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Day 5 (Monday the 5th of March).

We gathered the students to tell them the result of our voting. We started out by announcing the winners and explaining the grounds for our decisions. The winning projects were the following:

Project 1
Project: Birdhouses that look like famous buildings from the area near the construction site (Nørrebro).

Project 2
Project: A giant sun dial that uses one of the fences of the site to cast a shadow on the other fence.

Project 3
Project: A large printed banner with portraits of doves on the site next to Copenhagen’s City Hall.

All projects won because the were very site specific in their own way. But we made it clear that all of the projects needed to be evolved before being executed.

The Start-Up

The three winning groups were now asked to take 30 minutes to talk amongst them selves on how they wanted to pitch their projects to the remaining students. All projects needed a much larger workforce to be completed and for the two projects where real physical work needed to be produced it was very crucial that enough people joined their groups.

Like in a real Start Up project, each group pitched their projects for the remaining students. They told them what they needed done, group 2 needed a new design for their projects because we had rejected their original graphics. This meant that people joining this group would be able to form the creative output more. Surprisingly this was not a very big turn on for most of the students who rather wanted to join the two other groups where their roles would be more predefined. The group pleaded for some more help and ended up being around 15 people.

The distribution of the students ended up like this:

Nørrebro birdhouse group (project/group 1): 30 people
Giant sun dial group (project/group 2): 15 people
Dove Hall of Fame group project/group3): 17 people

In the rest of this blogpost I will describe my learnings from their process – I will focus mainly on group 1 and 2 because these two groups were under the most pressure because they needed to finish, produce and build their entire projects within the week. Group 3 “only” needed to create a printable file.

We let the groups get back to work, as mentioned all projects needed to be refined. Also group 1 + 12 needed to make shopping lists for the material they needed buy to create their projects. In Group 2 some of the newcomers redesigned the graphics for the sun dial.

Day 6 (Tuesday the 6th of March).

My co-teacher and I started started the day separate places – some students from each group were in charge of buying materials and we decided that I would meet up the the students buying paint and brushes and Bue would meet up with the ones buying wood supplies and tools.

Group 2 was acting very homogeneous, they had met up 4 people and were very confident about what colours they needed, the students that had turned up were both some from the original winning group and newcomers. In contrast only one person showed up from Group 1,  no specific plan had been made from the group on what to buy.  It should be mentioned that more people from this group showed up to buy wood supplies with my collegue.

After buying paint and brushes I dropped of the the paint for Group 2 at the site, the students were already ready to get started with their project. I dropped of the rest of the paint a the school and I was picked up by Group 1. They told me that at this point they were still not sure how they wanted to decorate the fence behind the birdhouses, but they had bought wood and screws and were started on building houses. A lot of people from the group were missing.

A mentioned before Group 3 only needed to produce a print ready file so they were not as stressed ad the other two groups, like group 1 everyone was mostly focused on creating their own doves, but several of the newcomers also took responsibility for the project, it seemed though that this was a group that a few of the more lazy student hid in.

Status:

Group 1: The original four group members were struggling to leading the project and the rest of the students in the group were concentrated in working on their own personal part the birdhouses. No real structure, and there was no single person leading the group.

Group 2: Working very much as a group. Very energetic and everyone in the group felt like an important part of the project. Also, one of the students had taken a clear leadership of the practical process (though not creatively) which the rest of the members of the group seemed very happy with.

Group 3: Quite homogeneous, because they only needed to hand in a printable file the group clearly was under less stress than the two other groups, but they were having fun and everyone new what part they needed to play to get the job done.

Day 7-8 (Wednesday the 7th – Thursday the 8th of March)

These days were spent producing so I’ve decided to report about them together.

Group 1: When I arrived at work Wednesday I decided to start my day with Group 1. Only six of the 30 people were present in the morning and the four people leading the group came up with the idea were very stressed and asked for my help. I decided to write to all the members of the group and remind them that it was crucial that they took part in the work because otherwise they might not meet the deadline. More people showed up during the day but there were always people absent. It seemed like people were less engaged with the project as a whole than the participants of Group 2 (and Group 3). It should be mentioned that a few of the newcomers in the group were working extremely hard on their birdhouses and had spent most of their night at the school also, but there was in general never they same group ethic as in the other groups. It seemed like participants were more occupied with building their own birdhouses and focused on their own role,  than how the finished project would end up as a whole. But, as they got closer to their deadline, more people from the group started working much harder and both Wednesday and Thursday night there were many people working late, at times people were very stressed. Despite from this they ended up creating great work and actually, in the end only a few people did not deliver.

