commune day plan
Today was the first proper day of the "Commune Project" and a chance to get an understanding of what it was that we actually had to do and what the project entailed. Before today we had already formed our groups and decided that we want to go to Amsterdam for 3 days. The choice of destination was to do with the fact that Amsterdam is a cultural hub and unlike anywhere else in the work. With museums and galleries such as Rijks Museum, the Van Gough Museum and the Jewish historical Museum. As well as this is it also filled with amazing vintage markets, art shows, amazing architecture and much more. We started the day with some listening/following instructions exercises, basically the hockey kockey but more complicated. Although at first i didn't really see the relevance of doing this for the project, towards the end i understood that it was about leadership and trying to follow instructions, as well as demonstrating how easy it is to misunderstand something if it is not explained clearly enough. This is a point that i am going to carry into our trip to Amsterdam for our commune.
After this warm up exercise we then sat in our groups and started to come up with Practical, Social and Methodological rules for our trip, this list is inside my sketch book. These rules are then to be refined and expanded on to form our manifesto.
Day 2 of commune:
- Black ink
- Red and Yellow chalk pens
- Colouring pencils
Today Rosie lead our days activities. She had planned a few things that she wanted to do however if we didn't all agree on a decision then we would compromise until we did, this was something that we had agreed upon before leaving and was one of the rules in our manifesto. We got up at 9am (this was another "rule" agreed by us all before coming out to Amsterdam as we wanted to make the most of the small amount of time that we had in the city). Rather then getting the train into Amsterdam central as we did yesturday we instead took the bus and then a tram to Vondelpark, this is where we started our day. We made a conscious decision to try and use all of the public transport available in the city as we had our travel cards, and trams were a novelty to me as i had never been to a city that used them. Furthermore we thought that using our pre paid travel cards as much as possible would be a good was to save money and immerse ourselves into the lives of the people that live in the city.
When we arrived in the park we went for a long walk to see how it may differ from parks in London and to take some photos. Before leaving we sat by the lake to "draw sound" as instructed by Rosie. We decides to sit apart from each other on three different benches so that we could fully concentrate on what we where doing and so that out drawings weren't influenced my one another. We sat and did this drawing for about 15 minutes. Another rule that we had in our manifest was that on each day Rosie, Vernetta and I would choose one drawing material to take with us and we would share them, therefore having the choice of only three various drawing materials on each day.
When we had finished in the park we went to an amazing costume and fancy dress shop which was about a 10 minute walk from Vondelpark, on the way we walked past the Van Gough museum and a couple of other, however we decided that we didn't want to go in, firstly due to the cost of entry and secondly because we didn't just wasn't to spend our time in galleries and museums, our aim was to see the city and the culture and I feel that we definitely achieved this. When we got to the costume shop we bought a pink and a blue wig that me and Rosie wore throughout the day. The reason for this was to see how people reacted to us and to explore the idea of identity. Furthermore, I thought it would be fun to photograph us in front of various objects that matched the colour of our wigs, purely for aesthetic rather then conceptual reasons. We found it very interesting walking around in the wigs and seeing the reaction that we got from the public. Many did not acknowledge our hair (bright blue and pink) apart from the occasional builder or workman who would comment on them or just smile and say hello. This made us wonder about the reaction that we might get in the UK, walking down a street such as regents street and wether or not it would vary.
We then went to a cafe over looking a quiet street and sat in the window for about an hour and a half eating lunch and doing observational drawings. This was something that i think was really successful as it allowed us to talk about what we wanted to do / where we wanted togo, as well as this i also began to see my observational drawing skills improve, even after only 2 days. I am now going to try and keep up this momentum of drawing when i get home to continue improving.
We then went to a gallery called cloud. (We where the only people there, and just missed Russel Brand who had been in previously with his wife) Rosie chose this gallery as it fitted the aesthetic of here work due to it being predominantly photographic. It was a tiny gallery of only one room with a long wooden table in the center. After looking at the work we sat down at the table did more drawings for another hour or so. I did a lot of experimentation with ink and water as well as using water and soluble pen. When we left this gallery we proceeded to walk further into the city. Something that we noticed was the openness that people had with their homes. The large street level windows where left open with no blinds so you were able to see right into peoples homes, this furthered my opinion that Amsterdam is a very safe city as it shocked me that people felt comfortable enough to do this. It was very interesting to see this personal insight into peoples lives and see how peoples tastes and styles varied from house to house as well as country to country. The interiors were very minimal and open plan, with many stand alone stair cases and bare wood.
