I got given a task to do for assignment 2, this involved doing a presentation about either:
• Ageing population
• International culture in the UK
• Rural life
• City regeneration
• Ownership and property
None of these topics deeply interested me, but I’m required to do a 10 minute presentation on one of these as a overall topic, and locate a smaller niche within it. The assignment requires me to do a digital presentation instead of speech, so I must indulge myself in this task using different digital media that will display an interesting narrative. I’m expected to contextualize my theme with knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary photographic practices, while displaying critical analysis of concepts and using a range of technical processes within digital media. Initially I came up with the idea of showing my presentation in the form of a documentary that allows the audience to explore my theme and come to the conclusion that I have ultimately located. However, I’m sure after undertaking research it will open the door to other processes to display my ideas.
Two of the topics interested me the most because of their accessibility and universal interest. I felt that they could be best explored because of their historical background.
Cultural traditions that extend beyond national boundaries
The science, art, and business of cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock; farming.
I think that agriculture will be an interesting topic to explore because of its evolution in the digital age. However, international culture in the UK has blossomed over the last century, and to explore the accommodation of different cultures would be interesting to explore.
Initial research on these two topics has highlighted certain photographers that would fit into each category:
(The Photo Book)
(The Photo Book)
After doing this research about photographers and thinking about what topic would be the best to use, I decided on Agriculture because its broad and has a strong history. Furthermore, the Binary between agriculture and digital is an interesting concept to explore.
So what is Agriculture and how will I conduct my research?
There was the ‘Agriculture Reveloution’ from the 15th Century till the 19th Century where civilization developed ways of keeping and improving the arable land in Great Britain. The major changes in the reveloution were the selective breeding of livestock; the removal of common property rights to land; and new systems of cropping, involving turnips and clover. Individuals such as Jethro Tull and Lord Townshend transformed English agriculture from a peasant economy to a thriving capitalist agricultural system. This revolution changed English culture and made living a lot easier. However, with the industrial revolution and the digital revolution, the British agricultural trading has become harder with conglomerate stores using new methods to price farmers out of the game. The true skill and effort of farmers has been ignored in the digital revolution, effecting the environment and making it harder to make strong profits on their trade.
I need to find a niche within agriculture in order to get the best results I can for my presentation. Therefore I’ll need to read books like;
-‘The Vertical Farm, Feeding the World in the 21st Century’ – Dr Dickson Despommier
-‘Deconstructing Digital Natives: Young People, Technology, and the New Literacies’ – Michael Thomas
-‘Darwinian Agriculture:How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture’ – R. Ford Denison
-‘Designing Urban Agriculture: A complete guide to the Planning, Design, Construction, Maintenance, and Management of Edible Landscapes’ – April Phillips
-‘Nature (Essay)’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I feel that after referencing these texts, I will know a lot more about what I want to do and it will make me a lot more confident about the presentation. However, I feel that articles will provide more solid learning points about agriculture, so its also import to refer to more sources to widen my knowledge. Documentary films that will inform me about agriculture and provide inspiration on how I could undertake my presentation, so they will be a valuable asset in my research as well.
Truck Farm (2011) – Ian Cheney
‘Truck Farm’ is a whimsical, musically-narrated, documentary film about urban agriculture. Filmmaker Ian Cheney (KING CORN, THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE, THE CITY DARK) planted a 1/1000th-acre farm in the back of his 1986 Dodge pick-up-truck in the spring of 2009, after coming to New York City and lacking any other place of his own to grow food. Using green-roof materials, heirloom seeds, and a healthy dose of optimism and humor, Ian created a mobile community farm that yielded a wide range of vegetables and led to the discovery and exploration of other creative, quirky, community-based agriculture efforts all over the city. Written by Wicked Delicate Films
Life and Debt (2001) – Stephanie Black
Documentary look at the effects of globalization on Jamaican industry and agriculture.
After undertaking this research, I’d have to scout the local area for farms, farmers markets and experts who can give me their interpretations on the theme and hopefully participate in the filming of my presentation. Furthermore, it would be ideal to find picturesque locations to do with agriculture that could be used as b-roll to overlay the sound.