taipei 02
sapporo 02
tokyo 02
berlin 02
sapporo 01
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tokyo 01
new york 01
tokyo 00

october 25-30, 2001

Each day of the workshop gives me enough to ruminate over for years. Each day is so dense with ideas and inspirations, its difficult to digest it all, let alone put it in some type of cohesive format to post online! I will be able to add much, much more to the site within the weeks after the workshop is complete…it will take me that long to really go through my notes and images and to have a chance to fully reflect upon the experience. So in the meantime I will continue to post some hastily written text and quickly edited images...

To summarize the past few days, there have been some intense conversations as a result of the critiques. These critiques are not like the ones you might think of from art school, where often the critique dissolves to purposeless personal criticism…there is no right or wrong with how anyone has ever done their work, the crits are not about making value judgments on peoples work. They are about conversation. You respond to the brief in the manner you see fit, you bring your work in, share it with the group and everyone has a chance to comment and learn from what you did. That's all there is too it. You learn so much by seeing how each person responds personally to the same problem.

Besides long and intense critiques, there was the Tomato Seminar over the weekend, Steve has been giving his business lecture in the evenings, and we had a drawing workshop at one of the parks in the hills surrounding Sapporo. The business talks really helped to shed some light on the esoteric topic of running a creative business. I will share more notes and thoughts from this lecture later.

One of the great things about the longer workshops is that not only does everyone get a chance to know one another better, the depth and intensity of the conversations seem to be affected as well. During the past two days, some of the talks have gone from a critique of the 'draw the internet' project set by Joel to a rather lengthy discussion about the meaning of the word information and how it may often be misused in our culture. Some of the other topics that somehow became relevant to the conversation being had was the history and effects of typefaces in medieval europe and the reason why everyone still believes in single point perspective as a model of representation.

We had a three day holiday during the course of the workshop which gave everyone time to reflect and relax. That is, when they were not working on the projects that were assigned over those days. The projects? These ones were particularly interesting and perplexing, at least to me. The most straight forward one was to follow a stranger in the street, take their photo and observe how they dress, their mannerisms, what they are doing. Based on that information write about their character and write about their future. The other 3 projects (inter-related?) were to create work using 1000 colors, 100 lines and 10 words.

Having the workshop in Sapporo has been really wonderful. Besides having fantastic food everyday for lunch and dinner, I think people are able to focus a bit more than Tokyo perhaps. When you have the workshop in a busy mega city, there are so many other things craving your attention that you might find yourself spending less time than you'd like on the work. In laid back, human scale Sapporo, you find yourself less distracted by the environment and more focused on the projects.

It's hard to believe that there is only two more days of the workshop left. I would think that is a bit of a relief from all the work that we have been doing, but on the contrary the workshop ending means the real work begins. The real work and challenge of the workshop comes once it is complete, and you have to return to your normal daily routine, whatever that may be. Hopefuly you have made new friends, enjoyed yourself in the place of the workshop and are full of fresh ideas and insights on your work and your world.