Before I get going with this post it’s probably a good idea to mention that the original structure of the project has evolved a little over the past few days. Originally I had intended for us to conduct the fieldwork together before separating at the creative stage of visualisation in order to produce three separate visualisations of the site all based around the same information and interpretation from the fieldwork. The reasoning behind this of course was down to the fact that as part of my PhD research I want to be able to consider in detail the ways in which my collaborators Aaron and Kieran work and how their individual method engages them with the archaeology of the site. But I realised over the past few days that I already know a lot about the ways they both work just from observing Kieran kite flying and observing the way Aaron approaches and engages with sites when he visits them. I’ve discussed their previous projects in detail with them both and understand how their aims are reflected in their process and have an idea of how they manipulate their tools and technology to achieve their intended outcome.
I think remaining in an observational capacity could only take my research to a certain point. However, if we work collaboratively in both the fieldwork and towards the final outcome I have a much more involved understanding of the advantages, limitations and considerations involved in each approach.
We were up very early this morning to get down to Maeshowe for some photogrammetry and filming to use in our visualisation (we’ll explain that bit later!). Next we headed over to Skara Brae for a day of data collection, filming and phenomenological discussion. As project leader I, naturally, was the first to enter House 7 and conveniently for the others cleared all the cobwebs out of the entranceway…with my face.
Working together today towards a collaborative final outcome made me aware of a few things I hadn’t really considered before. For one I began to realise how our method of working together with a narrative in mind meant that our process or ‘work-flow’ was not linear like I’m used to. Collecting data around a narrative means that all the time you dip in and out of parts of the ‘pipeline’ and consider more experiential elements alongside the practical technicalities of data capture. I have to say this fieldwork is very different to anything I’ve experienced on projects before, it’s almost a luxury to do fieldwork purely for the purpose of a creative process, not as part of someone elses’ field methodology, be that as part of an excavation or survey. In all honesty I found it a little difficult to work out how to go about engaging with the site. As I already have the data for my contribution to the visualisation (the S10 laser scan and photogrammetry data) I was able to focus on engaging with the site and exploring ways of using that data to reflect my interpretations, but it took some getting into so I spent a little time doodling up a storyboard to get into the mindset…