CAHOOTS Keeping up momentum collaborative project (April 2021)

CAHOOTS Keeping up momentum collaborative project (April 2021)

Learning Objective for exam submission 

LO1: Produce convincing visual products that communicate your intentions, using accomplished techniques in complex and unfamiliar environments, with minimal supervision from your tutor.

The CAHOOTS collaborative has an oblique relationship to ‘Visible Invisibility,’ but our collaboration is based on the idea that hidden ‘powers’ drive external events, which is a key theme of my BOW. I contributed to that idea, supplied found content and audio and produced and edited the film for our group.

Link to Learning blog entry

24th April 2021

Meeting Format

This was a two-part OCA sponsored and led project with collaborative working of small groups composed of students from different OCA disciplines. Diana Ali (tutor) and Helen Rosemeir (student) organised and led the workshops. 


Who was in my group?

Lesley Brown OCA – Textiles

Anthony Stewart OCA – Illustration

Anna Pike – Painting

Morris Gallagher – Photography

Group Task 

  • Build a story based on your theme
  • Each person is responsible for a part
  • Together make a whole story.
  • What is your genre (serious, fiction, non-fiction, humorous?)
  • Characters, plot, scenery, props, actions?
  • Each part is represented by an artwork
  • Possibilities- 3D, sculptural, painting, mix media, drawing, collage, conceptual, text, spoken word, performative, photography

Themes used by the groups

1. Accomplices 

2. The Secret Group (Our allocated theme)

3. Conspirators

4. Partnership

5. Marriage

Activities during the meeting

There were three periods of working during the first meeting where we shared current work and generated ideas in response to our theme of ‘The Secret Group.’ 

Images and ideas presented during the meeting

Anna presented a piece of bone and similar homemade bone-like structures. I smashed a small table to pieces with a sledgehammer. I photographed work shown by Lesley. My images made during this meeting were all taken with an iPhone using filters to distort the images, one of which was a textile image shown by Lesley Brown.

Decisions made about developing the story

We agreed to produce a story using four hidden elements of power – Algorithm, Alexa, Graphy, and Soundbite. ‘Algorithm’ was an object based on a textile form by Lesley that illustrated the fact that algorithms lie beneath much digital image-making and other aspects of life. ‘Alexa’ is a digital assistant in every home, listening to us and speaking into our lives. ‘Graphy’ is a reference to the graphs shown in the Covid-19 briefings and how they can appear meaningless. ‘Soundbite’ is my contribution; I’ve learned that sound is normally the dominant part of any film and wanted to do something experimental using found media.

We agreed on some principles/decisions

  • It would be called ‘What lies beneath’ the appearance of things/power/images
  • We would use all of the images produced and shown during the meeting as well as new or found images for our story
  • The film would be short 3-4 minutes
  • Feedback could be in the film
  • We would play to everyone’s strengths and let each person decide how much they wanted to contribute to the final product


Each person produced something

  • Lesley – ‘Algorithm:’ She produced some ‘stop-go’ animation of a felt object called ‘Algorithm’ 
  • Morris – I imported several sounds and images into a PremierPro file and Lesley’s animation into our first film
  • Anthony – worked on a graphic based on HMV
  • Anna – her graphic illustration
First film

The next version of the film had contributions for Alexa and Graphy from Anthony and Anna respectively. Lesley had re-shot Algorithm and I had introduced a happy opening sequence to set a contrasting scene for ‘what lies beneath.’

It was this film that was discussed at an online meeting. The key decisions were made in this meeting.

  • The film is OK
  • Graphy should have less or no signage so that we do not dictate what people think about graphy – leave it more open to interpretation
  • The WLB graphic (Alexa) needs other images or perhaps Alexa talking – I agreed to record something suitable from Alexa.
  • We could extend Algorithm’s contribution – especially her ‘red ball’ figure
  • Lesley would look at collating our feedback which we would send to her
  • The feedback could be on the film

Lesley used ‘Algorithm’ to present the feedback. I added it to the end of the film. This learning is a highly innovative piece of work and I think the best thing in the film.

The final film is here.

The code is the degree institutions initials in capitals – it is not public as there are some unresolved licensing issues here.

A summary of our collective learning – from the film

As a group: “Gelled quickly…organic…naturally evolved…had complementary skills…it was refreshing.”

Why did it work well: “Not precious…playful…

Challenge: “We challenged ourselves and did not stay safe… with an unsafe subject.”

A summary of my part in this collaborative project in relation to these learning objectives

  • The final presentation is very professional. My part was to contribute ideas, found visual and audio media and help shape this film so that it told an imaginative and effective story. It does that, and without supervision from a tutor.
  • There are complexities in collaborating with others. I suggested that the starter idea be about ‘hidden power,’ but it was the discusion with other team members that led us into talking about algorithms, graphical propaganda and Alexa. Even now I am hazy about who contributed what, but this written piece is an honest account of ‘who did what.’
  • I played to my strengths of film production using Premier Pro. I have only produced one other film in this module (about GP experiences of working from home) so it was good to use some of the techniques that I have learnt in previous modules and use my collections of links to find found media on image and sound databases.
  • I can see myself developing a collaborative project with one of these artists to construct an artwork based on my ‘Room’ images.