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#llconf2014 visual arts e portfolios & relationships


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Learners' relationships in class, and outside it, are important contributors to their self-presentation in e-portfolios as Visual Arts learners or performances in other roles.

I explore a cross-section of five e-portfolio examples from 29 learners. I describe the varied relationships and identities their choices reflect. Understanding these aspects is relevant for helping address a gap in research literature.

It is also important for educators to cater for in their design of e-portfolio syllabi. In particular, educators must do their best to ensure that e-portfolios do not simply amplify the privileges of richly-resourced learners or reflect the paucity of under-resourced ones.

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#llconf2014 visual arts e portfolios & relationships

  1. 1. Five „Visual Arts showcase‟ e-portfolios: amplifying learner PRIVILEGE or reflecting paucity … George‟s e-portfolio homepage 2012 Masibulele‟s e-portfolio homepage 2013 Gary‟s e-portfolio homepage 2012 Melissa‟s e-portfolio homepage 2013 Nathan e-portfolio homepage 2013 Melissa‟s deviantART homepage 20132014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 1 @travisnoakes PhD in Media Studies student, University of Cape Town, Centre for Film and Media Studies.
  2. 2. Medium being studied. The online portfolio exhibition super-genre has been used by many visual creatives since 2003, when self-publishing digital portfolios online became easy, efficient and inexpensive (for the well-resourced). CGI Society DeviantArt Example Number of portfolios* Deviantart 13 000 000 Carbonmade 393 450 Cgisociety 184 784 * Stats taken from these websites on the 16th of August, 2011 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 2 Behance
  3. 3. Profile description Profile image About button Portfolio title Contact details Areas of expertise SkillsFooter Artist. Date. Folder Name, Description Artwork Title Description Tags Client tags 1 ‘Home’ page template 3 ‘Artwork project folder‟ page template 2 ‘About’ page template (artist‟s profile) Carbonmade Artist. Date. Availability for freelance graphic Digital self-presentation and portfolio self-curation using Carbonmade as one‟s „virtual curator‟ Work button Creative’s name Portfolio title Footer Artist. Date. Footer Artist. Date. Prepared by @travisnoakes2014/04/16 3 4 ‘Search page results’ template IDENTITYSHOWCASE ARTWORKS & Folders of digitised artworks Carbonmade banner logo
  4. 4. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 4 SPECIALITIESRESEARCH ROLES &
  5. 5. Fieldwork: 2010 - 2013 My three year action research project explores 29 learners‟ e-portfolio use at an elite independent secondary school and at a less well-resourced „Arts and Culture focus‟ government one. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 5 Government school in AthloneIndependent school in Rondebosch
  6. 6. Action research supported sustained e-portfolio appropriation by independent secondary school learners (2010 – 12) 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 6 @school • One-laptop-per-learner • ICT training (school intranet) • Scanners and cameras • Wireless access • Poster design in Visual Arts • E-portfolio syllabus integration • ICT support @extra-curricular • Extra-mural societies • Learners often better resourced at home than at school (flip the class)
  7. 7. Aligned with a „National Curricular Statement‟ module. Appropriated to help learners improve their „Management and Presentation‟ skills. • „Visual Arts showcase electronic learning portfolio (e-portfolio)‟ meta-genre taught for two weeks each year; • Ultimate aim is to support matric-exhibition preparation. Screenshot of “Hui”‟s Carbonmade „homepage‟, November, 2010 Screenshot of Hui‟s Carbonmade „homepage‟, December, 2011 Screenshot of Hui‟s Carbonmade „homepage‟, May, 2012 Prepared by @travisnoakes2014/04/16 7
  8. 8. Two years later, action research on online portfolio use by government secondary school learners began (2012 – 13) 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 8 @school • One Khanya computer lab • No ICT training for Visual Arts learners • 1 scanner and teacher cameras • E-portfolio curriculum for volunteers @extra-curricular • Frank Joubert art school • Three learners preferred to use faster internet access on their mobile phones in the lab • Only three learners had regular home internet access to do e-portfolio work
