Collective Journey is an exploration of collective imagination. It consists two hand-crafted books full of etchings and collective stories. The written content of the final books was created through a half year long open collaboration on a social media platform. The collaboration revolved around 10 different words and images proposed by myself, which triggered responses from 39 people of over 9 different nationalities.
The idea to explore collective imagination came from the personal interest in the relation between image and its interpretation. The internet and specifically social media platforms allowed me to do this at a much greater scale and speed than it would have been possible in any other way. The multitude of responses on the social media platforms enabled me to create much more diverse and conceptually stronger images, while for the other part of my project it has provided the base for much more ‘colourful’ stories to be born. In effect, through this work I have been able to push the boundary of graphical story-telling and image interpretation, while at the same time exposing one of the oldest printmaking techniques to a much wider audience.
I would also like to point out that this endeavour brought the two contrasting worlds together and has made an attempt to fully exploit this new interrelation. While the digital world is intangible and fast-paced, the technique chosen for the illustrations - etching and aquatint – is tactile and time consuming. Nevertheless, the fast-paced world of the internet allowed for an unexpected outcome for my collective stories, which perfectly reflects the nature of the printmaking technique chosen. As Freud noted, ‘With etching there’s an element of danger and mystery. You don’t know how it’s going to come out. What’s black is white. What’s left is right.’
Lastly, I would like to summarize the format of the project. It consists two different parts – word interpretation and image interpretation. I have set up a social media platform account allowing people to contribute to the Collective Journey by writing a sentence or two interpreting a number of given words and images (images were my own interpretation of the words I have provided for the collective stories). Through this, I have once more tried to connect the two different worlds: contemporary digital way of storytelling, and the old, time-consuming book art and printmaking. The two techniques are different and yet share the most excit¬ing part in common: unexpected outcome.