5.2 GAMEChange (March 2021)

Part 4 produces a body of audience-oriented work related to my professional consultancy work in participatory and visual communication methodologies with international development agencies.

I am equally interested in:

  • how I can significantly improve my own creative practice through working with people in communities and development organisations.
  • how this participatory process and the time participants give can contribute to helping them to develop their conceptual understanding and visual communication skills.

The project aims to develop a series of abstracted drawings and animations to communicate different approaches and challenges of leadership as part of these resources. These resources at their core need to be understood across cultures and languages, by people who cannot read and write as well as people in power, and simple enough to download onto mobile phones. They should also be ‘fun with a serious purpose’ and engaging enough for people to want to view them. And developed with input and feedback from a range of audiences. In the context of COVID this entails using on-line social media and strengthening my on-line Zemni as well as professional consultancy networks.

Making the World a Better Place

The project is related to my professional consultancy work using pictorial methodologies to analyse and plan change strategies around social inequalities, human rights and leadership.

The subject matter is therefore attemtping to make the world a better place.

The exploration of what can be communicated through simple line drawings is also something that anyone can do with simple pencil and paper and so improves the voice of anyone at any level of formal education.

Audience engagement

My body of work will include different ways of engaging with audiences to improve my work in terms of:

  • some of the animations originate in concepts or stories suggested by audiences in different parts of the world
  • some of the animations originate in community drawings eg Tanzania leadership
  • feedback from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and You Tube.

I focus particularly on processes of visual abstraction of leadership concepts. The body of work aims to strengthen my skills in visual abstraction, typography, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Animate and Stop Motion Animation (nails, string and glue, wire figures)

It runs in parallel to and complements:

4.1 Community Visions abstracted

I start with ‘creative translation’ of drawings by women and men in communities from participatory workshops on empowerment and leadership.

Many of these drawings are very expressive, but require some clarification and digitisation to make them accessible to a wider audience. I draw inspiration from illustrators and artists like Stik, David Shrigley, Ralph Stedman, Tom Gould, Gerald Scarfe and Michel Basquiat.

Through an on-line participatory social networking process with colleagues working with development agencies I develop textless abstracted illustrations and short animations.

4.2 Gendered Realities

I then look at ways of incorporating these drawings into visual representation of debates in development and academic literature.

Linked to a consultancy on gender mainstreaming for UNWomen, I develop a series of infographics using sketchnoting, systems diagramming techniques, typography and collage.

Uses drawing and collage inspired by David Shrigley, Sara Fanelli, Michel Basquiat and ???

4.3 GAMEChange mobile

I then put these together as on-line interactive documents for download on mobile phone from GAMEChangeNetwork blog.

Earlier ideas to be integrated

Project Evolution under COVID

Most of my work in this module so far has focused on documentary work, based mostly on photography using collage, digital processing and printmaking. Initially I intended this audience-based work to explore ideas around ‘participatory psychogeography’ and environmental documentary with local people in UK, extending my work on East Anglia and Northern England in Assignment 2. But because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak it soon became clear that any face-to-face audience work would not be possible for about a year. Both because of health vulnerability in my family and also of the largely retired population in the coastal towns. I revisit the material already produced for Assignment 5 when longer-term needs of physical distancing are clearer.

This externally enforced focus on on-line social networking and audience engagement led me to think through ways of linking more closely with my professional work. Both because of my work’s focus on issues that very obviously try to ‘make the world a better place’ and because of the potential to combine both professional and VisCom social networks for feedback and presentation.

The main challenge was working out how this might complement rather than duplicate approaches in the Visual Research module focusing on ‘creative translation’ of community voices and drawings into animations and potential RSI-friendly animation workflows for myself as an independent animator: Procreate and Rough Animator on iPad and TVPaint on pc. See blog:

Blog for OCA Visual Research Module.
Purposive Abstraction

Conceptually the work combines insights from participatory workshops I have facilitated and current consultancy for development agencies around transformational and collaborative leadership.

https://gamechangenetwork.org/methodology/ilead

My focus is on abstract communication of theoretical development concepts and my own professional consultancy voice and views. As in viscom4dev the starting point includes community drawings. But the projects here also draws heavily on my reading and inspiration from an earlier degree course on Leadership and Change with Open University, UK.

