Netherlands Reflection

Philip Crowther
day 17::reflection // 5.31.17

To be completely honest this trip caught me more than a little off guard. The way we worked on this trip was not the way I am accustomed to working, and that had a major part to play in how the trip caught me off-guard. Our studio days while in the Netherlands were long and I feel like when we were working, the kind of work we were expected to be doing came from a very physical conception of what labor is; so during the studio days there was a fair deal of pressure to keep producing, to always be in the middle of the act of making. While I don’t necessarily disagree with this conception of what it means to be working, it’s not a kind of laboring that I especially identify with when I work in other settings, so I had trouble acclimating myself to working in the way that was expected to during the work time given to us. I don’t think that I can say that by the end of my time there I become entirely comfortable rolling one thing off of the printing press after another, but I can say that I came to appreciate that work mindset more, what it can accomplish, and what I can do when I try to push myself to work in that way.

I think what I learn from the most was seeing how the other students on the trip work. Each individual has developed different processes for producing work, and seeing these processes in action offered me an opportunity to reflect on my own work methodologies in comparison to others and on how I could improve, or at least add something new, to my style of working by integrating the creative strategies employed by my peers into my processes. The collaborative projects that we worked on created a work environment that promoted this kind of synthesis of working habits and creative processes by putting us into situations that made it impossible to move forward on a project without first confronting the differences between the styles of you and your partner/partners. I really appreciate the kind of thinking that comes out of that environment.

Another major shift in the way you have to work when working on a group studio assignment is that you cannot predict where the assignment is going to end up. At each step of the way, there is so much that you cannot know about the ideas and desires of your group members that will affect the physical form of what you’re working on. You cannot plan out for what they’re going to do, and just as well they cannot accommodate for what you’re going to do, so each member of the group needs to reoccurring take a step back from what is happening, account for the unexpected elements, and then use then use the information gathered to inform what they want to create and what direction they want the group to move in from there.

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