I did my first day of the Jaaga residency today!

And at about 7pm I gave a short, hastily-prepared informal presentation of my work and background until now. It's something all resident artists have to do when they start. Its not really something I've done much before, and I wasn't 100% on how to do it.

The people watching were mainly other participants at Jaaga so I asked for feedback immediately afterwards - knowing I may have to give the same presentation again soon, and more publicly this time. I'm glad I asked now as the feedback was very useful.

  • I talked about my background as an agency programmer, and then talked about music compositions and installation artworks I had produced. It was suggested I could explain this progression, i.e. what were the motivations behind these changes?
  • I wasn't sure how to frame a tech-heavy background to a non-tech audience. It was suggested I could show a couple of website front-ends as visual aids and talk a little about what what the software did, by reference to software they may be familiar with, like blogger / wordpress.
  • For the later parts where I play video / media, I had a tendency to play a video and talk over it (!) and then skip onto the next video when I was done, without checking if the audience understood or needed more information. I also only offered scant clues to the context or concept behind each work.

For the last one about video, it was suggested I use the following process:

  • Talk first about the context and / or concept behind the work, before hitting play
  • Then play the media to illustrate what resulted from that context
  • Pause afterwards before continuing to the next project, and try to make people feel comfortable to ask questions

It's funny, the feedback I got seems obvious in hindsight - It's the same things I've thought watching some other people's presentations in the past. But it's somehow a different story when you're standing in front of people and you're not sure what they expect. At the end of the day you have to keep a conversation going which all parties are interested in. And you can do that by expressing a clear narrative, and offering opportunities for feedback into the process.

Looking forward to improving this process next time.