I’ve been sorting my photos recently and I stumbled across so many pictures from the past that I wanted to share, but this still probably remains my favorite creative shoot. It was for my own exhibition that I curated in 2019 and it featured dance in different transformations. The problem with capturing dance is that a photograph only captures a short snippet, freezes the dancer in one moment, while the entire idea of dance is that it’s continuous. That’s why I used long exposure to capture the continuum and to really show the act of dancing.
If you hover over the images you can see what settings I used, just if you’re curious 🙂 I am working on editing some new photos so there should be some new exciting content soon.
With any questions/comments/concerns you can find me at:
I’m back again to discuss this week’s topic: Studio Workplace Experience.
You’re probably going back to the title, re-reading it, and scratching your head in confusion, like what the heck is she talking about?!
Well, to clarify, this week I will be sharing with you my experience and observance of how my classmates and I work on projects (and sometimes a plethora of other assignments and activities)in our work spaces within studio or our other favorite lounges or nooks within the Art and Architecture Building.
So, in case I have not mentioned in my previous posts, our studio space is located on the third floor of the architecture side of the building, and extends across the common space of the new wing, into the new, secluded studios. “Studio space” simply refers to the literal rows of desks that we do all of our project crafting in. Often, whenever you walk by, it’s quite easy to tell when a review (presentation) is coming up, because that is when most (or all) our desks are junked up with piles and piles of papers of various sizes (there’s blueprint sized papers, and then there’s nicer expensive print-outs on poster-sized papers, and then there’s just ordinary print papers too), piles of models and sometimes even residue of the craft (scraps of material, crumbs, knives, trash bags, you name it).
Personally, I really love my studio desk. Why? Well, it’s my personal space. I store whatever I want there conveniently, I decorate it however I wish, there’s plenty of USB and electrical outlet plugs right at my desk, and I’m a bit of a clean freak so it’s often impossible for me to efficiently work elsewhere because I’d spend too much time pickily searching for the “perfect desk” where it’s non-shaky, it’s clean, and spacious, with easy access to electrical outlets. Also, it’s considered my property (at least for the time being until I switch to a new desk next semester) so even if there is someone borrowing my desk, I can kick them out back to their own desk or some other space. Elsewhere, I own no property, and it’s often packed with people, so I waste my time looking for the space, and it does not even guarantee that I will get a spot.
And I even have a key to the drawers that I store my materials in. Oftentimes people leave them unlocked because of the natural “sharing culture” we have within studio, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that because:
1) you’ve already paid $20 deposit for your drawer key. Might as well use it, right?
2) materials are expensive!! Often, I developed favorites amongst my supplies, and if it’s missing it literally feels like someone stole my child. Not to mention, sometimes things are hard to obtain another duplicate of because it’s very commonplace that the company of that object no longer produces that exact version OR they produced other versions that you aren’t fond of due to unfamiliarity or pricing.
3) Our media center (where we buy food and materials) is not always open, so if someone sees material on your desk, it’s pretty much fair game to them, and it’s often awkward and difficult to hunt down your thief due to the sharing culture of studio, along with the fact that people will take free materials whenever possible!
Anyway, all of those above reasons are likely reasons why nearly most of the people who attend our college are usually around all the time, even if we don’t have something assigned for studio. Sometimes people just hang here out of convenience. Legit, people will have meals together at their desks, and sometimes have hours’ worth of The Office watch party (using their monitors or one of the moveable campus monitors) for leisure. Or, I’ve often found myself doing non-studio work at my desk as well because of the sort of factory-like, productive nature of our studio space, along with the fact that people are constantly moving in this space, and they can and will see whatever I do and they may or may not judge my actions. I often find difficulties focusing sometimes, so this productive environment really helps keep me motivated and productive! Many of my friends feel the same way, so they do the same.
As for workplace habits, I’d say I see most people having headphones in, either listening to music or podcasts or Netflix white-noise, or even talking on the phone/video-calling. I’m one of those people who really enjoy working alongside music, and feel less motivated without the audio stimulation, especially for model-making. Other classmates I’ve seen, and definitely been sort of admirable but also confused about how they can still craft meticulously alongside watching a show. Like, come on, are you not worried you’ll slice your finger, when you’re holding one side of the material down as you slice, but your eyes aren’t the material you’re cutting?! Trust me, I’ve seen countless accidents occur simply from fatigue at 2am where the knife slips and you slice off a part of your hand- which isn’t very fun! Or, other people who are able to craft while eating a multiple-pieced snack, like wow, are you not worried your fingerprints are gonna make an appearance on that perfect model? Or, you feel indifferent about having a sticky project? Or even a project that smells like vinegar? Anyway, who am I to judge? I just find some of my peers’ habits interesting, and accept that we are all different in our habits and values.
