What is a monster? What do you associate with Frankenstein’s monster? How is he misunderstood? How can your idea be shocking and who are you trying to shock? Can you make something new by combining old things together? Can you use your needle and thread to stitch the limbs of cadavers together (metaphorically speaking of course)?
These were some of the questions and provocations the Battersea Agents were given in our Monster session, moving away from the comfortable realm of avatars, into the realm of the grotesque and powerful. At this stage in the methodology the Agents are introduced to this concept in order to make them think outside the box, looking beyond what they know, to move away from ideas that are replicating preexisting models and instead construct something new.
The mention of cadavers above is actually an important one. Originality in some senses is not needed, at least the idea of starting from scratch isn’t, in fact borrowing and stealing ideas is essential. During the workshop the Agents were asked to take apart their idea into it’s component parts, imagining it was a watch, disassembled into springs and cogs and hands and screws, they made an inventory of each different feature of their idea. After this they viewed each others’ dissembled ideas and were given random features to create monsters, new shocking-startling ideas, they combined these features to produce a new Form, one not seen before. The results were incredible!
The most note-worthy transformation was Zennae-Kay’s. Before the session it wasn’t obvious where she was heading, her desire not instantly manifesting into an idea as some people’s do. However, half-way through the session, following this exercise she came up with the idea of sharing girl’s stories in print an online, creating a book and a digital publication alongside it, stemming in part from her desire to create positive spaces and new modes of interactions for females who put each other down and get caught up in slagging each other off. This combined with the features thrown out in the Monster session led to her producing a torrent of ideas, the stand-out one mentioned above as well as a website with profiles for girls listing their skills, hobbies and passions and acting as a forum to get them employment, work experience and opportunities based on their interests. It was incredibly impressive and amazing to see her and the methodology combine forces to forge something new.