This entire year could be defined as ‘fast and furious’. From the start we were getting all kinds of briefs, all designed to help us get used to working under pressure and developing our work in a thoughtful and professional way. Though none of the briefs had any connection with each other, we had to think of a way to introduce our work as our own – find our visual language that would speak on our behalf no matter the context. So in this sense, this year was mainly and mostly about experimenting and exploration.
After working on the ‘Biographies’ project this summer (and getting really deep into the research part of it) the start of the year felt like an overwhelming explosion of blogging, workshops and new briefs. It shouldn’t be overwhelming, and yet it was, the main reason being the time restrictions – all our projects were fast-paced and required outcomes not necessarily finished to a high standard. I realised I was struggling because I couldn’t focus as much on the research part as much as I wished I could. However, after I stopped thinking about the briefs themselves and started thinking about why we have so little time to work on them, I soon came to the realisation that it was all about how we develop ideas, and how we can come up with creative decisions in a short space of time, often accompanied by large amounts of excitement, which later on would (potentially) grow into stress.
In all honesty I can’t say that I enjoyed any of the projects as much as I wished I had, at least not until the end of term and the TED Talks project (which I still think we had too little time to work on). The reason for this would be my inability to deeply research and truly understand my subject at hand, so I can accurately and meaningfully reinterpret it visually. It’s easy to tell us to focus on ‘empathy’ but empathy is something much more complex than what our tutors made it sound. Empathy is about a true, deeper understanding, an intrinsic connection which allows you to feel another’s emotions. You can’t truly create that feeling of empathy in your work, if you don’t fully understand what you’re talking about, and I don’t really think it’s possible to do so in the space of a week or two.
A brief I found very confusing at the start and which I am still unsure about was ‘Visual Languages’. Not because I don’t understand it, but because I found out, after a lot of experimentation, that my work depends highly on the project itself. It’s funny because our tutors speak of it as a ’language’ and here I am, a multilingual person, having a really hard time, because I can’t stay true to just one. It made me realise that I can’t use one approach over and over again, because when I do use one, I use it for a reason. I use it because of its meaning and because of the effect it has on the viewer, which is one of the most important aspects of my work.
In this sense, this year has been mainly about exploring that meaning within different visual languages, the meaning within colour, line, proxemics and composition. I am really pleased with all the work I’ve done this year, even though I believe I didn’t (even remotely) reach the full potential of my capabilities. I realise that it is impossible to wait for that perfect brief to come and rescue me, but I do believe I am on the right track with my ideas for next year, all of which would correlate with my dissertation, which I am even more excited about.
Cheers to a year of illuminating progress, and here’s to the exciting mystery of next year!