By trade, I’m an artist so I am a very visual and tactile when it comes to learning. Since everything is online learning new skills, like coding, have been kind of difficult for me. Recently in CHI we got into groups and started working on our first rapid development project. My group proposed a site that uses an interactive map that people can explore to learn about the history of objects from history museums that focus on minorities history, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Birmingham Civil Rights Center and the District 6 Museum. A lot of time the history that is focused on or taught is very whitewashed and the main the point of this map is to give minorities a chance to explore their history, specifically with objects. For me this idea is more about making that history more concrete. Working on this project is really fun and I’m excited to actually make something with code, but there are some point of coding that are a bit more difficult for me just because I can’t see what my group members are doing as we work together and I’m still learning how it all works.
Despite that, I have found that learning code is a welcomed distraction right now. A few weeks ago I finished and installed my second year show. My work is focused on Black history and the Black experience and with everything that is happening right now, I am not short of source material to pull from. But the thing of that is, having all that information and start to be overwhelming. Being Black in America is hard enough, and then I have to constantly delve into the history of what we’ve been through and how that shaped the world for us today. Then there’s the factor of trying to find the motivation to work on pieces but also having to work in new mediums. Usually I paint in oils but that’s really difficult to do in my home. Somedays everything can just exhausting and because of COVID-19 I don’t have the same options that I use to to get walk way and forget about everything for a while. In a weird way, coding has helped me have more moments in my life to just breath. I don’t have to read the news, I don’t have to look at old photos or try to find first hand accounts of such and such injustice. I can just make sure everything is in the right spot and the end product works like it should.
In short, coding is difficult but it’s quite rewarding. There is a special type of joy that you get when you finally a piece of code working after multiple errors. Low key its helping ,me take much needed mental breaks.