Monthly Reflections | Spring 2023

January | Monthly Reflection

Spring 2023 allowed me a formal return to Studio since Fall 2021. Since then I have had the opportunity to continue freelancing, while having small engagements and testing Collaboration. In Spring of 2022, I was able to step in as a visitor to Louise St Pierre’s MDes Studio course. Leading into the Summer, I was out of commission with an eye surgery, but this allowed me the time to marinate with my findings and continue to chisel away at what I truly wanted my research to be. 

In Fall of 2022 I was enrolled in a Directed Studies course with Chris Jones. I initially planned to treat the course and the semester as a space for secondary research, including texts and reflections around Collaboration. Most notably, I was able to interview a past professor of mine, Tristan Surtees, one half of the art practice Sans Façon. As Tristan and his Partner Charles Blanc have worked across a variety of media, and with an even larger variety of people, I found they would provide great insight into Collaborative work. What struck my interest in having a conversation with them was a project called “Rough Mix”. As I reflected on this research, my work in this class began shaping my research overall, as opposed to simply supporting it. Through Chris’s support and my research during this class, I was able to refine my inquiry around Collaboration – focusing more on highlighting the ingredients of a Collaborator as opposed to writing a recipe for Collaboration. 

My first step was to revisit what it was about Collaboration that I found interesting or exciting. My practice throughout the past few years has involved working within Vancouver, especially across the burgeoning music scene and across Cultural spaces. In this time, I have had the wonderful opportunity to experience a strong sense of ally-ship and resource-sharing. I was exposed to a large variety of creative people, across many different disciplines, and had the time to build meaningful relationships with them through the work, through shared interests, and through shared communities of practice. During these engagements, I was always inspired by my Peer’s and Collaborator’s processes, experiences and the worlds that they occupy. Whether they were trying or not, the ways that other’s went about the world and their work allowed me to see how many different ways there were to approach problems, to find solutions, to figure it out. I find my creativity lies in this, in people being my process, in the idea that I’m constantly storing inspiration from so many different places. For the fluff: “Leveraging plurality to solve problems”. 

I recognize I still sit in some sense of ambiguity. Outlining and contextualizing my personal attachment to a collaborative way of working was fruitful – I now have a consistent way of speaking to what brought me to researching this space. I am still left with taking on the large and ever morphing clump of work that is Collaboration. However, I hope that my provocations this semester will continue to refine my inquiry, allowing me to focus on a specific aspect of Collaboration. The first of these provocations was for Project One of Studio, lead by Louise St Pierre. I revisited an old concept, working with Lego as a group, but with an interesting spin on the process. I outline my work on that project here

January has been quiet yet exciting. I return to the semester after a second round of eye surgery, so things are slow and blurry. At the same time, this time away was wonderful to slow down and allow time to refocus. My colleague Greyson Kelly and I came up with a way of looking at your mind and thoughts that I still stand by to this day. We go about life pulling seeds of inspiration and planting them in our minds. At times we need to clear the weeds so flowers can bloom. This surgery recovery felt very much like clearing those weeds. 

I was standing at the borders of the work throughout this month. At the tail end, I was able to run a workshop and kickstart my research again. I aim to continue keeping a monthly record and reflection of Collaborative explorations, sharing findings and comparing different methods month to month. I have put together some ideas as to how to approach my next provocation and workshop, and I look forward to running that in February. 

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