I didn’t post yesterday despite my best intentions to do so. This will probably just be a long ramble about the meeting I had with Alex Braidwood. (Tom, if you’re reading this, just skip to the last section).
July 18th: I got coffee even though I don’t like coffee — maybe next time I have a coffee meeting, I’ll get hot chocolate instead. Alex told me that getting an MFA was valuable (Probably b/c he’s the assistant dean to a art + design college… he also threw out the phrase “the MFA is the new MBA,” something that my art teacher has also said. Unsurprisingly, I am even more reluctant to pursue an MFA; I’m not very interested in being a lucrative worker for the corporate world) because you develop your practice. In doing so, you also learn techniques to best communicate your work. He noted that the MFA was also important to gain connections in the art world, but that was of less importance than building a practice.
I primarily was interested in getting an MFA to network in the art world; to me, it seems that you can develop a practice entirely outside the university institution (I can’t deny that the university is a valuable resource- having access to a printing press and CNC machine among other things is very convenient for artistic experimentation). I was also just curious to know what going to an art school would be like (Not that I’m dissatisfied with Northwestern- if I had gone to art school for undergrad, I think I would be frustrated by how limited my classes were). I want to know what it’s like to be completely immersed in art ideas and people, and getting an MFA seems like a good way to learn about this type of environment. But if an MFA is best for developing a practice, something that I’m already doing, then financially, it seems like a terrible choice.
I was alarmed by how casually Alex talked about money. He said something among the lines of, “money is everywhere- you’ll be able to make a living easily.” My family’s low-income, and I’ve never had the experience of money being everywhere. Even if I get a teaching assistantship, getting an MFA is almost guaranteed debt. I’m not good enough at programming (yet) to take on freelance jobs that could hypothetically sustain income for an art studio or supplies. I don’t know what to say other than it seems privileged to be able to brush off the expense of an MFA so easily.
We also talked a bit about art- especially using technology in art. He said that he used computers in art because it was relevant to the times (contemporary art in a nutshell). When I use code in my art, I keep thinking about its implications. So much of art is about deliberation and being able to justify why you make the choices you make, and from there, seeing if it communicates what you intend. Often, using code in art feels gimmicky, like I’m feinting at being a person at the avant-garde. I don’t know if I’m using technology in art just as a convenient way to differentiate myself from other artists, or if I’m genuinely interested in communicating my thoughts about technology through my art.
We talked about more, but this post is getting incredibly long. Maybe I’ll continue these artistic considerations later.
July 19th: Spent some time transcribing the informal interviews. Had a semi-serious discussion with my drone teammates over the importance of keeping experimental information confidential. Fixed up the posters and received feedback from Tom (need to fix it up again today). Spent a bit of time writing the methodology section of the paper and drafting out the results.
On the agenda today: Poster work pt 2, going over the informal interview to gather common points between the 10 participants, understanding the data (errors, p-values etc), and using this understanding to write the results.