Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Assignment Brief

Developing Practice Module
This post is from my journal on MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking.

For this project I am experimenting and building on skills based around a larger project (Art & Games) and a smaller project (#trend). This is to create a balance of my time and allow me to jump between different projects depending on availability of resources.

Another reason for the smaller project is to use the time to keep producing work when more research and experimentation is going on during the bigger project which doesn't have an immediate outcome.

1. Art & Games - Pinball

My aim as a visual artist and printmaker is to explore new technologies which enable a participatory experience for the viewer. In past projects, this has been achieved through interactivity and gameplay.

I'm developing a follow on project to the Art of Ping Pong - I have chosen Pinball as this as it fits in so many ways into what I have been researching.

I'm interested in how the two worlds of virtual and physical meet, contrast and intertwine with one another - questioning our current use of technology in order to create alternative methods of design and image making.

Pinball and art
Backglass art
Each Pinball machine is a work of art in itself - generally most are highly illustrative and colourful - bright alluring to the passer by. The sounds and the lights all work alongside the physical and static printed parts to generate this exciting kinetic artwork & game.

Pinball and printmaking
Screen printed playfield and plastic parts. Also note switches under A, B & C. Targets & lights
There are multiple different printing processes evident, Screenprint for the playfield wood and the backlit glass in the headboard. Signage could be enameled or engraved. Thinking about how I can fabricate parts there are great possibilities for 3D printed and laser cut playfield parts such as targets.

Pinball and electronics + programming
The driver boards behind the backglass control the features (switches, coils, LEDs etc)
Although it looks scary and mostly is new to me (and so much seems to be specific to pinball) - I have experience with electronics using the Ardunio platform in previous projects so there are transferable skills.

A machine is a huge matrix of switches, LED's & electronic parts such as solenoids. But taking each part separate it is easier to understand. I will slowly build each section by prototyping, start with the fundamentals of what makes up a pinball machine.


In order to break such an ambitious project into manageable sections my plan is as follows:

Project Plan. The analogy could be made between myself and the ball on the table - bouncing around all these different ideas working everything out... that's the plan anyway.

Finding pinball machines to play
Traveling to play as many different machines as possible
The aim is to learn as much as possible about how different games work & make new contacts - I will document this process.
Separate post on play

Watching documentaries and reading articles/books - lots of information online
Historical context and where it is now
Community & culture - why is Pinball interesting to other people? And why for me?

Testing different platforms for building a pinball machine and/or parts
Building prototypes using the facilities and equipment available to me
Restoring an old machine if I can find one within a practical & realistic budget.

Drawing and planning
Coming up with different ideas for themes and modes
Producing draft artwork that could be developed for a final machine.

Professional Practice.
Thinking ahead slightly to how I can develop this project as part of the Professional Practice Module
Working or visiting Pinball restorers or manufacturers
Restoring old machines, learning about new builds and custom machines.

After this research and experimentation I will be in a place to make a new plan looking forward to build a Pinball Machine.

2. #trend

 The #trend project is a reaction to how I currently use the internet as a research tool. I'm exploring different possible ways of utelising the internet, with the aim to improve my workflow.

The topics for projects are dictated by Trending Topics from Twitter at the time I choose to start a new project. 

Part 1 of this project is to build a box which contains an Arduino & Thermal printer to print the current trending topics at the push of a button.

At the same time as Part 1 for Part 2 I am exploring, as a proof of concept, the very first Trending Topic I have taken forward: #crimewatch by producing a body of work around this topic.

My outcomes for the #trend project:
  • Short projects that produce outcomes very quickly - for artwork and products
  • Build on different printmaking techniques
  • Developing sketching and note making
  • Improve workflow & project development skills
  • Alternative methods of gathering source imagery & image making
  • Improve ways of display work offline & online / selling work & products
Read more about developments in the #trend project here.

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