I had a tutorial today which I wanted to avoid. It has been a hard week in the sense that I have read so much that I feel like I can’t process any more. Initially after the Pecha Kucha I felt more focussed but I seem to of added the initial narrowing down of my area of focus to the broader research. It feels so big that I am now inadvertently avoiding researching. I decided to start to make my observations into small stories and print them as a series. I intend to make them quickly and in a naive way rather than design focussed. I want them to reflect the quickness and almost normal way these conversations occurred. I originally wanted to disseminate them around different places throughout Liverpool and Manchester to draw attention to the normalised gender stereotyping.
During my tutorial it was pointed out that I would need to be there to help with the context of the reports and also how that would be necessary to know what impact, if any, they had. It was suggested that these could be used as a conversation prompt, maybe with a group of friends or in schools as a way of talking about bullying because of stereotypes. I was planning to print around 7 of the stories, but I might do a test with people using maybe 4-5 and record the conversations around them. The visuals of the booklets worked but they probably won’t create a big enough impact to help people think twice about the sexism we are involved in everyday.
We spoke of how I can step away from reading so much and involve practical research. I don’t mean to ignore all future reading, still read alongside making, but allow the making to ask questions and direct the reading also. Perhaps the first step could be to take the language and name calling and create a narrative starting from someone being called a name to how that person felt at the time, what they internalise, how it affects them. Experiment with different media, either through typography, illustrative typography or hand drawn type, the images without type, a softer approach to invite people in to the story or the harder approach to make people see the consequences of their words and actions. Is all of this too big for 2D work and does it need to be interactive? Turn the words people say into physical contact, maybe an app or computer game? In addition to media and form, I have to consider how people think, what draws people in, what surprises people, where do people spend time where they can come in contact with the images? How can I engage people in a hard-hitting way without making them turn away and discredit the work as ‘shock value’. How do I disrupt people’s complacency without being accusatory. Perhaps in a way similar to the play Lennon where the actor on the stage is acting out a scene when all of a sudden the drum strikes 3 times and the lights go off ending the play. This would be poignant way to communicate the sudden sadness of the families who have lost someone to suicide due to struggling to accept themselves and have others accept them.
These are all elements I also need to research but test my research and practice too allowing this to inform the next bit of research. I think I need to slow down, keep reading for my background knowledge, but start playing about with words and colours, just snippets at a time. I will still get the images I have designed printed although I may not put them around as I planned to. What I had not thought of was how Clinton addressed how people see authority. How if you designed a glossy magazine that looks high-end, people will pick it up and already regard it as respected and how could I play with that. Use what people take as a given to draw them in and keep their attention, allow them to question what is going on and surprise them.