Evaluative Report – Digital Environments

Digital Environments has been probably the best part of my degree at Camberwell so far. Overall it has helped me develop my ideas in and outside of college work, and guided me towards my chosen route or area of study for the rest of my time at Camberwell and the near future. Before starting this BA course, I originally planned to study Computer Science and/or Interaction Design at university. While re-sitting a failed Maths exam on an Art Foundation course at my college, I somehow ended up applying for BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Camberwell. I looked forward to Digital Environments elective starting early on in my first year. Some of the classes covered topics I was already aware of however all offered a valuable contextual backup rather than just a stream of information. It was also interesting to hear the feedback from the rest of the class as a majority of fine art students, and their views on the issues. Jonathan kindly let me take advantage of the Pure Data workshops for his MA students which allowed me to revisit programming, and along with the routine of the weekly elective class, opened my eyes to creative programming. This included my own research into other software such as OpenFrameworks, Processing, and Arduino, resulting in acquiring an Arduino board for myself for future installation work and experimentation.

The elective has encouraged me to research the social elements and issues around the subject of digital environments. More importantly I have began to think of it in a theoretical sense, in the context of the ‘digital age’, in the context of art, and how it stands against more traditional or physical (in creation) pieces. As a result I have been reading a lot more into the subject of aesthetic computing and similar through books such as those published by MIT. I have general knowledge of programming, software and digital culture, but previous to the elective course I had never considered using the issues it raised as a basis for my projects and research – only as a means of media for an end product, which harnessed no real purpose. Luckily, my course is very open for experimentation within and outside the definition of graphic design, giving me the freedom to create work based on these themes, which at the moment is all a work in progress of me trying to define the main interest of my practice. The elective class has definitely influenced my work for the previous term and I am looking forward to exploring the subject area even further in the current and future terms. I will still continue to work with analogue media such as film photography, drawing and collage, but less reliant on them as outcomes to briefs.

Very soon I am going to approach studios who work in the area of interaction design and those who work with digital media, for internships and placements. Rather than just a line on my CV I am curious to see how creative practitioners develop and approach these sort of projects, as they are completely different to conventional graphic design (such as those in Decode/Unleashed Devices and for commercial purposes). For my final year on the course, I am considering a research visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to aid my dissertation which I would like to complete alongside a live project or work placement. In conclusion, the Digital Environments elective has been highly beneficial to my study at Camberwell; I have made some really good friends in the class and will sorely miss coming along to it on Friday mornings.

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