- Documentation of your process sketches / prototypes / notes / material explorations
- A written statement outlining your partner’s original ideas and your strategies for translating it
Alex Choucair has experienced and been part of what it’s like to be Lebanese when Lebanon went through critical times just as when it got brighter after the dark. In her initial project which had the purpose of exploring and demonstrating how Lebanon has dealt with its trauma, Alex made use flexible medium like clay as well the strength of her hands to symbolize the change that took place. The clay was also a metaphor for plastic surgery broadly being used in Lebanon as way of keeping the trauma under the carpet. Furthermore, on the same medium were written lyrics of a song that portrayed the Lebanese ability to never give up regardless of what constantly happened to them. With regards to my interpretation of her project, to express the same flexibility I followed the concept of a board game to allow interaction and connection. Instead of having a two dimensional piece showing drastic change in the human body I thought allowing everyone to play around with it could make them learn something a little deeper. On a board of 12×16 inches I made four different bodies that had undergone several body surgeries on different parts of their bodies. Under each body part, as the viewer picked it up to move it, were hidden words that I carefully picked out of my interview with Alex. This strategy came to be through my observation of how she made use of the song on her clay to portray the greater outcome of the damage that affected her country. Under the list of words I selected to hide under each body part were words that portrayed sadness, grief, violence, happiness and satisfaction because these words highlighted what stimulated the Libanese mind as it pursued a physical change it its body.
- A written reflection on the Bridge that includes explorations of the following:
– What was the most challenging aspect of collaborating with your partner?
The most challenging aspect of my collaboration was trying to figure out how to send the same accurate message in a similar or better form but in a different medium. It was quite complexe to make a fun concept like a board game feel dark with a sense war and trauma. I could get the fun interaction aspect but it would have to add another medium to emphasize the warzone and trauma Alex demonstrated in her two dimensional piece.
– Did you find anything surprising throughout the translating process?
What I found surprising is how hard it is to try to be accurate about a topic and experience you’ve never been part of in the first place. I found it surprising how many times I had to ask Alex if I was right to think and do the things I was getting done the way I did because I lacked the first hand experience she has from Lebanon.
– What was ‘lost’ in translation? What was gained?
Ironically as I did my work trying to emphasize the interactive and plastic surgery aspect that was somewhat hiding in Alex’s piece, I lost most of the dark, traumatizing war zone effect she portrayed in hers. It was great because people wanted to touch the piece all the time and have fun with it, however, it did not fully represent the context Alex was telling her story in. Ultimately I can say that both of our concepts combined could make up for what was lacking in them individually.
– What were some things you will take away from the feedback you received in crit?
Before I pursue anything in a similar project, it would be wiser to strongly understand the context of the idea in which I am investing. Although some may have enjoyed the concept of touching and moving of the piece which I should keep exploring, it’s still important that I don’t forget to represent highlighted aspect of the piece from which I am working from.
– What do you think was successful about your piece?
What I believe was successful in my process of representing Alex’s idea through my own means was emphasizing the impact of trauma in Lebanon which is expressed as plastic surgery. Alex did a great job showing that there was trauma, however, it’s impact wasn’t so much highlighted so I trust that I made that detail more blatant in my interpretation of her work.
– What do you think was unsuccessful about your piece?
I think what remained unsuccessful in this piece was my ability to keep Alex’s dark, traumatizing and war zone feeling the class noticed as we went on with her crit. As I made sure to emphasize an interactive aspect of the project I lost some of the values Alex highlighted and therefore lost a side of the message.
– Would you change anything about the piece?
If I were to change anything, I’d try through other means to keep the war-like feeling portrayed through my project as much as Alex did in hers. I’d try to make sure people understand the context in which Alex was trying to initiate her conversation in order to send the message. Additionally I’d look further and explore into how to make something this tragic more approachable and compatible with a board game concept.
+ Any other additional thoughts /feelings / take-aways
Grading breakdown (30 POINTS TOTAL)
5 POINTS — Process photos
Exploration of material/concept is clearly shown through sketches, notes and other material investigations
5 POINTS — Project Statement
Clearly states project’s intentions and conceptual underpinnings as well as reasoning for material choices / presentation strategy
5 POINTS — Documentation of final project
Images are thoughtfully composed and edited, all extraneous materials are removed from background, lighting is considered.
15 POINTS — Written Reflection
Writing demonstrates a critical and thoughtful reflection on the feedback received in crit as well as a reflection on their experience of the Bridge project process overall.