A Reflection on the Collaborative Process and Reasoning Behind the Group Project: Digital Objects
The digital object can be viewed above
The purpose of this reflection is to define the thought processes behind the decisions that were made regarding the creation of the digital object, a reflection on the process itself as well as justification for the artefact that was created.
The initial brainstorming session was stimulating and many ideas were discussed including digitisation of physical artefacts versus ‘born digital’ artefacts, advances in technology such as 3D scanning, virtual reality, social media platforms and others. One idea that was closely considered was the democratisation of works of art and how, with today’s technology, most anyone can view and experience great artworks that were previously siloed or inaccessible to all but the privileged few.This led to a discussion about ownership, especially in regard to art that has been manipulated or reproduced in different formats, such as Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe prints, themselves modelled on a 1953 film still, and how tools and applications such as Photoshop and Instagram can result in innovative and disparate reproductions.
The theme of remediation was suggested by Dr. Orla Murphy and was later settled on as the basis for the series of digital photographs and flash movie created by the group. This theory focuses on the idea that digital technology can not only be used to digitise physical objects but can also be used to endlessly refashion other digital objects through different media and these representations depend on the technology that came before, for example, digital film processes remediated analogue film, which in turn remediated stage production. The decision was later made to photograph artwork on the UCC campus, with each group member remediating the image and combining the results into a short clip. Personally, my contributions were to create the Google doc, taking the pictures along with another member, deciding on a final image to remediate and contributing those pictures to the member who created the final clip. I also searched for the artist who created the original sculpture and was responsible for a lot of the communication within the group.
The initial group meeting was fruitful but on reflection, the importance of a defined leadership role was overlooked as well as having a clear understanding of what the project actually entailed. Subsequent face-to-face meetings of all group members proved difficult logistically and it took time for a consensus to be reached in regards to the digital artefact. There was some confusion as to what exactly the written submission element of the project should entail with the whole group initially believing it was an academic discourse on the nature of digital objects. A shared Google doc was created and a fair amount of academic research was written about the theory of digital objects, remediation and copyright before it became clear that the focus should shift to the object itself and the process behind its creation and working in a group. This shift was instigated by online conversations with other groups and redefined the direction of this writing and that of most of the other group members. This naturally created stress and frustration but, as the artefact itself did not need to be altered, it was not an insurmountable problem.
However, the role of clear communication can not be underestimated and has proven to be a key element in this group collaborative effort. The shared goal should be defined early on in the process and clear objectives set in place, along with a timeline for achieving those objectives. Systematic review of the aims and objectives, continuous feedback and reflection and responsiveness are vital for coherent output. Differences in opinion about how the project should proceed, what should be given priority and how best to communicate can and did impede efforts to complete the project to deadline. On the positive side, it is only by making mistakes and reflecting on them that lead to an understanding of how best to approach a new challenge.