Our final stop of the day was on another small cafe where we sat and spoke about the day. Rosie also bought up the fact that she took drama classes back in London, this lead us on to playing a game called "and then...". Where you take it in turns to add to a story and each person starts their sentence using the phrase "and then...". Our final story is written in my sketch book for Day Two, the outcome was very light hearted and humorous, I plan to illustrate this story at some point during my Unit 7
I feel like today was a far more successful day, not necessarily due to what we did but more due to the better group dynamic and conversation being interesting, productive and flowing well.
Bring on tecno tuesday...
Day 1 of commune:
- Felt tip
- Water soluble colouring pencils and paintbrush
Today was our first day in Amsterdam and we we thought it would be beneficial to spend our time walking around the city to get our bearings so that we could plan our days more efficiently in regards to covering certain areas of the city each day. However when we started walking we realised that the city was small enough walk from N to S and round the whole city in one day. We ended up having a 14 hour day on our feet, walking around 23,000 steps, covering almost all of Amsterdam. While wondering the city we made frequent stops to do some observational drawings. I had never really taken sketch books on holiday with me, however after this commune it will be something that I do where ever i travel, I really enjoyed being able to document were we where and what we saw in ways other than photography. Being surrounded by the canals, the amazing architecture, as well as the bustling streets and squares there where so many opportunities to draw. We also visited the Foam Museum. The Human Nature Exhibition was one that initially attracted me, it consisted of the photographic work by Lucas Foglia which i will look into further in my research.
After a full day of exploring the city we went back to our hotel to reflect of the day and make a plan for that evening. We decided that we all wanted to go to the red light district as it was something that we felyt that you had to experience when visiting Amsterdam. Initially we were all very taken aback by the area as it is incrediby unique and like nowhere we had ever been before. Personally I was fascinated and wanted to find out more about the history of the area and how it came about, as well as the laws in Amsterdam regarding the vibrant sex and drug culture. The contrast between Amsterdam in the day and the night was something that fascinated me, in that you could be walking around the quaint little back roads with the canals, galleries and cafes during the day, the seedy roads at night lined with advertisements for sex shows and women in the window of every building.
In all i think our first day was very successful in the way that we explored the city to the fullest, however i think that we should have made a more solid plan as to what we wanted to see and where we wanted to go. However due to the spontaneity of the day we saw many things that we would not have if we had planned our day more thoroughly.
Final day of Commune:
- Water colours
- Wax crayons
Today was the final day of our commune in Amsterdam. We began the day by checking out of our hotel and heading into Amsterdam Central on the train as we did every day (only a 5 minute train). When we arrived we walked into town, today was the first day when the sun was out so we took this opportunity and spent another day just walking around the city, immersing ourself into the culture. As well as taking lots of photos as the sun really transforms the city. For the majority of the day we where based around the area a few canals in from the red light district. We chose not to visit any galleries on today as we thought it would be a shame to be inside during our last day in the city with the sun shining. Therefore our focus was more on photography today.
When walking around and going to various unique shops we didn't do as much observational drawing as i would have liked to but thus was purely down to use being so distracted by the city in the sun that we completely forgot about our sketchbooks until much later on in the day. All of us had decided that we had fallen in love with the city after only three days and were very sad to being going home today, most of the day was spent threatening to cancel our fights home and stay in Amsterdam.
in the afternoon we headed back to our hotel to pick up our bags and to sort our selfs out before the flight. As well as almost missing our flight on the way out here we also nearly missed our flight home due the huge queues in the airport, however we made it by the skin of our teeth and got home. On the journey home it was clear that all of use were exhausted due to the busy few days that we had had.
I feel as if our last day was a success, however i would have liked to do some more drawing. On the other hand due to our day being focused on photography i plan to do some drawing from photographs when i get home.