VIS 218 Process Journal Week 9
The Art of Gathering was interesting for me to read, as it was more self-help than I expected. I appreciated the first four chapters.
The advice guiding the first chapter, have a specific purpose for your gathering, really stuck with me as I reflected on my web page critique and also looking forward to my second project. Presenting my web page was a type of gathering and receiving the comments on what to polish on it hurt. I won’t lie. I was so insanely proud of actually managing to write a website that the comments against it felt like criticisms against my worthiness, as illogical as that is. The Art of Gathering pushed me to realize that I walked into our class expecting the critique to be a gathering where we would have more open conversations about the websites and how they connected, not a singular Q&A style focus.
This realization was in part helped by the second chapter’s focus on who to invite. Nazli and Bhavari’s comments were incredibly helpful for me to know what to change about my website. They saw it as a piece of work and critiqued as they would a fellow artist, not a student. Yet, I feel I would have appreciated the class more if we had sent the websites out beforehand and the class got to just discuss what we achieved with each other. Keeping the doors closed would have promoted more conversations on how far we’ve come and highlight the changes we have made through the entire process as we made the series a reality.
The second part of the chapter on where to host felt less important due to the fact that like every event now is online. Once I got over my immediate dismissal of this chapter, I thought of different platforms as different event venues. I would not host a dinner party at a public pool, just like I would not hold a book club over Instagram. Social media are platforms I have connected to people over through the past year, as are Zoom and Discord. Each one has their own benefits, as Priya describes in the book.
How I host and the temporary alternative world I create of course change based upon where I choose to host. It’s easier to hold authority and be in control of how the event progresses on Zoom, where I can literally be Host and then mute people/kick them from the meeting/create smaller rooms/etc. But when I want to make it less obvious how much power I have, when I want to host an event that is all about equal footing, I’d be better off on Discord where there is no hierarchy. These differences transfer into the rules we expect of each platform. Zoom just feels more formal and requires more thought in conversations than Discord does, and Discord requires more thoughts and formality than social media.
Going back to our last class when we presented our websites, I thought of the venue and the worldliness of our Zoom room. How would I have received the critiques differently if we had been on a Discord chat or even a large Skype call? Would the casualness of these platforms have made the critiques feel less personal to me? I’d think so. Same goes for how the hosting of the class went. Laurel stepped back and let us present, with Nazli and Bhavari taking the lead afterwards to talk about how we could change the work. The conversations would have flowed more naturally and produced more commentary if the air of formality was removed, I think.