Sunday, November 6, 2016

What I've done so far, and possible future steps

On advising day when I spoke with John Colan about how seminar is going, and I mentioned that I felt a little stuck, he suggested making a list of everything I've looked at and done so far this semester, because it might guide me a little in what I want to do more of, or new directions to go in. I continue to index the photo albums and I'm planning to (hopefully) have a more fleshed out/designed index from at least a couple of the albums for Wednesday. But here is my list of things I've done and explored so far, and how I felt about them. (in no particular order)

Family Photo Albums - Looking through and indexing the family photo albums that seemed most relevant to me(because they contained family members I know/knew personally.) The indexing has sucked away some of the magic of these albums for me even though it does force me to look at them super carefully. I think it is going to be a good outcome when I finally get through it but it's a long dry process for now. I want to begin going through the albums with my family members to get more stories, memories, etc. from them. Make them fun again.

Reading about/looking at data visualizations - This was because I initially wanted to make some sort of data visualization that could show both data and stories/memories. I haven't abandoned this idea yet but I need more material for it.

Psychology Articles about Intergenerational Narratives - This was really interesting for me, I found out a lot of really interesting information about why telling family stories and history is actually important to kids' growth and development and how they function as adults as a result of it. I think one of these articles will be my reading for the class.

Articles about surprising implications of genetics/DNA - I did some reading and research about how phobias may be based on DNA because of trauma that has been passed down in genetic codes, rather than actual stories. Another article was about how traumatic memories can be passed to infants through smell from their mothers, even if the infants did not experience the trauma firsthand. I also learned about certain traits that are at least partially heritable including stress reactions, imagination, social closeness, and intro/extroversion.

DNA Test - I got a DNA test, just to have more data about my own genetics. I didn't find out anything too crazy or interesting but it was still a cool thing to do.

Pedigree charts/other charts that organize ancestry - I made a pedigree chart and made my own adjustments to it so that it was better organized for my own family. I plan to expand this to further back generations as well. It may serve as a sort of index eventually.

Collages about things important to my parents - For the hallway show I made collages about cultural sources that were important to my parents. This isn't directly related to my other work but it was an interesting process and allowed me to actually make something, which felt good.

Next, I plan to start going through the albums with my family members and gather more story/memory information. I will expand the ancestry chart, possibly making notations about interesting/confusing things that have happened along the way to make it look that way. Think about the whole families as collages thing, (what would this mean for my work? do more actual collages, write about it? etc.) Actually read some of the books John has given me that relate to what I'm doing since I still haven't done that. Look more at Maya Lin's work/writings. I think I want to figure out a way to incorporate some of the research I've done about why family history is important. So it won't just be people learning about my family and myself, they'll be able to draw parallels with their own families; and maybe learn things about families/ancestry in general.

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