Dirty Laundry (2014)

Dirty Laundry is an internet-based digital book comprising of 12 short stories written to illustrate and accompany 12 photographic triptychs. To download it (iPad only), visit our library.

Dirty Laundry is free to download, but you can support our work by making a donation via Paypal. 

The process:  Samantha posted a set of three photographs on a Cargo Collective web gallery, at which point  Viccy had a fortnight to create an original piece of writing in response and post it on the gallery under the photographs. During this time Samantha concepted, shot and selected the next set of photographs, creating an iterative relationship between the growing body of work.

We were not allowed to talk to each other about any aspect of creating the set until each one was finished and online. Instead we posted separately on the two.5 blog after each set was completed as a first draft, recording the details of creating the photographs and the stories. The posts also include the original first draft of each story and other photographs from the shoot.

Once all twelve sets were complete as drafts we edited and refined them and created an app to hold the final pieces as a digital exhibition, designed to best represent the relationships between the photographs and the stories, as well as the relationships between the sets as a whole.

Background: in May 2011 we decided to explore collaborating creatively, wanting to extend our individual practice and to co-create a piece it wouldn’t be possible to make separately. Having discussed what we felt to be our strengths we decided on an image/text call and response, having the texts illustrate the images to subvert the hierarchy that assumes images illustrate text.

A key part of the collaboration was charting our individual and collective processes. We chose the title Dirty Laundry  to reflect that we were recording this in a public space; we blogged on the two.5 website about the creation of each image/text set, recording the details of how they were created and responding directly to each other’s questions and comments. This was shaped by living on different continents; it was not possible for us to work together in person to watch each other working, and being in different time zones made it difficult to talk directly after creating each piece.

We turned these constrictions into central elements of the collaboration, constructing a loose set of rules that disallowed talking about our individual processes until a set was finished. This pushed us to  look differently at the other’s work and consider our own work in a different light. The blog became the space in which we could record our first thoughts, our triumphs and our concerns. As the weeks went by it also became the space where the rules were clarified, the effect of collaborating on our lives and other creative work were noted, and captured how the piece developed.

Digital tools were integral to our methods of production, incorporating various software as it became freely available and financially viable – such as individual and shared email accounts, Viber, Facetime, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive, Dropbox, WordPress, Cargo Collective – to create digital studio techniques. This allowed us to share and discuss work efficiently and conveniently, despite the geographic constraints on co-production.

During the two years of primary work on Dirty Laundry we produced twelve sets, each titled by a thumbnail photograph and containing three vertically-displayed photographs from a photo shoot staged by Samantha, illustrated with a short story written by Viccy. In late November 2012 we received an International Artist Development grant from the Arts Council joint with the British Council to support our work together. This allowed for three ten-day trips to work together in person to edit the sets and decide how best to display them as a final artwork. The last of these trips took place in March 2013, at which point we finished editing the pieces and began working with a developer to create a suitable way of exhibiting it in the digital realm.

The result was On The Same Page: an innovative app template that displays image/text collaborations digitally. We launched an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund for final production costs for the app, and passed out goal two days before the campaign ended in March 2014. This allowed us to build the template with ADQ Design, and Dirty Laundry was the first piece of creative work to be published using On The Same Page in October 2014.

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