Post 9-Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

-As discussed in post 8, I was unable to attend the tutorial in which the students collaborated on developing their problem statements. Although I missed out on the benefits of working amongst the rapid fire idea generation that often occurs in tutorials, my ‘at-home’ appropriation of the process was still productive and successful, providing me with a list of ideas to potentially explore.

My first step in the brainstorming process was to clarify my understanding of the three emergent practices available to us in this subject. Despite the lectures, my take on what generative systems were remained relatively narrow and under-developed. I had previously associated the practice with coding, however after looking through the definition sheet provided my definition was revised. Whilst going through the  sheet and lecture on this practice I was immediately reminded of conceptual artist Sol le Witt, who creates a list of instructions which others (gallery workers, apprentices) complete on his behalf. He believes that art is based within the development of the concept and the resulting instructions, rather than the physical making of the work. In the same way, a designer developing a generative system creates a set of guidelines and instructions that encourage participants to engage with their environment in a certain way. This behaviour then generates an outcome, which cannot be controlled. In my understanding, the designer developing a generative system therefore acts almost scientifically: designing an experiment with an hypothesis, method, and a set out results which will be reflected on and discussed. In discovering this analogy, I was reminded that the three practices explored this semester will not be used to directly intervene in the issue, but rather are best utilised in order to facilitate reflection, self-awareness and an empathetic response from the audience.  This new understanding strongly informed my mind mapping of solutions, however before that stage I needed to define what the problem I was solving was.

Following weeks of research there were two topics within Feminism that were of particular interest to me. First was my interest in the popularisation of Feminist sentiment within the media, and second was the disconnect between the media’s discussion of feminist values and the term ‘feminist’. Initially I thought these topics were entirely disconnected from each other however in the past few weeks (see blogpost 7) I started to formulate a conceptual connection between the two: almost observing a cause and effect relationship. In order to articulate this relationship I tried to write an issue statement. I wrote about 5 versions; rewording and editing in order to clarify what I perceive to be a major issue within Feminism. My concern is that feminist values/ terminology are being used and spoken about without providing context of the historical events they were born out of. The terms for younger generations seem vague and undefined, as they represent goals which aren’t as clearly defined as those of the Suffragettes and second wave feminists. This causes confusion which results in younger generations avoiding the terms all together. In order to flesh out my idea which I had yet to convince myself of, I made a list of contributing factors.

These included the following:

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From these factors, I developed questions for myself to answer. For example ‘how can we create a sense of unity? My answer was ‘by increasing clarity and decreasing confusion around feminist terms. This twofold answer developed into a twofold design concept- utilising both data visualisation and elements of generative systems.

The next step in my process was to brainstorm design outcomes that would answer the questions I’d developed prior. There was one in particular that stuck out, and at this stage I thought it was important to run it by a classmate for feedback. This was very helpful as she assisted me in defining the instructions set for participants of the generative system to follow. I developed a flowchart that showed the process the participants would go through, and to hint at the type of outcomes generated from this process. From this I then developed my proposal.

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Overall, I found this process very organic and interesting. Although it was not the same as that conducted in class, the creation of lists and flowcharts allowed me to process and work through my ideas in a way that was logical and productive. I often become overwhelmed and slightly confused in tutorials- as other students are looking into areas of gender equality vastly different to me. This often causes me to question my path of research. By conducting the process alone I was able to indulge myself in my own opinions and ideas, and then consult feedback and assistance when I felt it was required.

Fracturing my hand may have had its small benefits after all.