Abstraction has been an important part of my work so far not developed in this module. Attributing anthropomorphic meanings to simple shapes as in Abstract Self-Portraits in Printmaking 2. And work with visual dynamics of accidental and found textures in my Illustration and Book Design work.

Abstraction was also an implicit element in my exploration of creative processes in Project 3.1 in this module and comparison of maximalist and minimalist images.

In this project I am concerned with more purposive and minimalist abstract animation of complex concepts in ways that can be understood across cultures and language groups, and by people who cannot read and write as well as powerful people. And producing simple engaging animation that people will want to download on smartphones.

Animation approaches

Animation and moving image work are becoming increasingly important parts of my artistic practice. This project explores approaches and software not covered in Viscom4Dev.

Before COVID I realised that for Viscom4dev, even on iPad, I needed a much more in-depth and professional understanding of frame-by-frame animation. I started an on-line course using Adobe Animate and TVPaint with independent animator Howard Wimshurst. This included distance tuition and Discord student network that I draw on in this project.

https://animator-guild.teachable.com/p/getting-started-in-2d-animation

I also signed up for the on-line training resources in different types of animation methods and software from Bloop animation:

www.bloopanimation.com

In the context of the constraints I faced with COVID I was granted a 6 month extension to develop skills in animation with OCA Moving Image 1 Animation module as a professional development module. This started an interest in potential of Stop Motion and use of materials. See blog:

Blog for OCA Moving Image 1: Animation

This project explores approaches not covered in Viscom4Dev:

  • Stick Nodes and Toontastic on iPad: software I found interesting in its teenage naivety, but too restrictive in style and clunky to use for the creative translations of community drawings on empowerment.
  • Stop Motion using different materials and Adobe Premiere.
  • Adobe Animate for tweened and frame by frame animation, and Action Script/Javascript coding for complex animations and interactivity.

Assignment 5.2 Edges Shifting then takes this further to start to look at video, Premiere and After Effects in preparation for more documentary work in the final module Sustaining Your Practice.

Ideas of creativity and visual communication within a simple abstract idea.

Adobe Animate Html5 canvas. Coding, animation, interactivity.

Philosophical/political abstraction.

4.1 The nature of balls

Balls obeying rules. Coding physics and interactions.

Then coding in random events.

Leadership: Stick World

This series of vignettes are based on community drawings of good and bad leaders and good and bad members from participatory workshops in Tanzania.

I produce satyrical vignettes in the Stick Nodes and Toontastic software on the iPad. Stick Nodes software has been mainly used by teenage (?) boys/men doing fantasy fight animations. Its templates are of ‘neutral’ male figures with many sound effects from fighting, warfare and teenage humour.

Toontastic is a lego-style software with fantasy female and alien characters from different cultures. The focus is on simple narrative and storytelling. Mostly used by boys, judging from the You Tube uploads.

The software is quite limited in the length of animations that can be produced and the style. So it will force minimalist abstraction and simple narrative.

I aim to ‘disrupt’ these fantasy worlds by designing female as well as male figures satirically challenging the culture of fantasy violence. Importantly the clunkiness of the software means that the animations cannot take themselves too seriously, and are inevitably amusing.

Draws on work of STIK, Alan Becker, David Shrigley and ???

4.2 Managing the Big Balls

Simple game with interactivity

This project starts with the traditional beginner animation exercises with bouncing balls and ‘sacks with attitude’ as an exploration of identity, inequality and power relations.

Frame by Frame and tweened animation in Adobe Animate.

4.3 Balls Have Feelings Too

Coding vs fraje by frame animation.

McLennan, drawing and animation principles.

Leadership materials

This project explores the visual dynamics of ‘what leadership looks like’. Takes as its starting point quotations and definitions of leadership from the OU Leadership and Change course and free Open courses on the Internet as well as other Internet resources.

Using Stop Motion animation on my iPad and composited in Adobe Premiere I explore different materials: nails, glue, grease, blobs.

Around the theme of ‘diversity is strength’.

Tolstoy’s Ship, Strategy of Geese.

4.4 When Balls Break Free

Develops the proposition that ‘everyone can be a leader’ and change is done by everyone taking responsibility and achieving their visions and full potential.

Swarm and particle animation coded in Adobe Animate. Disrupting systems