weekend, I’m hoping to have a little fun with the style, doing in-situation photos on a desk. But as a contrast I want to do in-situation photos in nature to kind of play into the relationship that I am pulling on in the book between women and nature. We will see if they work out, it could be only okay so I might just stick with the desk. We shall see.
I’m kind of sad to be almost done. I really love this kind of work and I’m not sure how to get back into it in my career. I also just really appreciate the class “vibe” and I always feel energized to have conversations and hear about other people’s work—so I will miss that for sure.
2.0 Journal Entry 04-13-21
Okay it's rough... but here is the draft of my thesis statement:
Time is the monetary exchange that happens within cycles. Spending and wasting time. Earning and cherishing time. It is a complicated relationship for women in the workplace—days, hours, and minutes become a method of control and constraint but when returned become a reclamation of slowness and intention. The modern work environment was crafted without regard to women—the traditional perception and function of “work” in the United States is based on the male body and male productivity as a way to feed a capitalist economy.
This led me to the question: How would American work culture operate if it was built to serve women and the cyclical nature of their bodies?
As a response, my process began with redesigning artifacts from the workplace to challenge the understanding of how time functions for women. I then created an imaginary study printed on a risograph and digitized on the internet that held these excavated artifacts—A Future History: Women & the Transformed Experience of Time in the Workplace.
This imagined “Future History” exists as an alternative to women’s current experience women have in the workplace. In an abstract and whimsical way, the study breaks down “the past 75 years” (our next 75 years) and the objects and subsidies attempted to relieve the way women experience time at work.
To speculate on the way this world looks, runs, and connects, I conducted interviews with four women on their current experience of time in the workplace. This led to conversations about fatigue, career frustration, and menstrual cramps. These interviews and the research of other women’s work around speculating futures provided insight to a feminist, abundant web of women and a shared dissatisfaction—but also a shared imagination.
Perhaps the most realistic conclusion I came to out of the whimsical world was the importance of citations that interconnect the research and imaginary observations. I added footnotes throughout the study that connected back to the work that influenced my thinking. In the e-reader version of this study, these citations become an interactive archive of imagined futures for women.
I decided not to start with what I made because I felt like a setup would be helpful but perhaps it's not straightforward enough.
2.0 Journal Entry 04-06-21
This project is interesting because it is hard to encapsulate all of my thoughts into a book. And I get hung up on things like color and type (which are very important, but should not be paralyzing). So I’m jumping that hurdle this week while conducting the rest of my interviews.
I’m a little nervous because of time/amount I need to do. But I feel generally okay after going back to my schedule and shifting things around a bit. My overarching plan is to finish the content design (artifacts, landscapes, etc.) & interviews this week and use the weekend to produce the book and start prepping any files that I want to print on the risograph so I can begin to print those the following week (I’m planning to do a combination of risograph and laser printing on paper & vellum).
I bought paper for the project which is excited. I got a variety of different stuff from Mohawk and hopefully that will be here by the end of the week so I can make some material/format decisions this weekend.
I’m getting excited to finish this up but like WOAH not a lot of time left. I also feel like I am still adjusting a bit to this workflow (aka doing interviews, design, and layout all at once). I get a bit hung up on the idea that nothing is ~done~ for me to check off a list. Or that I’m not doing enough work or that there isn’t enough depth to my work. But the reality of this situation is that it will be done when it’s all done and it will be what it is in this moment—and I’m trying to ease my nerves with that idea. Also I still feel passionate about this research / project and I could see myself wanting to do something more with it post grad.
Anywho—this week will be a big push for me in terms of making & conversations. And next week will hopefully be a lot of production and then the following week documentation. Wow, final stretch!
2.0 Journal Entry 03-30-21
I feel like I have walked down to a hallway and there are 20 doors calling to me—each with a different possible outcome. This shit I find incredibly overwhelming. Talking with people about my project in the last check in I felt I was able to start to articulate where I wanted to take this, I started to see it take a physical form for the first time in this process. But then I was met with a lot of really interesting feedback that poses 20 different outcomes. I recognize this feedback does something other than just “re-route me” and I want to use it as a way to inform some of my decisions to follow but not totally lose sight of what I had in mind.
I also had a practice interview with my sister over the weekend. It was INCREDIBLY helpful to have this conversation (especially with someone I do not feel pressured by). I found some kinks in the delivery of questions and came up with some follow up questions that sparked our conversation to go deeper. I also asked her to “diagram her day” and she drew something so strange and different from what I had expected. And depending on how the other interviews go I want to include this diagram as a map for the abstract landscapes I visualize.
I also spoke with her about the citational aspect that I want to incorporate as creating connective tissue for myself to reference but also for someone to gain something from looking through my work. But I asked her about the anonymity of my interviews feeling kind of the opposite of this hyper citational approach I want to take. She recommended I ask people for pseudonyms as a way for them to add to this fictitious future history. And after reading Ursula Le Guin’s Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction and material from Legacy Russell and Mckenzie Wark—I feel like the fiction of this world can become the space to identify in a different way—while not being directly connected to your real identity.
