Monday, December 12, 2011
Production vs. Art Practice / Visual Controls + Media (?)
This is a photo of a shadow board (a form of visual control used for keeping tools organized in a shop).
It comes from the blog of a Mark Rosenthal that I stumbled upon during a sort of personal + Wikipedia-led thought ramble (suspect, I know...) in relation to work I'm doing, various topics in class, and also reading Josh's article (I think).
Mark Rosenthal post here:
Here is the thought-ramble (sorry if it's kind of long/disorganized -- I'm not a blog poster so am not sure if there is any kind of etiquette involved...):
I'm currently working on a developmental theater/performance piece here within the Theater School. There is a certain production process for creating and presenting work in this School that is...fairly regimented. There are a lot of moving parts, people, and diff. timelines for making work that need to be negotiated, etc. So it makes sense. I'm sure anyone who has worked collaboratively knows what it's like--if communication lines get screwy things kind of fall apart.
Our piece has been given the task of creating its own production process. Which is an interesting challenge, given that it still needs to use resources from a preexisting system and within an Institute framework.
We've settled on a process of "multiple periods of experimentation and reflection" marked out in designated "phases." So we'll work in the room with actors, text, and design ideas for a few weeks, have a few days of talking about what we've done, possibly move in new directions, work for another few weeks, reflect again, etc. Tied into the process is an agreement of constant checking-in & inherently re-working of our self-designated timeline and goals as we work. Eventually there is a phase when we invite audience in to see what we've been doing and then it's over. I know this doesn't sound all that innovative as far as artistic processes go, but...it differs from the current process used for Theater School productions...so in that space, it seems so...
I was trying to explain this over Thanksgiving to a VoIP software engineer (my dad's work partner), who kind of chuckled and mentioned that it sounded like the "Scrum Method" used for developing software.
Which led me to look at related 'theories of production.'
And ultimately to the idea of 'Visual Controls' used in factories or other product-based settings to maintain productivity.
(to warn, looks like this Wiki site hasn't been reference supported): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_control
The idea of color-coding worker uniforms or area of space so that any "problems" or anomalies could be spotted immediately by a removed overseer-type person seemed both practically effective and a little scary scifi...It also reminded me of the Collapse Panel and the image of these falling buildings becoming seeming visual indicators of greater economic and political structural issues. And of the visual strength of the crowds in the Occupy movement (or any protest movement).
Media as providing (or being used as) a space of "Visual Control" seems equally effective/scary.
But, what does it mean to apply theories for a commercial market on art practice or society in general?
What is the product goal of...society? (is that the question, then?...)