Looking for visual references and context of the research.

I recieved images from my father that depict the resale shop of my grandfather. All of these images remind me of my childhood. As a kid I was afraid to enter this shop because the machines inside seemed dangerous and unsettling. Weirdly I always enjoyed looking at them being repaired and listening to the sounds of it. My father told me that there were not only machines from both of the factories that contaminated Cracow but also parts of wires or other elements that were produced there but no longer needed. While this talk I recalled a band called Kraftwerk that gathers inspiration in machines and technology and even sometimes connects it all with environmental issues. My father showed me this band few years ago and the music is embodiment of the industrial mood of the resale shop that my grandfather had.

From that I moved onto looking at images from the actual factory - first from Steel Mill of Nowa Huta and then on Aluminium Mill that was very close to my house. What is intresting is that the band - Kraftwerk - actually played a concert in Nowa Huta factory, which links both subjects even closer to each other. In both the factory images and my grandfather's shop images what I find intriguin is that they depict a working space with many machines inside. All those lines created by pipes and steel elements there are very geometric yet have a certain fluidity. It seems to me intriguing how the steel mill kept working and polluting after so many years and the environment of it did not changed at all.

What I also find interesting about this topic is the history of the place - both Steel Mill in Nowa Huta and Aluminium Mill were founded as "gifts" from Soviet Government to the people. It was a huge event back then and I remember my grandma telling me about it. The whole idea was a part of Soviet ideology of work and producing great amount of objects in a short amount of time that would exceed any "western" norms of production. That would then work as a proof that Soviet Union was great and strong (which was not necessarly true). Mass production to the biggest extent. This makes me think about how can I show that the ideology of producing huge amount of products causes damage to the environment? It is also quite connected to fashion - an industry that never stops. Every season a new collection is introduced, ready-to wear pieces that in next season are replaced by other new ones.

Intriguing thing that links to this topic of work is the working place - from archives on the official website of Steel Mill I gathered images of how it was and how it is. Inspiring structures and combinations of shapes reminding machines is what I could experiment with later on.

Going with  the ideology of work I recalled posters by Wiktor Gorka that were hanging on the walls of my history classroom back in high school (obviously as a historical reference and curiosity and not as a real propaganda). The color on these are very specific with a characteristic type of bold front to catch viewers attention. These colors remind me of the colors of images from Nowa Huta factory and my grandfather's working space. The quotations o them that value the massive work are very characteristic for soviet occupation. Make as much as possible, I think of using them in my sketchbook as a comment but rather in ironical way, when contrasted to the air pollution. Idea of polluting mass production is visualized by them.

Library visit.

In a book "Philosophy Of Technology" by Val Dusek I found intriguing ideology that the technology is not a machine but a set of rules. That definition of technology changes the view completely - normaly machines, factories and computers are associated with technology and development. This made me think about writing my project draft as a set of rules that would construct a technology. I still need to think about this topic but this seems intresting - especially that our tutors told us that the Unit 7 task can be in a form of a exercise we will have to develop.

Thinking about techniques I would like to use for this project.

Researching about the machinery and factories made me think of knitting machines. The garments are produced much quicker than normally with traditional methods of hand knitting. Also the pieces made using them look like they were not made by human, all rows can be very neat and clean, I have never used one and I have seen it only during tutorials, so this would be a great challenge for me and a new field for experimentation. I would need acess  to workshops, so I have to consider this in my action plan.

Looking at workflow pages of other students that were recommended to us on the presentation helped me to organize the idea for writing possible project topics next to images.

Evaluation of this stage of the process:

What went well?

I started to gather visual references to my project. It is quite early now before we have to hand in the draft, so it is an advantage for me at this point.

How can I move from now?

Keep researching the issue of mass production and pollution. How do people changed their environment with their technologies and machines? I would like to relate this topic to a broader audience andnot stay focused just on my home town, although I think it is a good start.

© Julia Labis, all rights reserved