V&A Research Methodology


Researching our chosen artifact (Eagle, by artist Wade Shaw) has been extremely exciting and we uncovered quite a lot of information, not necessarily about the artist who produced our chosen artifact but about a story around the artifact. Which gave us quite an insight to the early days of computer arts. The motivations of the artists, the problems they were facing, and the aspects of the field that excited them.

My research along with our seminar classes and guest speakers, have brought me to look specifically at, Art In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Copy by Jussri Paprika, and the catalogue for the exhibition crafting narratives, by Onkar Kular.

The seminar texts, brought into perspective the idea of an original piece of work, which related well with our V&A project as it’s about an archive for Digital Art. We want to include this in our final outcome, what is it about a digital archive that’s “archievable”?

Along with this Cecilie Gravesen talk about her work (spirit in artifacts) was quite inspiring, and had interesting parallels with Walter Benjamin’s idea of Aura. This idea of the artifact as something that has a soul and its connection with mass production really shaped how I have gone about thinking about the project.

 I have also been looking quite closely at the writings of Jasia Reichardt, in particular around the exhibition she curated called Cybernetic Serendipity. As one of the first exhibitions in computer arts it had a huge influence on the early days of the field. As our chosen artifact is a piece of work produced through generative art I have been looking at other generative artists of the time, many of them are members of the Computer Arts Society.

 From the research traditions that we have been introduced to I think my research methods have taken both a quantum science perspective, and a social science perspective.

I have been trying to look at the visual data from the work of generative artist in the 60’s and 70’s as a whole to identify parallels between the different works and get a better understanding of the visual language that resulted as an output of the generative software. I’ve also been looking at breaking down this visual information and then rearranging in order to create a sort of visual typology, the aim of this is to better understand the structure of the work.

This is the research that I am conducting at the moment; I am trying to categorize the output from many generative art projects in a visual audit. Along with this I am trying to analyze frame by frame the animated film Symmetric by Wade Shaw and Stan Vandeerbeek. This research is being done so that our out put to the V&A project may be better informed.

Along with this we have been conducting surveys, which get people to interact with the drums that we are using in our final output. This being done in order to understand how people would play these drums and intern how we should design graphics which will show up on a screen when the drums are played.

We have gotten people to interact with the drums alone as an object and also together with a computer screen with software that responds to sound. My understanding is that these experiments would fall under a social science perspective.

Overall I’ve found the research form this project to be quite exciting. And the deeper I look into the various topics of study around this brief (narratives/museum curation/ history of computer arts/ generative art & artists) the more there is to find.