Three installations were installed on the 6th, 7th, and 8th floors. Each installation was released with a typographic zine highlighting the perspectives of a sophomore, junior and senior (respectively) in graphic design on the RISD GD community. in side out or out side in.
Sunday 五月一日 Sophomores (6th Floor)Monday 五月二日 Juniors (7th Floor)Tuesday 五月三日 Seniors (8th Floor)
I feel physically and mentally exhausted. These installations were fun to make, but also mentally challenging and physically taxing. At first I was disappointed by the lack of interaction people were having with the installations and how people weren’t taking the zines (despite it saying please take 1). But with the progression of time and as the successive installations were made and zines released, I assume people understood they are (in fact) allowed to take one. I observed a few missing from the installation on the 6th floor today. The general reaction I’ve observed is glazed interest and relative excitement. I suppose it could be people’s natural inclination to be reserved or the fact that we are not easily impressed (or people are exhausted of my tape installations, I don’t think that is not a possibility, especially on the 6th floor). People are forced to at least notice it, and I think some people do pause to at least read the zine. If they don’t take one, I suppose that could be out of respect (or the assumption that the installation is for a class project and the ones available to be taken are for my peers in class). I digress.
It was fun to observe and be in different environments when making the installations. I was sure to not have my earphones in and to be conscious to my environment and try to engage with anyone who was interested in the installation or spoke with me. I enjoyed the process. Had some good conversations, though not all exclusively about community per say but inherently the conversation itself, as a form, is.
The content of the zines was made from interviews I had with students in the graphic design department about the community at RISD and in RISD GD. I spoke with JP, JS, and HS. It was encouraging to hear different perspectives and opinions; some heavier than others. The zines and installations themselves opened up discourse and conversation with friends and peers in the studios who noticed my installations.
Some people have been seeing them from the beginning and others made the connection today; “oh are you the one who has been doing all the tape installations?” “did you do chalk installation on Benefit st. too?” I joked with Kevin Cadena when he told me he’s been “seeing my mark around campus” that I was marking my territory like dogs do with their piss. But in reality, this isn’t about me. Not yet. Not, sure.
A lot has happened since my last post on this blog and I am struggling to keep up with it and the rest of the work of the final weeks of the semester.
I had the Works in Progress event at the RISD Museum which was really fun and engaging. I learned a lot. It pretty much became a glorified user testing session about memo. So many people asked if it was an actual app and when it would be available. Of the first two couples who spoke with me, the first is an app developer and the second is an engineer. They had some really encouraging and insightful critique and feedback for my project. Most patrons told me that it was a unique idea and that they want it realized. I really enjoyed speaking to people about my work and engaging with the museum patrons. ひらまつ先生 even stopped by to see her daughter perform in the orchestra upstairs. (I was not ready to explain my project in 日本語). To be paid for that experience, is the cherry on top.
On a side note, it was interesting being back in the museum space after observing it so heavily for the first part of the semester and now having stepped away from it for a while. Felt reminiscent and sentimental, like I was visiting a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.
As an overarching project, these installations have opened me up to discussion with people about community at RISD and all walks of life. I have been fortunate to receive a couple returned surveys in the mail and have serendipitous conversations with people that are sometimes initiated by “what are all those installations about?” or “i keep seeing your installations around campus”, “that’s YOU making those installations?”
I had a great conversation with Tomi about being a Japanese American and how it can be isolating. Struggling with Japanese at Brown and feeling alone within my department and school and communities I engage with through all of Providence, reminds me how isolated I feel. And how being a 4th generation Japanese American really emphasizes that separation and lack of connection I can have with other 1st or 2nd generation Asian Americans, international students or Caucasians. I felt so riled up I was considering making my final week installations about being a Japanese American. But then it’d be about me and not about the community.
On Monday, we switched sections and Mary came and gave us a fresh set of eyes on our projects thus far. Her critique was very insightful and critical. She told me what was successful about parts of the successive weeks and what wasn’t. Her feedback inspired me to integrate the zines more into the installations and to rethink my earlier question about how I can assess the value I create with this project. Her final comment was that my last week should seek to “win the hearts of the GD community.” What can I do to really win the hearts of the GD community? Easier said than done.