Final Reflection: A P.R.O.C.E.S.S

A process meets no end. I feel like throughout the INTD 288 course this is an idea that has been contested, stressed, exemplified, and challenged repeatedly. If there is anything I have taken away from this course, it would be the importance and significance of processes. Process is interdisciplinary in that it can be found in almost any subject as well as applied in almost any field. In class, we applied process in many different disciplines including art, philosophy, literature, and mathematics. In each discipline we were able to both analyze and debate the ways in which process applied in Steve Prince’s work. Steve Prince himself often stressed the importance of process when creating his works. He once said, “It is not so much about what is being made— it’s about the process. It’s the community working together.” But what constitutes a process? Process, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is a “continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner”. The reason I chose this definition above others is because it says nothing about the end of a process. Many believe that a process leads to an endpoint, but as we discussed in a class with David Levy, this doesn’t always hold true. Almost anything one does involves a process, and the process of getting to a point, literally or figuratively is almost always more significant then actually getting there.

In the very beginning of the course, when Steve Prince visited Geneseo for Urban Garden, I was given the opportunity to meet him and discuss with him its significance and how I could contribute to the Garden. I remember standing there in the Kinetic Gallery feeling overwhelmed as he then proceeded to explain with great detail the process of creating Urban Garden. It was almost too much detail. Steve Prince explained how to contribute to Urban Garden and yet the only worries going through my head were about what my contribution would look like. While I didn’t realize this at the time, I was so focused on my end goal, that I was ignoring the process. As I continued to go through the semester however, through every class I was able to understand why process in a way matters more than the end goal, and how this idea is repeatedly applied both interdisciplinary and in Steve Prince’s art.

There are many points throughout the semester where we focused on on a type of process and how these processes, often interdisciplinary relate to Steve Prince’s work. We had David Levy come in and speak with us about philosophical process; through our work with Professor Nicodemi we indirectly learned about mathematical process; and now, looking back I think Joe Cope shared with us in his class important aspects of the writing process.However, out of all of these lessons, there were two that really helped to define and shape my understanding of the significance of process. The first, naturally, was the class with Cynthia Hawkins. I actually discussed this class in one of my blog posts this semester. Professor Hawkins runs the Lederer Gallery on campus and she spoke to us about her job as Gallery director as well as the process of creating an exhibit. Like almost all things, these exhibits don’t happen by magic. They take time, planning, and a continuous effort. In other words, a process is needed to make sure these exhibits run as smoothly as possible. Professor Hawkins described this process for the class, detailing how she gets her ideas for an exhibit, speaks to respective artists/parties, and then often negotiate payments for having specific pieces displayed in the gallery. Part of this process also entails choosing dates as well as ordering refreshments for the Opening reception as well. What’s the significance of this? Well in all that Dr. Hawkins described not once did she mention a sense of finality or ending. The process, may slow down at some points but never really finishes as throughout the exhibit, several steps have to be taken to make sure if continues to run smoothly, and the exhibit must be taken down at some point, process repeats. And this is why Dr. Hawkins said that the process of creating her exhibits is perhaps the most important part of her job.

Another class that stood out to me in regards to defining the significance of process and establishing its lack of finality was one taught by Garth Freeman. Garth came to class and showed us the process of making artwork. I feel like this class was the one that really helped me to understand process in regards to Steve Princes work because we all were able to experience the process first had. Garth bought in supplies to class and we were all given the opportunity to work together to create lithographs. According to the diverse knowledge of Wikipedia, “Lithographs are mono prints using Plexiglas, acrylic paint, found materials, and paper. Mono prints are original artworks created through a printmaking process but cannot be exactly duplicated, thus each print is a one of a kind.” Notice the words, “a printmaking process’ and “cannot be exactly duplicated”. I feel like those two characteristics of lithographs make them a prime example in understanding how process shapes a work and lacks a sense of end. When Garth gave us the go ahead to start making our lithographs, my group followed his instructions without really thinking about the final lithograph. For me, this was mainly because I had no idea what a lithograph was supposed to look like. Because of this, we put uttermost attention in pouring the paint onto the glass in layers, covering it in a sheet to create our first lithograph. By the time we created our fifth lithograph, something became obvious. This lithograph making process essentially held no end, because with every print a new image was formed, there was never truly a final— aha this is it—- image. That is when I truly understood what David Levy spoke about in our class about philosophy. I truly understood how processes lack definitive ends and how because of this, the uttermost attention should be placed on the process itself.

So now what? I understand now how in everything the process matters the most because endings are fluid. But why does this matter? Like I said earlier, there is a process in practically anything. Whether it be planning an exhibit, applying for colleges, or just learning a new topic in class; all of these things involve some level of continuous action taking place in a definitive matter. As such, it is super important that less focus is placed on what may or not be ‘the end’ and more emphasis is placed on making sure all steps of the process are done with care and commitment. This is what I challenge myself to do from now on: recognize that nothing truly comes to and end and as such I will put my all every step of the way. I am glad that I was able to take this away from this course and I strongly believe that making these interdisciplinary connections contributed greatly to my understanding of process and The Art of Steve Prince.

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