Like I said earlier, I still feel a bit overwhelmed, but I plan to knock out three or four more interviews this week and the start of next and to continue to create assets for this publication whilst I interview people (allowing the conversations to evolve my work as they happen). I also have more risograph time on Thursday where I will hopefully run some more motion tests (and see how they could connect to a static format).
I also need to start working a little bit faster so that I can make ugly things and get to the good. I feel a little stalled, a combination of my own menstrual cycle, career day, and just good old fashion procrastination. But I think I can spark my brain again and get myself working at a different pace, hopefully.
Notes from 2.5 Continued Explorations
Alex: I think motion pairs well with your idea of cycles, it communicates that well and has a lot of opportunity for communicating time. I like the idea of the speculative book that has different sections with different areas that would communicate change surrounding what women need vs. what they are getting now. I would explore materiality and try to understand how the physical meets the information, does it have different textures to invoke feeling? Since you are doing this “future history” can you play with “future publication” and turn that into a speculative thing as well with how you design and manifest the final thing.
Love the distorted clock/other images. Also, the animation you made with the broken sentences and the circles disappearing around the circle, nice metaphor with a woman’s natural cycle and the moon and time in general. So I think clocks and circles are a really good metaphor throughout and distorting it in different ways. Another thing to consider maybe for metaphors to maybe rebel against is the idea in classic art to use fruit to allude to the anatomy of women. Also, another theme in some art is depicting women as animals almost who are in tune with nature, so maybe that’s another layer to rebel against in your pieces (whether it’s motion or a book). Another format you could use is those booklets we made in Type 2 (those things with tape) and how you could form those out into a circle (that might have made 0 sense, sorry) The print format you use could become a sculptural piece as well - V
Josh: the interesting thing about the Riso prints is that they’re a digital exploration that you’re making tangible which kind of reflects the idea of artifacts/archeology and I wonder if you could push this further? Also motion is really interesting because it’s a time-based medium. Because you’re thinking about making a publication, I wonder how you could re-integrate motion because I do think there’s something really valuable there. Makes me think of flip books. Or maybe as a part of the nav or something you see a frame/page or something → this ALSO makes me think of those moon maps, which looks like an animation where the frames have been exploded out.
I really like the distorted objects and the textures of it! The circular visual metaphor makes me think of looping gifs and I think the looping motion could be a strong way to bring the idea of cyclical metaphor.- JB
Will: I love the idea of a “future history” - its really intriguing. If this is speculative, and designed from the perspective of the future, I wonder if the publication could be digital? Not necessarily a traditional website, but maybe something with C4D (if you’re comfortable witht that?). or some other 3d things? or more motion based? Or maybe an imagined digital space, like a museum in VR or AR? i know these are getting kinda rambly and crazy so sorry about that, but im excited to see where you end up!
I like the juxtaposition of the title “Future Histories.” Looking at it from a distance I like that these are all distortions of different items, physical and non-physical, distortions of time and distortions in different ways. When Josh mentioned flip-book it makes me think of a calendar flipping pages rapidly, like in a movie when it fast-forwards in time and flips through a calendar. I could see different events and marking on the calendar as it flips changing and such. - Sarah
Jigs: I really enjoyed the experiments you did with ASCII art, it sort of reminded me of the textures in your riso print, could be a pathway to bridge b/w physical tangible/digital -- ASCII Art riso print? Maybe?
I don’t know, could be cool. Also, from the Pratt meet-up discussion, you talked about the publication about a “fictional” exhibition that happened housing all the artifacts that you’re making. I think that’s still a pretty solid idea, but I agree about the newspaper, with it being a more accessible medium. There is a “circular” binding method, it looks kinda very complicated -- but I’ll leave it here for your perusal. (I don’t mean to be formal, just wanted to use the word perusal)
I agree with some comments above that motion seems like a powerful medium to work within. You’ve done a great job of telling feminine stories (like from Motion III) and I think you can continue to push that narrative with your thesis topic. Thinking of ‘cyclical’ as a metaphor, methods that loop (like GIFs?) may help encapsulate your message in a nice format. -CH
LW—love bringing in the citational piece!
The notion of a publication is making me think about this book i saw years ago at LACMA (i’ll look later and see if i can find it) that was about a river and the book took the form of the river’s path, so it was this huge/long/accordion fold thing that took up an entire room and they built a table to match the form of the book so it would be displayed at eye level
In Ursula K. Le Guin’s Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (1986), Le Guin posits the first human tool as the basket, not the spear, thereby recasting the first protagonist as a gatherer, not a hunter. Not only did this address the deeply gendered roles of these two parts, it also changed the singular hero to the plural collective, from he to we. “Before the tool that forces energy outward,” she writes, “we made the tool that brings energy home.” Gathering, for Le Guin, is not a masculine, techno-utopian process of disruption or of moving fast and breaking things, but the methodical, deep labor that comes from “looking around, rather than looking ahead,” from gathering rather than hunting.
Collecting, sharing, and creating the Cyberfeminism Index