Intermedia Studio Critique I

Tuesday, 09.07.16

Introductory Pecha Kucha

Title: Memory, “Insight through words and visions”

Creative Process

This project began on 08.30.16. The assignment was to create a Pecha Kucha presentation. This is a presentation of twenty slides, each shown for twenty seconds with an accompanying dialogue. The presentation was supposed to introduce us and explain out artistic paradigm.

This was problematic since my artistic paradigm is not yet well defined. I decided that the assignment really just wanted to know who I am, how my mind works and how that relates to art. My brain is filled up with words. Words Words Words. Many of them are mine but an even greater majority come from the works of others. I decided to use those words to tell the story of my life.

I began by outlining my life story. I quickly realized that I did not want to explain the exact memories. I don’t see the point in that. The specific events of my life don’t matter nearly as much as my response to them. Further, what point would there be in using other peoples words to describe events that I could describe perfectly well myself? Using other people’s words allowed me to borrow their skill. It would not be worth doing if it did not express something better than I could express it myself. My outline became a chronology of significant emotional processes.

Once I had a chronology, it was quite easy to determine which works expressed my feelings. Most of the text leapt into my mind quickly. There were a few that required some brainstorming, but most were clear. I expected this to be more difficult because I wanted to be sure that the quotes were not only true to the memories I wanted to express, but also to the context of the literature. It would be easy to simply go through books and string sentences together, but that would simply be a manipulation of the authors work, not a tribute to it. These are great authors. Their work deserved to be used well. I think that it was easy because this activity is such a true representation of how I think. These works live in my mind and present their metaphors as context for my own thoughts. I feel that this is the primary success of the project. It does introduce me.

The process of locating the exact quotes I wished to use and documenting all of the texts was significantly longer. I had to find all of the literature. Most of my books are E-books since I did not want to bring much with me when I moved. I had to call my mother and figure out page numbers and which editions of books I had. Fortunately, Amazon gave me access to many of the books ISBNs, which allowed me to cite them. It would not have been right to produce this kind of work without ensuring everything was cited. I am aware that my citations are imperfect, but they exist and that is what matters. It was also difficult to select quotes that would flow together and remain within the twenty second time limit. I spent approximately ten hours on this process.

I was inspired by activities from my other classes and discussions with my peers. I wanted to push myself to do something new. As a rule, I am not inclined to do abstract art. But, abstract art seemed to be the best possible representation of an emotional memory. I wanted to try and access the emotional context of the memories and express them symbolically, without planning what I was going to do. That is hard for me. I like to plan my work. I thought it was important to try. I decided to paint five images  to represent the emotional stages of the narrative. Then I intended to fill the remaining slides with images that I found through open source image websites.


I painted the first five images on postcard sized pieces of watercolor paper. Since I send my mother postcards on an almost daily basis, I thought it would be a good way to expand the personal connection to the work. I started off working in water color, but that just annoyed me. I could work in the abstract, but I could not capture the intensity of color or definition of shape that I felt the activity needed. I also found that watercolors (which I hate) were distracting. I was too caught up in my annoyance to properly address the task. I switched to acrylics with much more success. The first five images accomplished my goal. I was pleased.

I was less pleased with the remaining images. The presentation lacked aesthetic appeal. I simply could not bring myself to present it while it was so ugly. I decided to go ahead and paint all of the slides. This was extremely time consuming since I am far far far too much of a perfectionist to work that quickly. Ultimately, I worked for over 12 hours to create all twenty slides. I was up until 2:30 in the morning. I was so exhausted the next day I was afraid it might influence my ability to present all my work.

The production of twenty paintings had benefits. It made me work harder. I had to really push myself to let each one be representative of an idea. I would estimate that I was successful in maintaining symbolic representations in about 15 out of 20 cards. The remaining 5 either failed to capture what I wanted, or were simply not related. I hope that when I have time, I can redo some of those cards. I also found that I really did enjoy the abstract work. It was relaxing. It made me less focused on messing up and more focused on my ideas. Painting ideas instead of silly things like dinosaurs and space ships is a compelling process.

After I finished all of the images. I photographed them and edited them with GIMP software. Gimp is hard to use and I am not very good at it. The photographs could be redone to get a better quality image.

The presentation itself was simple. There was no formatting at all. I simply inserted each image into a slide and set it to advance every twenty seconds. This completed the production of the presentation.