Saturday, 11 May 2013

SiouxWIRE Sensory Interviews

At the moment, interviews are everywhere which is fine for me because not all of them are terribly good. Still, with sites like Formspring about and questions being thrown to and fro, it does throw up some problems. As an example, there is Björk who I have been doggedly pursuing for an interview for many years and what does she do? She puts a Q&A on her site. It was bad enough that she's done dozens if not hundreds of interviews. It got me to start thinking about how I approach people who have been interviewed to death. Intelligent questions are fine but I thought there has to be a better way.

Then it hit me. Rather than ask questions, why not ask artists to react to images and sound? Let them share their reactions to sensory inputs that apply directly to their craft. It seems a pure way of going about an interview which has the potential to illicit more unpredictable responses and potentially something more illuminating and poetic. I've started this experiment with upcoming interviews some of which are a hybrid of the standard interview with some sensory questions and some entirely sensory in the form of pictaviews and sonoviews.

For those who are suffering "interview fatigue", this has been something of a boon and the response has been fantastic. For me, I'm very excited to see how this will develop. And I was hoping that it would to a certain extent save time in writing questionnaires but it doesn't. I still do my research into the respondent and finding the right imagery and sounds as well as getting the right permissions required for those falling outside of creative commons takes about the same amount of time (if not longer) as putting together a list of questions. In time, I'll have a better idea of what does and does not work and it should get easier.

My preferred interview method is in person or by phone as this enables me to enjoy a more Cigarettes & Coffee kind of atmosphere that's more relaxing for both parties and tends to produce the best results. That said, I think I will integrate sensory interview elements into these conversations as well though for the moment, it's strictly for postal and email interviews.

The big question is whether you, the reader, will find it interesting. Recently, you probably noticed that I no longer post images I find on SiouxWIRE as that works much better via Tumblr and Pinterest. In fact, there's an absolute tsunami of interesting stuff pouring out of every orifice of the internet. The whole idea around the revamp of this site is to differentiate it from those other sources and provide added value. To achieve this, I've upped my game as far the interviews go and this includes the sensory interview experiment  Only time will tell how this pans out but as the interviews are published in the coming weeks, I would be interested to hear what you think about the new format.

Many thanks,

P.S. Your recent support is appreciated. I've also just set up an official Facebook page HERE where a "like" is always welcome.

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