I spent a ridiculous amount of time implementing the idea of drawing architectural plans of Ableton Live, eventually losing track of why I was doing it in the first place. Hence the completely pointless level of detail to which I brought my drawings:
(obviously, this is just the wireframe view from Illustrator, the drawing did have colours and proper strokes)
When, after a long time, I finished these drawings, I realised that they were not very useful for the presentation I had in mind. They had helped me explore the concepts I was working on, but not really more than the preliminary sketches, and the way they were organised they wouldn’t help a lot with communicating these concepts.
At this point I decided to re-focus on what I was trying to achieve, and went on to complete the presentation.
The rest of the work is rather banal from the point of view of method: a bunch of sketches and diagrams accompanied by some writing that was intended to help me both organise the project and explain it. I consider the project closed now but I might review it at some point, since I’m not completely satisfied by the final layout of the presentation material.
I think it is also useful to review the timeline of this project, since its evolution has been kind of unconventional and weird.
I assume that the logical sequence would be brief – drawings – research – development – presentation, maybe having development and research overlap. In retrospect, I think what I did was mainly to start in different directions without having an overall plan of what I was doing, and to always only notice I was on a tangent when I had already wasted a lot of time on it. All this despite the developing phase having begun so much earlier than everything else and actually really being over already at the beginning of the project.
First, I began working on this project before I even knew I was going to do this MA. It originated from my private interest for electronic music and I developed it over a period of a few months. My engagement in it was quite irregular, since I didn’t have any type of external pressure or any looming deadlines. When the brief for Spaces of Production was presented, I thought that I could adapt my work and present it as a response to this project, but I was working on other stuff so it was only months later that I began talking to my tutors about this – as a part-time student, I had the privilege of deciding when I wanted to work on what. After agreeing with the tutors that I could do this, I set out to do some research, thinking that it would be good to be able to collocate my work in relation to existing practices and give it some theoretic background. I hadn’t thought that there is not so much academic literature about modern (?) electronic music, so I ended up learning a lot about Cage and Stockhausen, graphic scores from the 1960s and the early use of computers for music, only to realise, as I have mentioned in a previous post, that all this research was relatively off-topic, and although pleasant and interesting for me, quite irrelevant to the work I was doing (in fact, none of it crops up in the final presentation). After that, I finally began working on the drawings that the brief required me to do, and the rest is briefly summarised at the beginning of this post.
In retrospect, I could have definitely managed my time better. When I started working on fulfilling the brief, the outcome of the project was basically ready and apart from a few minor adjustments to it, my idea was to work backwards to demonstrate how my work was an appropriate response to the brief. I also saw it as a useful opportunity to give a presentable structure to a work I had spent lots of energy on and that had only had some use for myself and my own enjoyment. If breaking down big goals into small intermediate steps is a vital strategy for achieving what we want, it feels a bit embarassing to me that I wasn’t able to do this efficiently on a project in which I had already achieved the final goal before I even started working on it. It was maybe in some way an useful experience to do things the wrong way around, but if I had devised this timeline before doing the project instead of now, I might have finished it much earlier and without losing myself into tangents so much.
On the other hand, I had decided around the beginning of the project that I wanted to have a relatively image-heavy presentation, since I really want to concentrate on illustration more than interface design or whatever you could call my work on SoP. From this point of view, it was a conscious choice to give so much space to one of my tangents. Even so, the illustration work only made sense in as much as it was useful for the presentation, and I feel like the amount of work I put into it was not commensurable to its utility.