Well, that is all for today!
I’d love to hear your views on my insights!
As usual, if you’re interested in seeing more of my photography and studio work, give me a follow on Instagram: @themichiganarchitect !
Apparently it has only been a month since college had first started back up. Yet, how do I feel so beat already? Is it me? Or is it my habits that are the issue?
I have spoken to many classmates and friends, and they’ve all given various responses as to how they feel at this moment of the semester. Some are super chill, living their life as they’d like to. Others are just barely scraping by, rarely showering, eating, and (if they’re lucky) sleeping. So, what’s the diversity from? Do some people just work or study more efficiently or something that others, or is it just mostly because of the different scheduling due to major and types of classes?
Ya’ll know I’m gonna say that it will most likely be a mixture of both.
Like they all say, “everyone is different.” Even with the academic motivations, skills, and level of stress.
Of course, as college students, we are constantly learning from every experience of our everyday lives, and our brains are still developing, constantly rewiring new skills, and deleting past ones sometimes.
So, “what’s the point of this post?” you may ask.
Well, it’s more of an opinionated informative piece on this topic.
Sometimes, it is the most simple, mundane things in life that we should be most interested in taking time to improve. Not necessarily asking you to re-learn how to brush your teeth (though I’m sure it would be useful with the amount of cavities and oral issues college students commonly have), but maybe taking time to re-evaluate ourselves fairly. I was once asked by a friend of mine, “How do you evaluate your self worth? Is it through your work? Or is it through your aspirations for your work? (work as in course assignments)?” I’d had a hard time putting together the words of my thought at the time, but as short as the question was, it holds a lot of weight and definition in life.
As an architecture student, we are constantly taught how to re-see spaces, tap into our imaginations, and look deepx
into mundane topics for the sparks of our project ideas. As great as that may be for our creativity and model-making skills, how does this system of education support our own mental worth? I suppose it is similar in other fields as well, but I feel that at least in design (art and architecture and anything in that general sector), lessons can be easily taken to the heart.
Our projects are born from our minds, our thoughts, and may even pull from memories for structure. Furthermore, our projects are essentially our life during the semester; if I’m not in bed or showering, I am literally always at my studio cranking out the construction of my models. This accounts for the stress, and constant anxiety around grades and competition. In studio, surrounded by countless talented folks working just as hard as you, it really is hard not to look around and see a battlefield. (Not to mention, there are moments of literal bloodshed when you find your exacto knife had slipped right into your skin at 2am.) And, for those who struggle with even just formulating an idea, or the lack of knowledge of construction techniques, studio sometimes feels like a place to prove yourself, and create your self worth through educational struggles. But, the best part is yet to come. So, you’ve spent the whole week being antisocial, rarely eating, scarcely sleeping, or even showering, and your project is finally finished, yay! Now, it’s time for the review, where your professor and a few guest critics come and evaluate your work and give feedback publicly after you present. For many, reviews make or break the ego. If it goes well, our ego soars, we feel at the top of the world. If the review is mortifying, we feel embarrassed, and worthless, and like a total failure for “wasting” so much time and hope during the construction process. Then, the next project is assigned, and we gotta do it all over again…
The point is, life does suck sometimes, and we are all allowed to set our own standards and have our own habits. It’s just that I wanted to say that we need to still recognize our own strengths through all of this, and NOT place our self worth into our works’ products. Just because you worked hard, doesn’t guarantee you will score an A in the course, or show that you’re the most intelligent or talented or something. Working hard builds character, an essential pillar to being a person. Learning slowly but surely transports you from crappy to excellent. Likewise, your portfolio, which I am sure that you definitely took the time and effort to make it look presentable and illustrate your best works, is definitely not an accurate representation of who you are; a portfolio is simply a visual attempt for employers to get to know you better in terms of your personality and style and technical abilities. With that said, just try your best to create your portfolio, and I want to remind yourself that the only person you should be battling in this process is yourself. Don’t look at your neighbor’s project, look at your own, and learn off of your mistakes. It is not fair to compare yourself to others when you do not share experience in your backgrounds, and then try to compare your results.
To all my fellow Wolverine designers and dreamers out there, keep shooting for the stars, and I know you’ll land there 🙂