Assignment 5 – Initial Thoughts

02.11.2020

Up until recently I hadn’t put much thought into my personal project for assignment 5. I have had a few ideas in the back of my mind for other parts of this course, and had revived these as possibilities for A5.

Unavailable activities

There are many places and activities that are currently unavailable due to covid restrictions.

Discarded masks

I see more and more disposable masks left lying around. A possibility though could all be a bit repetitious

Low traffic neighbourhood

This is an idea that was planned for the area where I live. The proposal is to install barriers in housing estates to prevent them from being used as short cuts for motorists. However the plans have been put on hold for the time being. I am still unsure as to how visual an idea this could be.

These were all ideas I’d quickly noted down before the November lockdown was announced. My initial thoughts are I don’t know how I could develop any of these ideas in the near future. I will have to re-plan this and try and find an idea that can fit with the current restrictions.     


24.11.2020

I’ve gone off the idea of photographing discarded masks, at least for now; nearly all are the same type and it doesn’t seem to me that I could produce a set of images here that didn’t involve a lot of repetition. I may be able to ties this in with the general idea of a wasteful society but I need to find a better way to depict this (and also to start with a better point of view, not just a ‘here it is’ approach).

I an still no nearer to a way to depict the idea of the local low traffic neighbourhood proposal, but this at still be viable if the proposal does eventually come to fruition. It may be too late for this assignment though.

I’ve rather gone off the idea of trying to depict unavailable activities. Aware as I am that a point of view is important here, it isn’t something I particularly care about myself. I do rather take the view of lockdown that what will be, will be. If I can’t go to the pub or cinema than so what? I can manage.

As a way to try and jumpstart my thoughts, I have been playing with the idea of introducing a random element to my photography. I have a pedometer app on my phone and since the beginning of the pandemic I have been monitoring my walking, as one of the only activities that has been available throughout. I go out for walks on most days, and although I have several different routes to choose from, I have still passed the same locations many times over the past months. I have started taking photographs at particular intervals based on my step count; one thousand, two thousand steps etc. The random factor comes in because the count begins from the point I pick my phone up, not from when I leave my house, so the step count intervals I use come at different places each time. I want to see how much this forces me to look more closely at places or things that I otherwise just pass by and ignore as being almost part of the furniture. I thought this might be a way to force me to look more closely and imaginatively at what I come across but so far it has not been particularly useful.

This is only really an exercise anyway; I think I’d be hard-pressed to find a way to define this as a project. The only linking factor is the location I find myself at a particular point on my walk.

Coming back to the idea that this project should be something I am concerned about, along with the thought that the current pandemic restrictions severely hamper what I can and can’t do, I have begun to ponder the idea of something around the topic of communication. I’ like most people, have seen little of friends and family recently and rely even more heavily on intermediary technology. I know I would struggle without email and my mobile phone so can this be an area to work on?


08.12.2020

I have come round again to the idea of trying to illustrate a response to the proposed Low Traffic Neighbourhood in my area. Given the brief for this assignment, that the topic should be one that prompts discussion and argument, it seems of of little benefit to focus on something on which I have no clear opinion. Although I do have some reservations about the proposed LTN, in general it seems a good idea to at least go ahead with a trial period. The proposed trial is documented here

https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/Cowley_LTN_2020/consultationHome

The current Covid restrictions still make it awkward to involve other people too much but I feel more confident now that I can find a way to illustrate this in a way that both makes my own opinion clear, and allows for counter-arguments.

One difficulty of course is to try and make this relevant to anyone outside my local area. The work of Tom Hunter shows it is perfectly possible to make local subjects interesting to non-locals


14.12.2020

After another rethink I have gone back to the idea of using my pedometer as a way to document my exercise regime, and also to reflect my own mood and feelings during the second lockdown. Looking again at the LTN images I’d gathered so far, I felt it was likely to produce too many similar images. I could not see a way to vary this given that the restrictions on meeting people are still very much in place, and the development of the LTNs themselves is still to get started. This is something that I may continue with anyway but separately from this assignment.

On reviewing the pedometer photographs I took during November I now feel more comfortable that these can be used to tell a story. Not a straight document certainly, but I feel this can be developed as a document of a very specific period in time, and my own attempts to find something new in my neighbourhood

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