Group 2 and 3 worked very efficiently both of these days and did not need much help. It was very clear that the all participants of Group 2 had a strong feeling of ownership of their project.

Day 9 (Friday the 9th of March)

Unfortunately I could not be there for the final day of the projects. I was head of the crafts jury at the Danish Advertising competition Creative Circle awards. But I have received updates from students and my co-teacher Bue.

The last day of production was very efficient. The leaders of Group 1 had told all their participants that the deadline for the finished birdhouses was Friday morning, and two of the group leaders, and a third group member (+ Bue and I) had spent Thursday afternoon and night mounting fake grass to the fence at the site. This meant that everything was ready for the birdhouses to be mounted on the fence.

Group 2 and 3 a no problems meeting the deadline either (Group 3 actually finished their banner the day before).

And interesting thing for me, was to see how they credited their work. I told them that it was completely up to the groups to decide. Surprisingly none of the groups decided to give extra credit to the ones who originally came up with the three ideas, and all participants were credited equally.

Findings

  1. The project (group 2) that offered the largest responsibility and creative ownership had the biggest problems recruiting participants. But the same group had the best group dynamics and ended up being the most homogeneous.
  2. The project (group 1) that offered participants to play a smaller more individual role had the most luck recruiting people, but many of the participants felt less responsible for the project as a whole, and concentrated in their individual task.
  3. The participants of the project that had one leader were less frustrated during the process, than the participants in the project with no single leader.
  4. The original “owners” of the ideas had no problem sharing the honor.
  5. Most of the other students (except one or two people) were willing to take part in the creation of projects that were not their own ideas.

Conclusion

Surpringly, I can not conclude what worked best because end result of both types of processes were extremely good. Frustration can actually be a really good thing, and there is no direct link between quality of the finished work and the group dynamics. I guess it depends on what you focus on. If process is viewed as part of the result – then more responsibility and control of the outcome is really good – but if your focus is on the finished result it is not crucial.

It was very interresting for me to see how people loved the idea of getting a chance to create a personal contribution (Groups 1 + 3). It was clearly easier to recruit people for these projects. Even though they were not co-creating in the same way as Group 2 their project outcome was still social because they were working under the same framework.

 

80 meters of doves

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Through my job as a lecturer, I have fallen upon an interesting opportunity to do a large scale co-creation experiment.

I will be teaching a two-week course in creativity for 67 student, and for this course I have developed a co-creation assignment. A real client (the Metro company) asked me if I could set up a competition between the students to develop ideas for the walls of their construction sites – on key locations in Copenhagen.

Week one: The students will be asked to work in groups of four or five to create ideas for art projects for three of the walls surrounding construction sites.

Tuesday-Thursday: Ideation in small groups.
Friday: The Metro company will choose three winning ideas.

Week Two: The winning teams will pitch their ideas to the remaining groups, as If they were doing a Start-Up project, and the students will the be asked to choose which project they would like to help develop and implement.

Monday-Tuesday: developing the project.
Wednesday-Friday: On location creation and implementation of the ideas.

Outcomes for the experiment:

  • As I am highly interested in the dynamics of Start-Up projects this is a great opportunity to test their mechanics.
  • I am also interested in how well non-winning student will be able to adapt to their new projects, and if they will be able to feel real ownership for them.
  • Winners will have to lead the final three mega groups – I am interested in how this might change their roles in the project, and how the projects might change during week to.
  • All students will be credited for their work, but how is up to the winners.

Documentation: I will create a log over the progress everyday during the period (written + photos).

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Finally… I have just uploaded my project proposal to the blog.
WUHUU! It feels really good to have have more concrete plan for my project!
It’s placed under the link to the Bibliography in the right hand side of the blog, with two earlier drafts posted under it. And If needed there is also a link to a PDF version here and on the page.



