Crow Journal 14

07 / 06 / 2023

Thoughts about crows, sightings, encounters, communication ... 
I am now coming into the final weeks of this research project and I want to take a moment to pause and evaluate. I feel as though the research has so far been extremely interesting and taken me in directions I wasn’t expecting. Perhaps, one of the most pleasing things is that I feel I have learned more about how I can conduct research.

In earlier research projects, including during education, I felt often as though I was going through the motions. Kind of doing what was expected of me. This was often quite successful looking from the outside, but on the inside, it felt kind of hollow and I felt kind of lost. And the end result didn’t really lead anywhere. I think this kind of research could be classified as knowledge accumulation for display. That’s not very kind and it was often more than that too, but it’s a useful label. 

This research phase has been quite different and has been characterised through research by doing and research by collaboration. With this method, I no longer feel as though I am going through the motions. The most interesting parts of the research, too, where I feel I have really learned are those areas where I have involved other people. Namely, talking to Chris about research methods (he’s a genius), sending out the crow questionnaires, and also getting feedback from people about the third draft of the script for The Crowboy.

Interestingly, doing and collaboration are the two hallmarks of my making process, so I don’t know why I’m so surprised why it works well for research too. We live and learn. 

At this ‘home strait’ stage of the research, I still feel excited and I feel I have learned some very specific things about my practice and how to make performance. This is much better than simply accumulating knowledge in a Wikipedia kind of way (though, obviously, that also happens as a side thing and it’s also very satisfying).

Two last things to note:

1) It’s extremely lovely working with others when there is no obligation around timeframes and content. I wonder if this very free and giftlike way of working can have more of a place in my main working processes. Of course, with the caveat, that if people are working they should be paid.

2) I still need to make the bloody crow costume :-) I’m going to set aside a day for that in the studio.