"Blind Date" is a social experiment based on the general knowledge that five very different women have about each other and how they are going to expand it.
During two days (Tue. 20/02 and Thur. 22/02) one of the five members of this group will be taken to a location by the group, for a few hours, to a place the group thinks corresponds to her personality/interests. The site has to be in London (zone 1-2). When they're there, the group will take part in an illustrative activity, where they will be asked to draw on the five sketchbooks simultaneously. The restrictions will depend on the environment and the access to resources this environment provides. The goal of this experience is to evaluate how much our understanding of each other can grow based on a location and a restrictive illustrative activity where we will be very close to one another. The sites are very diverse, so are our personalities, interests and styles. That is why we want to understand the deep meaning of community by analysing how one common passion (drawing/illustration) but very different styles can merge to create one unique piece. Then based on the fragments of this piece we will have to produce a single and personal outcome. The way of recording the process will require not only drawing and illustration but also sound, photography and film.
collective // collaborative // cooperative
I'd say the most significant part for me, and the more fun part as well as the in between. The trajects, when we were messing around telling stupid jokes and just learning to know each other.
I'm not sure at this stage about my Unit 7 project or how to incorporate the "Blind Date" experience within it.
Visually I was attracted by the monochromatic drawings and the different moods of the color ones and the black ones; this could be a lead on the development of my Unit 7 project. Also, the merging of the different techniques and styles and how individually they communicate something different than combined could be visually exciting to investigate.
Overall I'd say our project was profound in the way we were able to connect to each other and also I loved that we can see it, thanks to our sketchbooks.
Day 2 – Lily & Alex S.
For this second day of the commune project, we went as planned to the British Library, for Lily's activity. It was the first time I've ever been there; I was impressed by the architecture of the inside of the building because it I found that it did not reflect the outside. We all loved the collection of antique books in the free exhibition, and the central part of the library with all the books, was, I think, the most spectacular thing we saw there.
After vagabonding and realising that we could not enter the proper library without having a membership, we decided to find a place where we could do the drawing activity. We stood between the stage and the sort of mini display on sound and started to draw in our sketchbooks using only words.
We wrote everything that we thought of; it could be sentences, fragments of song lyrics or even jokes we were making to each other. When we all filled two or three double pages of our sketchbooks, we decided to grab a cup of coffee and leave to our next location: IKEA.
The travel was long, but we had so much fun, we talked about everything and laughed it was a real bonding moment. Once at Ikea we decided to get food before going inside the store. We ate so much and again, talked and laughed. We didn't see the time flying and so, after a long lunch, we decide it was time to go inside the store and do the work.
It was Alex's location, so she decided how the drawing activity was supposed to go. She asked we captured the mood of the presentation rooms, by only drawing what we'd see and using the colour palette presented. And so we did.
We filled eight double pages of our sketchbooks, first by following Alex's instructions and then by restricting our drawings to one or two objects to draw.
And we left IKEA with the sun going down and having built, what I think, is a start of a fabulous friendship.
Day 1 – Alex H., Britt & Lydia
It was our first day of the commune; we went, as planned to the Natural History Museum - Dinosaurs. I was so excited and had a great time. We exchanged some fun facts about dinosaurs and some personal or funny stuff. For the activity, I decided to challenge the girls by drawing without looking at the paper and using only black pens of different textures and thickness. Black and white is a style I enjoy and that I try to apply to my artwork. And something that most of them don't use or enjoy as much as I do.
It was fun drawing in all of the sketchbooks at once and seeing the weird looks people would give us, questioning our intentions or just looking over our shoulder. I was impressed by how many people were there; it was full of people on a Tuesday morning, so many kids, and tourist families. I surprisingly found that drawing people without looking at the marks I was making on the paper, was very satisfying and it was a way of not overthinking what I was doing.
During the trajects to one place to another were the moments we shared a lot of our opinions and personal facts. For me, it was also the moment where we were messing with each other and where you could feel the bond getting stronger between each other.
After 30mins of the bus, we arrived at The Battersea Cats and Dogs House. We were all super excited about it and more than ready to pet some dogs and cats, but once we arrived there, we realized that due to the antecedent and other unknown traumatisms these pets might have been forced to endure, we were not allowed to touch them. Britt and all of us were so sad to see some of these animals damaged by what had happened to them, but you could still see that although some of them had suffered, they were still giving you all the love on earth through their eyes. We left the dog section to do our activity with such a big heart; we were overwhelmed by the story of some of these adorable pets. We wanted to adopt all of them and give them a home and love them. But we cannot. And so we seated at a table near the dog shelter and started to draw using the person on your lefts hand. Holding another person's hand to paint something was very complicated, especially when you want to control your movements plus the ones of another's person's hand. Because it was this complex we gave up after one double page, that and because we were hungry!
