When it came time to hold our own session, I could tell that the class was eager to begin creating their own material. We had originally planned on leading 3 exercises... we could only fit one! "More time!" the class asked. I felt good knowing everyone was overflowing with ideas--- i'd love to hear what people think of the session weeks on and how it helped their writing, analysis, or research.
I found the session useful myself, and i created two good poems myself from data i collected at RAW artworks in Lynn. I gathered business cards from inside the art pieces done by high school aged kids in the program, with their own words on both sides.
The first is a concrete found poem taken directly from the artists' quotes on the cards:
I then reflected on this and created a haiku that expressed the most true statements as they struck me:
grow up, build me up
particle in a dust storm
see me as a whole
In small groups we shared our poems with others and gathered their reactions. This is just as important as the creation of the poems, as the reactions to the data is data itself. here are some of the things they mentioned:
carries powerful emotions
chaos/ cry from the chaos
pressure to 'grow up'
judged for that moment
What was most striking to me was how they picked up on this notion of inside/outside; a theme that RAW specifically discussed in one of their programs; in fact, i think a whole exhibit was called inside/outside. I was pleased they caught on to the idea of internal chaos that I wanted to convey.
Then again, how do I know what the artists at RAW meant to communicate on these cards? Would they think my poems express the same? Perhaps not: when reflecting upon reflections, the original intent and images can get distorted over time.Also, the opinions of those doing the reflections begin to take an effect as well. It's not like a mirror reflecting a mirror and the images go on and on: then, the image is a perfect copy, never distorted or altered over time. This work isn't like that, the researcher, reader, reflector, the writer... they can't not help but project their own feelings as they respond to the data they collect. No one is ever a blank slate- a perfect mirror.
My project is a self-reflective journey that I hope will help me develop methods of exposing my own opinions and processes so that I can record them as they change. If I am more aware of my own reflections, then I can track how my research changes me over time. In the future, I will be working in communities where I will have opinions, biases, and judgments: this is fact. If I can become aware of these, in a methodical way, and record them, I can better see how I change, or rather how the community changes me. Perhaps I can transfer these skills to observing changes in others as well.