Traditional beliefs, customs, stories passed down through generations, superstition; you’ve come across some of these at one point in your life or it may still be a part of you to this very day. My next mind map for the Compendium is about Folklore.
Here I explore the different methods to which groups maintain, share and pass on traditions. It also contains quotes from the New York Folklore Society website, where people expressed what folklore meant to them and how it affected their daily lifestyle.
The cultural aspect is a public good, the knowledge or reasoning of why something is the way it is. A method people use to teach others about experiences expressed as stories, songs, performance, legends, myths and rhymes.
It is something communities strive to maintain as folklore symbolise their identity to themselves and others.
Continuing my exploration into public goods for the Compendium I thought about public spaces; parks, the town square, spaces that doesn’t require a fee to access. In these spaces, we often see people walking around, hanging about, waiting for someone, conversing with each other, and so on; and then it hit me – places to meet and hang out can be considered as a public good. These could be conventional spaces such as the park or places that encourage socialising like a cafe, but there are also informal spaces; ones that are not dictated.
An example of an informal space brings me back to my university days; every weekend when I had to go to the main high street to buy food for my deprived fridge, I would have to walk through the town square where flocks of teenagers would hang out, spreading across the flights of stairs and having to dodge the dangerous skater boys practicing stunts from one side to the other. It was the same every weekend without fail.
Not quite the paper theme but still folding! This was a video clip I had seen a few years back, and it was my current research for the Compendium that reminded me of the video.
A demonstration created by the Pentagon research scientists; of a tiny robot as thin as a piece of paper covered with predefined folds. It wasn’t quite origami but using algorithms the tiny robot folds itself into the shape of a boat and then a paper plane. Quite amazing huh? I am not confident enough to go into robotics just yet, but for now I think I’ll stick to paper craft.
Continuing with my experiments for the Compendium using paper crafts, I wanted to try animating with 3D models. To animate something that was flat pack and have it lifting up as if inflating and popping up into shape from the ground. So I went on a hunt for a 3D paper model – thus coming across the tortoise designed by Konica Minolta. It took some time to assemble but the finished tortoise looked great.
But Yumi was not a flat pack, she was made up of separate pieces, so the aim of the experiment changed slightly to experimenting puppetry with Yumi a 3D model and have a story cube inflate into shape instead. This time round the experiment had two subjects or actors if you will, in the scene. So the difficulty here was getting the timing right between the two.
I’ve always admired the works of a craftsman, and I definitely feel that their skill as an artisan can somehow be reflected in the Compendium. But can craftsmanship really be considered as a public good? I turn to the Heritage Crafts Association, advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts for some answers. There I find an article by Professor Ewan Clayton, who explains all that I am unable to convey in words.
He talks about the importance of heritage crafts and that “craftsmanship have an interesting relationship to time” the embodied wisdom from the craftsman of a time is reflected in the artefact created, the interaction or activity that may involve the artefact, becomes a cultural resource.
He also mentions the focus in safeguarding traditional craftsmanship should not be made to preserve craft objects but to create conditions to encourage artisans to continue their practice and to transmit their skills and knowledge to others.
I also stumbled upon Richard Sennett’s book titled Craftsman, which mentions how medieval workshops provided a communal atmosphere and a social space, that bound people together forming a community of masters and apprentices.
Both Professor Ewan Clayton and Richard Sennett made insightful points about craftsmanship in the past and in our current lifestyles, it was also a sad reminder of craftsmanship that have become so rare and at risk of being lost forever that it made me want to learn more about them.
I wrap up this post with a quote from Professor Ewan Clayton’s article “So this intangible cultural inheritance that crafts carry is not only about our past – it’s about the vision of what it means to be human. It’s about now, and its about our future as well.”
The folding paper piece was quite quick and simple to animate, so the next one to experiment with for the Compendium needed to be a bit more challenging. A self folding origami crane. For those who are familiar with folding the crane, you’ll know that the crane have symmetrical folds ; so the real challenge here was working out how to make the paper flip over to carry out the repeated folds once one side completed the necessary step. My first attempt in solving this issue became too complicated and confusing, that I had to stop animating and go back to the drawing board to revise the storyboard.
Following the new storyboard the animation progressed at a good pace at the start but towards the end I wasn’t consistent with the number of key frames so it may look like the crane got impatient and hastily folded itself during the last few seconds. Despite the frames per second, I achieved the main goal of animating a self folding origami crane! But to maintain the consistency of frames, I am going to need to devise a time sheet to go along with the storyboard.
Branching out from the idea of social transactions; mentioned in a previous post about Stefan’s reunion over the holidays, led me to the topic of communication as a public good. How do we carry out these social transactions? Why is it so important to convey our thoughts and opinions to others and how will this result as a public good?
Communication fits the description of being both non-rival and non-excludable; words used from an economic point of view to define what a public good is. Thanks to conventional methods and modern technology, sharing ideas and thoughts have become widely available. But the point I am trying to make here is how we use these ‘props’ to communicate and share information.
The internet itself is not a public good, rather the communication and information functions it provides is. As a result the internet has given opportunities to create online communities that allow social connectivity of diverse groups, sharing information and knowledge that led to the creation of open source applications.
Taking these thoughts and ideas for the Compendium, I illustrated and brainstormed examples of our methods of communication through traditions; stories of experiences, songs, and visuals. Also thinking about the different outcomes created from the act of communicating such as social groups and communities linked through common interests, open source materials, data and information.
Whilst researching animation techniques for the Compendium of Public Goods, I came across many innovative and inspirational animations and thought it would be a good idea to share my findings through a series of posts.
Without further ado, I present SNASK; a stop motion animation created by Mike Crozier, an inspiration for my first animation experiment Folding Paper. The SNASK animation consists of clever transitions between different colourful patterned papers and eventually forming a box within a box, which changes into a TV and then ending the animation with the TV sinking into the desk. The whole animation was compiled from a total of 1846 photos!
Coffee Time by Wan-Tzu is an adaptation of Mike’s work, using SNASK as a template to learn and practice stop motion techniques. The video was a recreation of effects used in SNASK but given a storyline that reflected the creators love for coffee. I really liked the smoothness of the coffee machine interface, and the use of wool to represent the coffee, very clever!
Having spent some time researching about animation techniques for the Compendium, I was nudged to move away from my desk and start experimenting with animation on the other side of the studio. There, I was greeted with a green screen; a roll of thick green paper which Alice had heaved up the many flights of stairs and hung up ready to go. The camera positioned and set in place hooked up to the laptop; this marks the beginning of the animation experiments that I’ve been looking forward to.
My first experiment! ‘Folding paper’. I began by making quick sketches of the key frames with the help of a prototype of the subject to work out its movements. Using stop motion and following my storyboard, this paper will fold itself.This is so much fun!
As part of my explorations into the notion of Public Goods for the Compendium, I’ve been creating some sketch maps that explore how to define public goods. What are they? Public goods come in many forms and their meaning and values vary among different groups of people.
Whilst preparing to have lunch with the team, Stefan began telling us a story about his family feast during the holiday season. The social transactions he had during the reunion, the reminiscing of traditional dishes. It sparked the thought that it wasn’t just the act of sharing food that was a public good, but everything that evolved around it. Where and how we get our food; the agricultural skills and knowledge needed to grow our food; the market place in which people come together not just to buy goods but for social interactions and where communities share stories; the history and culture, our traditions and sociology behind food, and ‘Foodways‘ – a term used to describe any piece of food culture which once existed in a time and place that tells a story about who we are.