We left the shelter, and we took the bus to Lydia's location. We ended up not going to the pub we originally planned on going and instead went to the Weatherspoons. It was my first time there, the food was ok, but the interior was visually lovely. We ate and discussed. You could start to feel the tiredness as we displayed our sketchbooks on the table. We were not as excited as before about drawing. I began to illustrate some scary portraits, and it started to feel so uncomfortable finding new things to be inspired by. We finished our double pages for the day, packed our stuff and left. Alex S. was starting to have a migraine, and I was feeling more than exhausted.
Organisation // planning
We had to keep in mind the availability of each other, and because we are a big group, it was complicated to have a lot of time where all free. So instead of having 4h each to spend each on our activities, we decided to have a time that depends on the project planned. For example, we expect to stay longer in IKEA (12-6pm) because of the location and the size and spend less time in the Natural History Museum (10-11:30 am) because we will only see the Dinosaurs section of the museum.
Overall I'm pleased with the communication in the group. We all take part in sharing ideas and opinions, and we all respect those ideas and consider them. It is crucial we do so because our project is mainly base on communication. The information we give is the heart of this project as well as the community.
Personally, I'm still a bit confused on how to use this social experiment to support my Unit 7 project. I'm very interested in the concept of communication and transmission of information. This may be a way to explore a little further in that direction.
What is a leader?
That was the first question they asked us. And so we started to reflect on this notion:
Can we lead with limited knowledge of the people you are supposed to lead? How does that influence the leader? Can a group lead one individual, and so reverse the usual pattern of one leader and multiple followers? How does that affect the leaders and the followers?
Those were the questions we asked ourselves. We decided to collect the limited information we had about the individuals in the group, and based on that data take her in a place we think she will appreciate or that we think corresponds with what we know of her personality and interests.
Overall our strategy and communication, I think, were very efficient. We discussed a lot, and I appreciated the feeling that people listened to my opinions, as well as all our ideas, and that they considered. I have high hopes in our project and group.
I still think we need to make clear what our goal is for this experiment so we can set restrictions on the way of approaching the shared activities we evoked. But overall really constructive conversation.
Time: Tuesday, 20/02 from 10 am to 11:30 am
Location: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5BD
Commune drawing activity: Blind; We are going to draw without seeing what we are doing. The vision is one of the more essential senses for a designer; we want to get rid of it and look at how we can still communicate and create something when none of us can see.
Why: Since we know each other I have, apparently, repetitively expressed my fascination and excitement for dinosaurs and history. I've always been drawn to dinosaurs since I was a kid, I was amazed by how scientists were able to represent, in so much detail, the appearance and lifestyle of so many species and how they evolved. But more amazing the SIZES !!! they are huge, and I can't even imagine how the world was big and full at that prehistorical period.
Time: Tuesday, 20/02 from 12 to 2 pm
Location: The Grove Pub, 279 Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, London SW11 4NE
Commune drawing activity: all our hands tied together; What better way to bind with someone than sharing a meal together? We want to represent how this experience will increase our friendship and understanding of each other, but also if we want it or not, sharing with these people will in a way or another influence/inspire our future work. It will make us grow!
Why: Alex S. suggested it, mainly because of the inside decor of the pub. The color palette and unusual decoration reminded us of Lydia's art aesthetic. She loves colour, mostly bright and warm. Also in her work, we can feel this 80/90s pop vibe that is present in the pub. We plan on sharing a meal there before going to the next location.
Time: Tuesday, 20/02 from 2:30 pm to 4 pm
Location: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, 4 Battersea Park Rd, London SW8 4AA
Commune drawing activity: Using only what we find in the environment; Because the Dogs and Cats close at 4 and our daily project must continue until 6 pm we are going to go the park nearby and use what we can get from our surroundings. We have to go to a more raw/bestial way of creating. After having a very tactile experience at the Dogs and Cats home, we will use this as a focal point to our commune creation.
Why: Dogs, that's one of the first topics I shared with Britt. On our first project in Illustration, she had incorporated her dog in her Field Notes illustration. And I remember talking to her about my dog and that's how we bonded for the first time. Her dog is significant to her, and she jumps on every occasion to show you a picture of it and to talk about it. We wanted her to be happy because she also shared with us her physical condition, so we decided to take her to the Dogs and Cats home to pet some doggos and hope it might make her change her mind and make her feel a bit better.
Time: Thursday, 22/02 from 10 am to 11:30 am
Location: The British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB
Commune drawing activity: Use only words or letters; We consider writing as a way of expression at the same level as drawing. It is a very personal way of creating. But what happens when we decide to create an image using letterforms and words? That is what we are going to discover.
