Exploration 03: Process Research

By nuff
July 26, 2023
3 min read

or “digging through archives of other people's work to find work that makes you want to do work.”

Curiosity Syllabus

In our last EM class, we spent some time working on a curiosity syllabus. I can't really explain what that means, so here's the activity prompt, verbatim.

Make a map of everything that you want to ensure you want to explore or work with in the next 3 years. 

Try to include types of making (solo, collaborative, experimental, etc.); forms or media (3D printing, game design, python, etc.); content/subject matter you want to address or investigate. Brainstorm vigorously, write as much as you can. Every word does not need to be equally substantive!

Mine looks like this:

At some point, I'll turn this into a parseable graphic—right now I'm about 8,300 assignments behind schedule, so that'll have to wait. For now, I'll say this "map" represents all the things I've been making, attempting to make, or interested in learning for the past 5 or so years. Some interesting observations:

  • The commerce + culture framework has been on my mind since around 2012—looking at the syllabus, it's interesting how many things could work in either or both contexts.
  • The numbers are years from now, seems like in the immediate future, I want to develop skills for interactive installations, gain a deeper understanding of design in the carbon offset space, write more and maybe pick up some branding work.
  • Eventually, it would be cool to build or be part of a studio that could house client work, art projects and releasing out own products.

Making this Manageable

Our next step is to take this map and turn it into something we can...drive. Until recently, I've mostly done this with Coda (e.g. fragrance) but they've made some changes I'm not loving. Notion seems the obvious replacement but I'm going to give this a proper think. My main criteria:

  • Something I'll actually use (sorry, graveyard of bookmarked tabs)
  • Something I can navigate and/or search
  • Ideally, cloudy (privacy be damned, apparently)
  • Bonus points for fun

It may even be that I take this opportunity to become a fully-fledged Arena Person™.

After listing everything out on Notion, it feels like I need something a bit less linear to let these different points of interest overlap and connect.

The Part Where I Can't Find an Artist to Reference on Rhizome.

Our next mission involves trawling through the Rhizome artist profiles, finding one that “really resonates with you” and writing a bit about their work, why it speaks to us and what questions we might ask them if we could.

Paul Slocum: https://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/sep/27/artist-profile-paul-slocum/

OR Tabor Robak: https://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/aug/08/artist-profile-tabor-robak/

(Interestingly, both choices are from 2011. I’m not sure anything particularly resonated with me, or that these profiles present a particularly accessible way to fall in love with an artist’s work.)


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