Reading response A


Dan: I wanted to mention that. This is an issue for the famous struggle for fine arts students. It’s so tempting just to stay in your studio. But are you really an artist if you never show your work? You’d think that for graphic designers, that question would be heightened, since your work is communication and distribution. What are we doing if we’re not communicating and distributing? I can also see how the question is more fraught for graphic design, where “This is my one chance not to distribute.” It’s distribution from here on out !

Nilas: There’s a big difference between the thing you make and put out in the world and the documentation of it. So, the poster is the actual thing, that and the image of the poster that I put online as the documentation to show on my portfolio. We make things that are public all of the time. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have graphic design portfolios, but there’s a big difference there. Is my poster about being public globally, or is it about being public in the context that it was made for?

Dan: True. Assuming that it’s a poster that actually had a context. Because we do also make work here that has an even narrower context. You could say, “Well, the context is the critique or my peer group around the school, the atrium, the sculpture building, or something.”

Bryce: I see what you mean. I tailor my output to what I think will work in a critique space. I don't think that’s necessarily good, but I do it.

Ayham: It is part of the culture here.

Bryce: If I’m making a video, it’s not going to be 15 minutes. It’s going to be 2 minutes, because I’m going to show it in a 45 minute review. I don’t do a lot of performance work, but I see people’s performance work suffer because, even if it was a great performance, it’s not documented very well, and then the discussion becomes about how it was documented.

Nilas: Exactly.

Wenwen:And it's actually a new work within a new media, as a secondary work. The people who participate in your review have become the only audience of your new work, which is possible that you deliberately ignore the potential audience outside. But it will finally become public.

Dan: It’s a strength of the program that it establishes a community and has powerful common spaces, and a relatively externalized faculty and critics and stuff like that. But this idea of your audience being the Yale community is problematic and certainly has its limits. It’s like the strongest point in the program, in a certain way.

Ayham: Personally, I think the students are the primary audience. I think it’s set up that way on purpose, that they are more so than faculty that are coming in from the outside. I think that community is comprised of the peers that are sitting around you.

So far, we’ve been talking about documentation of work. But we’re also trying to be specifically concerned with interactive work, which is probably meant to be public in the first place. To your point, much of the interactive work is for the audience of the school but they also need to be public and online.

Dan: And with interactive work, we often don’t have the skills or resources to scale it.

Ayham: To speculate about the audience.

Dan: I don’t focus in my classes on cross-browser compatibility. If a student wants to make an instructions page for their website, I might say, “Well, maybe that's not the thing you should really focus on.” Nor do we do user research, or any of the other things before launching a website to the public. Their works exist in this gray area where the IP address might be public and some students do distribute their work, but the context is poorly defined.

Ayham: You do emphasize in your class the documentation of the website–that it is typically a screenshot. It’s more so a screenshot than documenting the code, right?

When I took the class, I thought that it was interesting that there was significant time spent on presenting the website through a series of screenshots and walking through it. We asked questions like, “How do you describe it to someone who’s not necessarily clicking around?” as part of that documentation strategy.