Why: Lily is an excellent listener, she's always there to listen to you and give you some pieces of advice, but we noticed that she did not share with us a lot about her hobbies. We dug a lot in the group until we remembered that she loves books. She does not watch a lot of movies, and we laughed a lot when she told she never saw Mean Girls. So we decided to take her to The British Library. Personally, I've never been there, so I'm very excited about this location. I hope Lily will also have a good time!
Time: Thursday, 22/02 from 12 to 6 pm
Location: IKEA, 6 Glover Dr, London N18 3HF
Commune drawing activity: Fill your both hands of IKEA pencils and use them both; This is more fun and simplistic creative approach. We wanted to use on one of the most well know items at IKEA and see what we can do using these.
Why: Alex is in love with all kind of design. Take her somewhere colourful with unusual objects, and she'll be super happy. We are taking her to Ikea because we remembered her saying how much she was obsessed with this store, I mean we all are. The food and the furniture. She had a lot of stories about how she was an expert at building furniture, even if it wasn't always in the correct way.
SOCIAL: Your date is planned by the rest of the group.
PRACTICAL: Share one meal together. All have to get an empty A4 sketchbook. All meet on Tues. and Thurs.
METHODOLOGY: Take part in one collaborative drawing activity and develop a personal response to it.
The five hands represent the five of us, and the strings of color are what we allow each other to know about us. What we agree on sharing with other people. The central part of the illustration is where all the color strings join and create a pattern, that is what we are going to do with this project:
CREATE WITH WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW ABOUT EACH OTHER
of or shared by every member of a group of people:
- a collective decision/effort
- collective responsibility/leadership
GUERILLA GIRLS COLLECTIVE
" The Guerrilla Girls are feminist activist artists. Over 55 people have been members over the years, some for weeks, some for decades. Our anonymity keeps the focus on the issues, and away from who we might be. We wear gorilla masks in public and use facts, humour and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture. We undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair.
We believe in an intersectional feminism that fights discrimination and supports human rights for all people and all genders. [...]"
" Experimental Skeleton is a not-for-profit group which promotes research and development in the field of visual arts. The group accepts proposals for projects and then actively pursues experimental materials to fulfil the project's requirements. The group will also call for proposals on projects generated within the group on an annual basis."
involving two or more people working together for a special purpose
- The presentation was a collaborative effort by all the children in the class.
BASQUIAT & WARHOL
" [...] During the Warhol-Basquiat collaborations, Warhol would usually be the one to (unsurprisingly) begin the painting. He’d often silkscreen a recognizable logo or product – something so typically him – onto a canvas, which Basquiat would promptly write or paint over, leaving his own mark on the work. On Tuesday, April 17, Warhol mentioned in his diary “[Jean Michael] came up and painted over a painting that I did, and I don’t know if it got better or not”.
[...] Unfortunately, the grand experiment ended not in celebration but with the artists barely speaking. Their relationship became increasingly strained as their partnership wore on and all but ended in September 1985, when “Warhol and Basquiat: Paintings” opened at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in Soho to mostly negative reviews. Warhol’s death in 1987 deeply affected Basquiat and drove him further into the dark world of drugs that ultimately cost him his life. "
willing to help or do what people ask:
I asked them to turn down their music, but they're not being very cooperative.
He went voluntarily and was very cooperative.
MARINA ABRAMOVIC & ULAY
Marina Abramovic and Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) started collaborating as artists and living together in 1976. Their separation was marked by the famous Great Wall Walk performance in China, in 1988. Over and over again, they have made themselves the topic of their performances and actions entitled Relation Work, exploring the limits of physical and psychic endurance and specific gender roles. In 1975, Abramovic and Ulay defined the aspects of this project as follows: “Art Vital – no fixed living-place, permanent movement, direct contact, local relation, self-selection, passing limitations, taking risks, mobile energy, no rehearsal, no predicted end, no repetition.” They blurred the line between art and life, especially considering how often real danger becomes part of their artistic concept. [...]
LORENZO PETRANTONI & SWATCH
Lorenzo Petrantoni explains his design inspirations: “The old and the new come together. Past and present, united in a unique project. This collection of five watches is the offspring of this perfect union. They were designed with decorations, characters and letters and symbols that date back to the 19th century. For me, it has been a fascinating, surprising and original project. The idea was to give life to characters and objects from our past once more, while they are often forgotten in dusty bookshops, and to make them modern and aesthetically beautiful by using them for a young and stylish brand. Truly, there was nothing like a Swatch to welcome them into our times.”