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Brett Francis Larson
PhD Candidate, Second Language Acquisition & Teaching
Now we turn to a discussion of the project as a whole and what it can tells us in regards to the research questions asked both in terms of how the University of Arizona public engages with creativity when present with a space for it, as well as a discussion of the stories told by having both product and process present side-by-side for the presentation of data.
Overall, the amount of interaction with the art installations was minimal at best. Disposable cameras were at most half used, emails to the uofacreates account numbered two in total, Instagram posts received no comments and a maximum of four likes on any one image, and many art installations had zero or only one response. This is not to say failure, but a lower amount than expected. The two projects with significantly demonstrable results was the chalk poem responses and the photos of the students at work. From observations, many of the installations were simply glanced at and passed over, or possibly not even recognized as a novel part of the environment (as exemplified in art installation 13's spine poems). On the other hand, responses and data collected from the chalk poetry installation show there is an appreciation for art in the public space. Written responses on butcher paper show feelings of contentment, a "I needed this today," and appreciation of the work behind writing poems around campus. Also, one professor from the office art installation specifically thanked me for incorporating something "fun" in their daily life.
As for the questions related to product and process, I will address each installation here in order of their presentation of these pages.
Art Installation #8
The most salient feature when turning to this page is the lack of images in the product side of the page. Contrasted with the increasingly long section detailing my struggles to find the camera and get the images produced in time, this shows the work of the researcher that would otherwise have not made it into a paper. This installation would most likely have simply been omitted from the final project as not being ready in time.
Art Installation #9
A large amount of images on both sides of the page this time. However, the products side quickly runs out and a reading of the process side will inform the reader of the fact that double the images would have been provided had the first camera not been stolen. Also, we learn of the shifting environment (a new room), and a first-hand view of the researcher checking on the camera, an act done every day. Though the images on the product side do tell a story, a significant portion is left out without the images from the process portion.
Art Installation #6
The product portion is longer than the process, but this presents only one product added by an outside member of the research, and informs us of the reason why no more responses are added to the list after the first. Information about the hospitalization of the second student lend support to the fact that sometimes life happens and research that would otherwise be seen as lacking involvement actually has a reason for not being engaged with.
Art Installation #1
An installation with much higher expectations, reading the process images show the disappointment that would be sanitized out for the academic register of academic publications. The poems themselves also are short in comparison to the length of the process section, and hard to read because the pages were lost on the fourth night.
Art Installation #13
Similar to installation #1, a lot of disappointment and dissatisfaction in the process section that would be removed in final papers and academic works. The process side tells the story of how the products are mostly of examples I created, and the other submissions are from the professor of the class, a student who was also in the class and aware of the project, and my mother.
Art Installation #3
Perhaps the most balanced of the art installation pages. The process side gives additional information about the length of time needed, the excitement of success after two failed installations, and responses and additional information which might be deemed "anecdotal" (the Facebook comments, the student I spoke to outside the Koffler poem) and excluded from academic papers with rigorous peer-review standards.
Art Installation #11
Another installation that would probably be entirely omitted as no data was collected, and the process side reveals the truth that no effort was made to actually make the installation succeed.
The Final Update and The Leftovers
Once more, the honesty of the language as well as slang, acronyms, etc., plus the straight truth of simply forgetting or abandoning parts of the research is an aspect not often told if only focusing on the final products of a research project. The leftover supplies are a physical manifestation of the waste and excess resulting from abandoning projects and changing minds. I have, however, kept the sunglasses, put a picture in the picture frame, and saved the candlestick.
Additionally, the website allows the story to be told of the progression from the initial planning and proposal, to the understanding of the usefulness of the research journal and writing as a form of inquiry, followed by re-examining the research through in class activities, and finally the influence of other students in how to represent the data of product and process at the same time and my decision to create this website.
Finally, a reflection on the effectiveness of this website as a space for representation. Limitations of space meant that some journal images are harder to read than others, and a significant portion of time was spent deciding whether to put product on top of process, but this took away from the visual effect of both appearing in the same frame. A large amount of white space appears to the left and right on many pages when viewed on a desktop computer, whereas tablets fit exactly the borders given. Smartphone completely distort and jumble the intended effect of both images at once. Ultimately, however, the website mostly performs the function chosen for it: to present process and product concurrently, to tell both stories at the same time and to inform each other in a way polished, academic writing cannot.
I hope this website has given you an insight into the truth behind the research, as well as shown how arts-based research and representation of data through visual images presented concurrently can be an effective method which challenges traditional notions of the research report genre.
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