Reflective Writing on Collaboration

by FAN Gu

For the curating project ‘Home and Away’, all our group members were cooperative and committed. Following a specified plan, we frequently met for discussion, brainstorming, and problem-solving and conducted individual research. Our idea was to express the personal emotions towards home in a foreign and cosmopolitan environment of London, altered yet remaining vivid. To visualize it we had gone through the use of objects, soil, and concrete, and eventually, a speaker playing overlapped self-recorded sounds accompanied by draped tapestries. I had participated in all the stages and contributed to them in ideation, individual research, and especially sketch-making and material writing.

As the starting point of the project, my own photos, as the basis of the curating project, with interpretation, combined with the others to form our initial idea of unfamiliarity and distance. In the group brainstorming, I referred to Maugham’s 1919 novel <The Moon and Sixpence>, a classic narrative of a man, portrayed based on Paul Gauguin, escaping away from his home and former life.

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Left: Figure 1- a wetland park near my apartment back home

Right: Figure 2 - Hyde Park

Following our assumption of using sounds, I made a special point of my 2009-manufactured iPod that I carried everywhere, which would play dual roles of both a long-time personal possession and an audio player.

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Figure 3: my iPod for 9 years

In my own research, I wanted to emphasize the intimacy, especially from home, brought by hearing and thus asked my parents to take a walk in a wetland park near our apartment, where I often relaxed alone, and randomly recorded the surrounding. The audio (click to hear it on Youtube; or hear it in the window beside the text) turned out satisfactory, containing chirps, wind blowing over the reeds and cars passing by.

During the fabric searching I had visited several fabric stores, targeting at silky satins and embroideries, but only to find that the prices were unaffordable. As a compromise, I chose two brocade silky satins online, one with butterfly embroidery and another alternative one with bamboo and plum blossom.

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Figure 4: butterfly silky satin

Among the remaining works, I was in charge of a rendering of the vitrine, an overall description, and the ideation part during the presentation, plus my individual introduction of sound and fabric.

I first hand-drew the basic frame and positions and then filled them with patterns via photoshop. The outcome was highly praised by my fellow members.

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Figure 5: progressive sketches of the virtrine rendering

For the attached text I and another member, Zara, collected everyone’s draft and selected the most outstanding parts to construct a write-up for the general viewers.

To introduce our ideation and developing process I attempted to state clearly each stage, the association in between and how we addressed the issues we encountered while avoiding overwriting. I went through all our notes from group meetings, talked with other members to cover everything that was worth mentioning and eventually gave a detailed yet brief explanation of the whole journey.

We also formulated the timing for each section to ensure that the presentation would properly work. To achieve that I had re-written my parts several times and practiced a lot. I also attended, as we did, all the rehearsals and, before our turn, helped modify the outcome based on other groups’ performance and feedback from the tutors.

Information

Task Requirement:

300-500 words, with images. The writing should identify your own role and contribution to the unit 1 curating project 'Homa and Away'.

Audio recorded for the project