This week is a continuation from last week’s socially motivated graphic design – addressing the social or political questions relating to our locality. It’s about addressing and improving the way we live and identifying problems in our locality. This week we heard from Hefin Jones who discussed the ways we should go about engaging with the local community and fully immersing ourselves in the localities.
I found his chat really engaging – his work on Cosmic Colliery was so much fun but really highlighted some deep rooted issues the community face. Through participation within the community, rather than being an external person, he was able to engage the community and get them to open up about sensitive issues. He realyl showed how much he needed to involve the local youth club and local shop owners who are the main back bone of the community – it’s not just speaking to random people but really focussing the questioning and interviewing towards specific areas of society.
I found it really interesting how he discussed not just “plonking” yourself down in between communities, hoping to get some good infomation to work with, but rather integrating yourself in the community and moving through the ideas that come up.
Cosmic Colliery was set around the idea of fictional usage of the old colliery, the last coal mine in the UK to shut, to develop it into an underwater astronaut training centre – totally random and totally fictional but he got the whole community on board! Collectively, they explored what it’d bring to the locality, how close they could get to actually achieving this and how it could impact the area. By connecting different parts of the community within this fictional world, he was able to take a step back as it develops and through pulling idfferent parts of the community together, he creates a much stronger community.
He’s not always at the forefront of this project, and I think that’s a huge postive step he’s taken – he’s not just waltzed in and created this set up to film himself speaking to people, he’s actually made a difference within the community by creating a fictional project.
Consider things, don’t try to control them”
By not controlling the outcome, he’s using the information garnered from the community and developing his project around this. It’s about responsiveness and not saying no to an idea because it doesn’t fit within your scope.
You might have an outcome in your own mind but allow it to develop – I’m so guilty of not doing this, I have a tendency to just have an end goal in my mind and power ahead with it.
So we’re looking at our own locality – how can we imagine local practices to help our potential project? I’m loving the idea of something fictional, something that is totally outside our imagination but brought into possibility by considering a major problem we have to deal with. Magical realism – it can be so much fun and so powerful at the same time.
I want to really focus on the negative aspects of our community that I see on a daily basis, that affects not just me but others around me.