I struggled a lot around this period.
The only real hard data I was getting came from Aboriginal rights research, not really from anything I had read on Aboriginal Dreaming. I was getting Aboriginal star charts that correlated with physical roads and highways, and Astrology diagrams, and then lots of Aboriginal artwork, however nothing that really generated raw data. The essence of dreamtime is that it was taught verbally, not written down, and was more so ‘felt’ and injected into painting.
So for a long while I was frozen up between doing something more straight foward which had the information to back it, or kind of blindly swim around this great pool of speculative information. Therefore my original proposals were somewhat confused in themslves.
1. Data visualisation that explores the way media in essence creates a trajectory for growth in young Aboriginal children, simply by influence and oversaturation of ideas alone. It would be a collection of portraits of children taken at the local Newtown public. Each child photographed would be asked to draw on paper what they would like to be in the future, on top of a generic human figure outline. This drawing would then be superimposed over the original photo, as if they’d drawn on themselves. The last transparent layer would be real headlines published by Australian news sources on the topic of Aboriginal youth,. revealing how similar the headlines/assumptions are, in direct contrast to the wild dreams and wishes these kids originally had.
2. Generative Design fixated on a similar concept of Aboriginal children being stunted in growth by discriminatory media agendas. An online children’s Dreamtime book would be constructed— visually being illustrated in a way that was joyful and upbeat, with the body copy being entirely generated by headlines, tweets and facebook comments, again placing Aboriginal children in boxes. The text would always refresh, drawing on a databank of key words. Therefore the book would always change, yet never evolve, unless popular opinion did.
3. Generative Design that constructs a twitter bot for a fake news agency. The twitter would be established as genuinely as possibly, using every graphic means to fake authenticity. The tweets would be randomly generated again, pulling words and phrases from other tweets of opinion on Aboriginal issues. The bot would evolve and grow an audience, and the audience would comment and interact back at the bot, essentially creating an infinite loop of intolerance, where the people who write inflammatory comments fuel the twitter bot which regurgitates their content back, and validates them one more. Then we the public sit back and see a working metaphor for the problem in our media.
4. Data Visualization of a living pot plant, representing youth and growth, slowly fed by an IV drip system. You can set these IV’s to administer doses at certain times. My proposal would be to intercept this feeding timer, and force it to feed the plant only when a tweet or headline was posted online, containing certain predefined key words or phrases. When the headline was positive and uplifting, the IV would administer nitrogen rich water. When the headline was negative, discriminatory, or touched an issue that was deemed over represented, the IV would administer a poisonous solution. I could physically make one of these, as my father is a vet, and they’re simple to operate. Writing a program to administer the doses would be hard, however it would be nice to physically display a representation of media interference with young minds maturation.
5. Lastly, after talking with Tom, he encouraged me to follow what I was passionate about, which was misunderstanding of amazing Aboriginal religious systems, and begun trying to find a way to form a system to reveal these passions.
The main problem is that understanding exists between two ‘walls’. Aboriginal Elders who have lived and still live the Dreaming, yet rarely wish to talk on the experiences (from fear of misrepresentation and misunderstanding), and on the other side, are scholars who interpret this information with somewhat of a synthetic, metallic form of analysis. My proposal is then to form a generative system, based around the already generative nature of Aboriginal artwork, that allows everyday Australians the chance to sit in that space between experience, and interpretation. A space which allows for some sort of spiritual interpretation of the land Aborigines preserved for 120,000 years, with assistance (or roadmap) generated from opposite, scholarly study side of The Dreaming.
My response to discovering this place, is by experiencing it. To form this design system, I’m going to spend 2 nights alone in traditional Aboriginal land. I’ll do this alone, with a sleeping bag, billy, knife, flint and some basic provisions. The decisions I make in designing the process will directly affect the journey. I’ll document this journey, and form it in a way so that it’s a process others can experience.
I’m really passionate about this. I’ve talked about it a great deal with my sister, and with friends from work (in NITV). My biggest concern was going about this process in a manner that would not be offensive or seem to be bastardising of traditional Aboriginal culture. I’m taking great care in forming something that provides insight and forms understanding, opposed to insensitive perversion.