Saturday, February 28, 2009


Doha, Qatar February 2009
Mousharaka is translated as collaboration. Yesterday Barbara Sudick + Frank Armstrong, Don Crow and I joined minds as we formulated our workshop for this weekend. BS and FA are invited presenters and set the foundation for this workshop based on their own presentation (tomorrow). The issue explored circles around Fast Knowledge and Slow Knowledge. This is fast knowledge. Slow knowledge evolves over time. What I write now will be slightly more integrated than what I may have written last night after several hours of engagement, questioning, dialogue. “Fast knowledge Frank writes in the brief,“is often acquired quickly and amplified by technology.” I would qualify this as expressly modern technology. He notes that, “Slow knowledge is a primary component of indigenous knowledge (systematic information preserved in oral tradition)” Does this include fiddle styles? weaving techniques? dance? Yes.It is the continuation of a deeply integrated knowledge that goes beyond the sort of mental processes that connect us to our laptop. Like right now. You use a very different part of your brain right now than you do when you’re swinging a hammer (for Jon and Don), or playing a tune, or drawing (which might include everyone else). There is deeply integrated knowledge that we draw upn when we are physically engaged with the making or creating of sound, mark, gesture. I write this as I think about playing music last night. It ground me after a jet-lagged day of connecting, responding, transformation. What happens when we come together for these intense few days (new connections, old connections). It's hard to sustain it, and I am grateful to all who encouraged me to pack my fiddle (and Don for that very nice lightweight case).

This workshop is an effort to engage. To invite the students to more fully engage their sense in the design process. Design can be rigorous, analytical, prescriptive. (as Keven Wooley just said when he sat down to chat) Especially graphic design which is so abstract. Especially as a print designer, we deal with a fixed object. As I sit in this space (I just stood up to take a photo. Image is uploading now as I write.) the light changes, color shifts. We respond to a physical space with our sense in a way that we cannot with implied or abstract space - a page.

That's nothing so new. You always want to ask, “What is new about this? what are we doing that integrates ideas, concepts, experience?“ In keeping with the thems of teh conference we are hoping students will first, com to a different way of knowing the souq (the market which will be the location for our study today). Asking them to concentrate on a sense: sound, smell, texture, sensation. To draw, notate, photograph, record WITH their senses if they can. And then to compile these (which we'll do tomorrow) ideally with a view to building knowledge as a shared activity. (Something I saw ALOT about documentary work).

More later. It's lunch time.

No comments: