Please visit the link above to view the video presentation. I have also provided a text version below if any of the voices are annoying or difficult to understand, the links from the video are also available below, as are the references, enjoy 🙂
What is being experimental? Is there anything in art that is truly unique and new to everyone and does that define what experimentation is all about? Is doing something new and unexplored enough to be considered an experiment or is there a deeper discussion that needs to take place in order for a project to be considered truly experimental?
A process is considered an experiment when the outcome has yet to be tested and proven, taking a path that is yet to have a defined outcome. In the arts, perhaps is yet to have a place and purpose in its chosen field.
In music, it is said that.
“Being an experimental artist often means that your music challenges listeners. It’s a beautiful artform where you imagine what hasn’t been done – you explore areas that aren’t traditionally “safe.” In music, and all arts, avant-garde artists are the ones who end up making new genres and creating new movements.”
Part of the experimental process requires you to use your imagination and explore possibilities of things that have yet to be, deliberately moving towards areas that are traditionally unsafe and attempting to challenge the audience into rethinking the concept, field or genre of what they are experiencing. Being experimental and innovative can also be doing something unfamiliar with older familiar things. Taking a well-defined existing process or product and changing the purpose or delivery, innovating with an existing topic and challenging how it is perceived.
“Innovation does not necessarily mean something new. It means doing something unfamiliar, often with old familiar things.”
The combination of art and structure through technology and science can be experimental. In the example of BlingCrete, an experimental light reflecting concrete, an existing and widely used construction material is redefined into a visual art form. A material that was previously used as construction transformed into a living canvas for visual design. While this is not an entirely new concept, it shows a system that involves both the artistic and scientific lines of inquiry in equal measure and promotes dialogue about them.
Perhaps it is that dialogue that is the important aspect of the experimental. Creating a new discourse of thinking from the creation of the art is possibly what ends up defining something experimental. If there is no previous discourse or dialogue about the piece, then its existence is creating a need for a discussion and in part a new definition.
Breaking down experimentation into 4 possible areas we can start to more deeply discuss how we can define being experimental, technology, technique, process and audience.
Utilising new technology or old technology in a new way is one path to being experimental. The rise of digital processing equipment and in particular its availability to the amateur or home user has opened up many fields of production in the arts to new and younger users. While there has been a focus on redesigning old processes with the new digital equipment, there are some that are using the new technology in different ways. The unconventional learning of the technology and its use in the home setting by nonscholarly artists plays a large role in the outcomes becoming experimental. A more traditionally taught artist would not explore the bounds of their art form as much if they have been taught in a structured way. What is acceptable and what isn’t. They may have a more thorough understanding of what has been done in the past, but they are usually less likely to step outside this structure unless directly asked to be experimental.
Perhaps either stepping out of your comfort discipline or completely redefining how you use the technology around you can help you become more experimental with technology.
Approaching a topic or artform from a different perspective or expanding on the concept could be considered experimental. Developing new ideas and concepts on from a different angle can provide a whole new area of exploration. Often we are directed to the “correct” technique for each art form through our education system. A series of defined paths that lead to the desired outcome that is qualitative for the purpose of definition and grading.
Experimentation in technique is not supported through our western educational system, in music the pre-defined technique of writing or composing using a set structure of chords and notes will typically deliver a mainstream aesthetically pleasing project. Deliberately breaking the rules can start to lead you down a path that opens up to experimentation and something new.
Similar to technique, the process you undertake of making your art, can lead itself to be very experimentational. It may be going about the creation of your project with different tools or executing the creation of the art form in a different way to before. Perhaps the creation of the product is being done live and on the spot, perhaps you can take a new direction right from the start with different elements. Whatever you choose to do you should try and walk the path most unfamiliar to you, what would be the furthest thing from your usual process. How can you change and come at the creation from a different perspective?
Redefining the audience’s role or what the audience is expecting to hear, see, feel can also be considered experimental. We have so many preset expectations for art in the modern world. What is it? Why is it? is often already answered long before the audience even engages with the art. A visual canvas in a gallery has already so many predefined expectations, an audio piece you find in Spotify, a video that is delivered in the cinema or on Netflix under the ‘Action Movie’ section. The audience’s expectation of the art based upon it distribution point sets a series of guidelines for what is about to happen and what they may experience. Changing this norm can create an uneasy feeling for the audience and a confusing or misunderstanding and interpretation of the art. But this is where the experimental lives, challenging or forcing the audience to define their own perspective, their own interpretation of the art often engages the audience in a more thoughtful way and leads the piece to a new area of experimentation.
My project this trimester will be based upon multi-disciplinary experimentation. I will be attempting to touch on and pass through all four areas of experimentation and the process of attempting to do so will be an experimentation in the technique itself.
“Pragmatically, cross-disciplinary experimental research demands multi-objective evaluation. It is argued that projects of this nature can easily have multiple modes of success, multiple modes of failure, or an interesting mixture of successes and failures when measured from different viewpoints. These projects are referred to as “multi-component” in the sense that they are composed of elements that work together to create a unity and yet, when separated, each component should still function independently—these projects are therefore amenable to deconstruction.”
Focusing on drawing and poetry as the main driver and then incorporating music and sound along with an interactive and moving image delivery to make the audience redefine how they are receiving the art and what genre or field the art actually fits into will be one of the main focuses. Utilising some possible interactivity with the audience in the form of a choose your own adventure piece and requiring the audience to follow cues targeted at different senses, visual, auditory and emotional. Delivering a poem that is actually a drawing, that could also be considered a song, that is conceptually a moving image and then returning to being a poem. Not designed to be any one art form and its distribution to the audience will be altered and placed in conceptually challenging places. It can be viewed as a poem and drawing delivered on Spotify and youtube and also a song delivered on blogs and Instagram for example.
I have always loved the multi-disciplinary use of story and visuals mixed with music, opera is a very defined process that also incorporates live performance, but also musical storybooks. Stories such as Peter & the Wolf have been delivered in a large variety of different formats and versions, from books to film and symphony, this version from the chamber orchestra of Europe and the Spitting Image Workshop shows a good example of a project that is neither solely music, stage, film or story, but instead incorporates all four. Another favorite of mine is Harry Nilsson’s “Me and My Arrow” from the 1971 movie “The Point”
Recalling back to our google sheet and goals stated for CIM401 and our projects, for us to make the most of this trimester we should be,
–Doing something new
-Getting out of our comfort zone
-Keeping it new and sticking to it
-Ignoring the haters
I’ll be Rebuilding society from the ground up and looking if anyone wants to join me. I would like to challenge you all to follow this and really move out of your comfort zone and possibly discipline into an area that forces you to experiment. Something new, not just for you, but so new that you can’t find an existing path to follow. So far out of your comfort zone that you don’t know what you’re doing. Sticking to it and Ignoring any haters including the ones in your head. Don’t doubt yourself that it’s not good or not new…. if you make it with your hands and heart, then it is good.
Rebuilding society from the ground up sounds like a large task, but for me, it is just about starting that avalanche, pushing that tiny stone off the edge into the scary and unknown. Deliberately walking a path that changes the audience’s perception of what your piece of art is, taking the audience into your song or film or story and leading them into something new without their awareness and forcing them to redefine what it is they just experienced.
So right now, I challenge you all to respond to this presentation not only in words but in any way you choose on this google drawing sheet. It might be a color or a shape or a picture or meme you copy and paste, an interpretive dance or pose, or whatever your brain and body is feeling right now. Close your eyes, cross your toes, put yourself in an uncomfortable zone and let flow and define with your expression what experimental means to you.
And remember no guts, no glory, don’t just step outside your comfort zone, build a giant metal whale and ride that sucker down the main street until you forget where you are supposed to be. Don’t turn around and look back at the haters, smile, breathe and move forward, explore your way past insecurity, scare the fears out of your mind and trust yourself when you are free-falling, the end doesn’t need a definition.
You all remind of the babe, the babe with the power…. You have 4:02 mins of this link playing to respond on the google sheet, Dance Magic Dance
 Sonicbids. “What Separates Experimental Artists Who Get Mainstream Attention From Those Who Don’t?” Sonicbids Blog – Music Career Advice and Gigs. Accessed September 29, 2017. http://blog.sonicbids.com/what-separates-experimental-artists-who-get-mainstream-attention-from-those-who-dont.
 Jameson, A. D. “What Is Experimental Art?” BIG OTHER. March 12, 2010. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://bigother.com/2010/03/12/what-is-experimental-art/.
 “BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process.” BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://www.materialthinking.org/papers/96.
 “Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research.” Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://www.materialthinking.org/papers/100.