A Retrospective Look at my Iterative Process

In a previous post on the poster project that we did at the beginning of this unit I discussed conveying meaning in design. I also wrote about semiotics and the significance of the image of the hand which we used in our posters. I think this relates to my final project for this unit because the buildings are the ‘signs’ which are conveying the meaning of our society, the image of a skyscraper can hold many signs, such as advanced technology, innovation, engineering, architecture but also of humans. Because skyscrapers are a product of humans we can relate and identify with them because they reflect the habitat that we live in and are created by our society.

Because skyscrapers are considered amazing structures of human ingenuity (well I consider them that) I felt like using the image of mountains is sort of the opposite of skyscrapers because they are powerful natural structures and symbolise the power of nature, and are also very large structurally. So the two compliment one another but also convey different meanings, one being the creations of people and the other the creations of nature.

Like how we used the image of the hand in the posters to represent the ability to affect change being “in our hands”, this project uses the image of buildings to represent our impact on the earth and how large societies can affect the landscape i.e. the more individuals there are in a society the more advanced a society becomes. I find it similar to how when the space station passes the Earth at night you can see the lights from all the cities, which is a great way to visually see the impact of people.

What I like about the project as I discussed earlier is that the audience doesn’t have to actually do anything to interact with the project. Just them being there is the interaction so it’s more of a conceptual artwork than something which people can have fun interacting with, I think this reflects my own taste in design and art as I’m not really someone who really enjoys having to ‘perform’ as part of the audience (although I find those sort of interactive installations impressive), I prefer interacting in a way which makes me think about something in a way that I haven’t previously. And this is what I have attempted to do with this project.

The problem with this however is I’m not sure if the audience would actually know that they are interacting and if their movement is what determines the height of the buildings, so in a way it’s quite hard to understand the concepts I am trying to put across. I think that if there was an explanation of what the idea is supposed to convey then it would be more understandable, or if I had put an image of the camera in the corner people might see that and be able to make the association. However this sort of defeats the object of the project, as what I wanted to do was have people to formulate a meaning in a short period of time, as they’re walking past, such as Banksy’s works, which I discussed in this post. However I think that the audience could understand the ideas my project is trying to convey just maybe not as efficiently as I would have liked.

Moving Forward

What I like abut the project is that it can be added to more which means that I could carry on the iterative process. In a previous post I discussed how I would like to add houses and maybe cars and do an number of different things to make it more lively, which would better represent a city and maybe make the idea more understandable. I didn’t get around to achieving everything I wanted to do mostly due to my lack of understanding of programming in general, but I think it would benefit me to add more to this project because it will give me some tasks to attempt in processing and I want to carry on practising so I get better at programming, because it’s a lot of fun and very satisfying when problems are resolved.

This project also made me realise the importance of discussing my ideas with other people who are more experienced with programming and it’s something which I like about the computing community in that people are very enthusiastic and passionate about coding and programming. I find this is a very important thing for me to acknowledge because sometimes I am reluctant to ask for help from others when I am stuck because I feel that it’s either cheating or I want to work out problems by myself (because I generally enjoy solving problems and the satisfaction that comes from working them out by myself), but sometimes people’s knowledge of the programming language is helpful because they can point you in the right direction and also suggest more efficient ways to structure the code (such as using object orientated programming).

I would also like to learn maths in my spare time as I think this is the area in programming that I am having trouble in as understanding the mathematical side of it is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, so I feel if I had a better understanding of math in general I would have a better understanding of programming languages in general and it would improve my coding and ability to solve problems.

I find that this project has also made me understand my style a bit more and the type of art and design which I like and how that is reflected in my designs. This project has made me think about the things I want to achieve personally as a designer and an artist not just in this project but in future projects and some good ideas have formulated which I wish to pursue, such as creating a backdrop in processing for my band and projecting it behind us when we play live, using the sound of the drums etc to affect what happens on the screen.

This project has also helped me to understand that sometimes when if I am creating a design for other people (or working towards a brief) I have to negotiate with what others want and not focus as much on what I actually want to do. For example, early on in this project I had a totally different idea and I wanted to make it fit in with the brief when there wasn’t really a way to make it fit to the brief, but I found it hard to not pursue that original idea because I had become attached to it and liked it a lot, but in order to relate to what the brief required a new idea spawned out of the original idea which was totally different, but I wouldn’t have ended up with this project if I hadn’t have thought about the idea which didn’t work originally, and this shows how important the iterative process is and also how beneficial it is to come up with multiple ideas instead of just sticking with the first idea, even it’s a good idea.

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