We started the day, being paired up with a partnered each pair was given a quote. Mine was - 'The span of a man's outspread arms is equal to his height.'- Leonardo Da Vinci
My partner and I began to break down the quote and discuss all of our ideas. The first question that came to my mind, when I read it was- "Is that really true?" We put down our ideas onto our mind map, and I wanted to try it myself to check whether or not its true. However on further discussing our views, we considered many perspectives. I thought of the fact that our height is something that we are born with, it's an 'aspect' of the body that we have no control over, yet we are judged by it. However it is not possible to judge the span of a person's 'outspread' arms unless, he chooses to open them- thus, giving control one the control over his height. Another aspect that I felt that was associated with the given quote was 'what you sow, is what you reap' the visual I got from it was the wider you spread your arms, the taller your height will be.
We also thought of taking a gender based approach, being two girls having to address a man's quote. We thought of making two scales to compare the results of the quote with men and women. Another visual that came to my mind was the jesus christ cross, however, my partner disagreed with the religious- based approach and we decided to begin experimenting.
We decided to begin our project in a rather straight-forward way, as the quote suggested. My partner and I went out and I laid down on the pavement while she traced my body with my arms spread out. Other than my awaited excitement to check the accuracy of the quote, laying down on the pavement in the cold while people asked if I was alright was an experience that I enjoyed all together.
My partner and I came across a few conflicts in our ideas and a little difficulty in communicating, but at the end, we were able to agree on the direct approach to what the quote meant, keeping it in its purest form and testing Da Vincis's facts.
We decided to trace bodies as a form of interaction, in order to challenge the term- 'standardisation'. After our tutorial we further developed that idea. We wanted to focus on the uniqueness and individuality of a person, rather than separating and categorising our audience in to two concrete groups. According to Da Vinci's conclusions:
- Length of hand to elbow is 1/4th of the height
- Width of his shoulders is 1/4th of his height
- Length of the hand is 1/10th of his height
- Length of the foot is 1/7th of his height
This was our first trigger to this concept. We realised how measurements were so standardised and precise not giving way to any exceptions, faults, or even natural abnormalities. People used such standardised measurements and ruthlessly judged themselves as well as others based on such standards.
We planned on setting our location at King's Cross campus behind the before the barricade. Our first option was a tourist site like oxford street, but considering the fast paced at which people function, we realised not many would agree to lay down and have their body traced for a few minutes. Where as kings cross would have a variety of audience from tourists, to little kids, adults and most importantly students- who would agree to spend a few minutes laying down and participating in our project. We also took into consideration the cold weather, and possibility of rain which made is want a covered location for our large-scale paper for the interaction. Thus, kings cross seemed like the perfect fit.
Our interaction started in the morning, we spread out our long sheet of paper and a small sheet explaining our project. We we realised people were hesitant and not willing to participate in the beginning, we had people raising their eyebrows and wondering what we were trying to do, until a man finally approached us and agreed to lay down. However, within no time we drew attention of so many people that our paper was filled by the end of it.
Our aim was to defy the norms of standards and the manner in which people measure themselves and others based on global units and compare it to 'set standards' created by society. We used our interaction to collect body traces of people and encourage them to create their own 'standard unit of measurement similar to da vinci's list of facts. Thus spreading the idea of embracing the uniqueness and individuality of each person.
We asked people to highlight a part of their body that they wished to use as their own 'standard measurement' making it exclusive to their own body. We had people highlight, what according to them was their best part f their body. Some highlighted their finger, Hair, Calves, and even earlobe. We explained our idea as a way of measuring height based on their choice, for example one maybe 25 earlobes, or 30 fingers
Towards the end, we noticed how children enjoyed our activity a lot more and used it as a play ground to draw themselves and use colours to express themselves. Even though, our aim did not cater to that age group, they set a live example of what we were trying to communicate through our project. At that age their innocence does not allow size and numbers to differentiate among people, they remain oblivious to the standards that society creates with numbers.
After our presentation, Most of the feedback we received was the fact that our final outcome and documentation was unclear. We then decided to highlight the final and chosen races in our own ways.
I further attempted to collect the chosen standards that people chose, without hindering the pure and original form, I used tracing paper to outline the results and stuck them in my sketchbook.