<———– LINK TO PDF (updated on the 23rd of January)










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I added a loooot of new books to my Bibliography. Most of them are piling up on my desk… The question is: WHEN will I manage to get through them all?

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Video blog #2 from Katrine Granholm on Vimeo.

Some thoughs about my project …

password: lol-kat

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I had a great Skype chat with Jonathan about my project + project proposal on the 12/12. Jonathan gave me several references for my proposal that I’m currently looking into. I would, however, like to post what I have wrtitten for my proposal so far. Bare in mind that it isn’t at all structured yet and I havn’t put it into context in any way.

Can art be social?

Exploring the boundaries between professional vs. amateur & public vs. exclusive in social media art.

We are living in a time of great change. With media platform becoming increasingly more social, what impact will this new openness have on what we consider to be art and the way it is created?

There is now doubt how huge an impact social media has on our current society, from the election of America’s first black president, to the Arabian Spring. Because of digital media, information and ideas can now flow freely across boarders and continents. To put it simple: Everyone now has a voice.

This is also true in a creative context. The Internet is bulging with unpaid “Makers” that create amazing content, not for money, but to seek praise from their peers. The Internet has changed the old rules of publishing. Everyone with an Internet connection can own a blog, a twitter account or a tumbler, thus blurring the boundaries between professional and amateur.

During my studies, I would like to create a social media art project that potentially evolves professionals and amateurs alike to contribute to a co-created art piece.

Challenges (as menitioned before): Can amateurs create meaningful art? Can co-created art projects be aesthetic? Who owns a co-created art piece result? What is the artist’s role in all of this?

Through my primary research (e.g. the article by Ben Davis) I have come across two different categories of Social Media Art. “Art that uses social media” and “social media art collaboration” The first is really part of what is already known as Generative Art. The artist collects data from social media users and translates it into art. This kind of art can be very illuminating and interesting but it is in my opinion not truly social, since it only uses social platforms to contract data – not as a way for people to interact and co-create.

“Social Media Art Collaboration” is art that is co-created by a community but is often curated by an artist. The weakness of creating art this way is that it is very difficult to quality control contributions. The more freedom given to the contributors – the bigger the risk of receiving bad work. However – it is also possible that freedom will inspire some more creative and surprising result. One should also consider ownership and copyright. I suspect that if a lot of freedom is given, a contributor will have bigger feeling of ownership. I would like to test this theory if I can’t find any data on the subject.

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By reading the article by Ben Davis I became aware of two different types of social media art. And they are quite different from each other.

One is “art that uses social media” (e.g. data from social media users). Example: Don’t tell Ashton. This is really what one might call Generative art and not really that social when you think about it.

The other type is “social media art collaboration“. In this case the artist might actually become more of a curator, who sets a scene and some game rules on an online platform that people collaborate under to create a common art piece. Art collaboration is not new in it self. But social media enables unprofessional to join effort with pros and thus removing the boarders between professionals and amateurs. This is truly social, but one could question the results. It also opens the question about ownership… I will get back to this in a later blog post.

 

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As a part of the process of writing my Project Proposal I have created a page for my Bibliography in my sidebar. It is really nice to get this part of my research organised. I usually bookmark anything relevant I come across on Delicious but even though I use tags I still have some troubles finding everything relevant for my MA (One of the reasons being that I’ve had my Delicious account for over four years and  I have only been using tags as “MA” and “Camberwell” since I started my MA). I hope this Bibliography will make it easier for myself and other readers to gain an overview of the sources I plan on using for my MA project.

It is work in progress so I will be adding to it and updating it during my MA.

 

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Crossroads from Katrine Granholm on Vimeo.

This my first video blog post

password: lol-kat

 

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To get the words flowing (and the the blog up and running), I’ve now decided to post anything that feels relevant to my project. I went to tons of seminars last week (at Eurobest), and took a lot of notes there. But rather than doing one huge post with everything that was good, I find it is probably more rewarding to post cases, theories, and technologies in short separate posts on the blog. This will hopefully make them easier for me to find later on in my process, and it saves me from writing long summaries of whole seminars. Also, it give me possibility to reflect on them isolated and put them into a new context (my own project).  I’m also reading the pile books that we’ve been assigned so soon I’ll also be reflecting over them in the same way.

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