  9. 9. Requirements for e-portfolio creation & related classroom issues Easy to underestimate the resource changes which e- portfolio creation and maintenance requires… Requirement Uninterrupted power Fast, reliable network Accessible software Black out Copper cable theft Local broadband cable failure Software virus infectionAppropriate hardware No swop-outs International broadband cable failure Intermittent power Timeous ICT support Router failure No traffic shaping Expensive to license sufficient copies UnstableDifferent by OS Suitable pedagogy No or insufficient policies Missing drivers Battery failure No guidelines No roadmap Slow warranty resolution Stopgap implementation Old, slow and unstableUnder-specification UnavailableProblem detection Notification No incentives No „teaching-with-technology‟ supportLimited budget Difficult to get a new password „New wine in old bottles‟ approach Different GUI by browser Additional scanners and cameras Inexperience with freeware Problems experienced at research sites (2010 – 2013):
  10. 10. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 10 Lots of data from four years of fieldwork… 1. E-portfolio lessons (30 independent and 12 government lessons); 2. Screenshots of e-portfolios at the independent school (in 2010, 2011, 2012) and the government school (in 2013); 3. Screenshots of Carbonmade‟s graphic user interface; 4. E-portfolio and out-of-class questionnaire feedback (from all 29 learners); 5. Individual interviews with 16 learners and both educators; 6. Research journal notes.
  11. 11. My PhD‟s main research questions Question 1. What choices do Visual Arts learners make in response to formal e-portfolio curricula? Question 2. How do Visual Arts e-portfolios and the genres of participation they reflect relate to the possibilities and constraints of learner circumstances? 11 For research updates, go to or follow @travisnoakes on Twitter Prepared by @travisnoakes2014/04/16
  12. 12. Potential contributions to knowledge  Explore learners‟ digital self-representation using e-portfolios and the specific relationships they manifest; - Describe how learners reproduce, transform or resist the self-representation as Visual Arts learners through choices in response to an emergent ‘Visual Arts e-portfolio showcase’ meta-genre over up to three years; - Describe the varied cultural fields and disciplinary identities that learners choose to portray and develop over two to three years; - Describe the Social Semiotic aspects of learners’ choices in relation to an emergent, disciplinary identity; - Highlight the important role of affect in digital self-representation through e-portfolios; - Highlight the neglected role of personal media communication ecologies (considerations for BYOD, mobile phones, broadband speed, et al.) 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 12
  13. 13. The long and winding theoretical road of my PhD… ✖ Usability testing ✖ Diffusion of Innovations Theory ✖ Use-In-Practice Methodology ✖ Social Network Theory ✖Activity theory ✖Genre and Multimodality Social Semiotics (genre, content analysis of resources used in multimodal choices) Cultural Theory (Symbolic Interactionism, [(habitus) + (capital) + field] = practice) Media Theory (describe digital self presentation & personal media ecologies) Prepared by Travis Noakes April 16, 2014
  14. 14. Positive disposition to a core visually creative self and complimentary aspects of identity 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 14 To achieve Visual Arts showcase e-portfolios requires many relationships student_site. Positive about the constraints of a „freemium‟ service: - 35 images, max. -Very limited „aesthetic self‟ -No social networking Positive relationship to the prescribed „virtual curator‟ software Self presentation (about page) 1. enabling students to practice creating disciplinary presentations of self Self curation of an oeuvre (folder and homepage) Curricular > drawing, painting & design mediums Extra-curricular > sculpture Disciplinary > Visual Arts learner Other visual cultural interests Non-disciplinary > other subjects, hobbies, relationships, likes and dislikes 2. enabling students to digitize and self curate their creative productions Appropriation > inspiration, youth interest Positive relationships to their educator‟s pedagogical priorities Access to high levels of economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital Relationships tp internet and ICT for digitisation - knowledge, access, use and support Relationships in accessing and using varied medias Holistic ID & creative showcase = Tangible symbolic capital Privacy concerns > undesirable audiences Reputation concerns > undesirable comparisons
  15. 15. Cultural Theory Making is connecting Formal education Cultural fields Habitus Social trajectory Disciplinary identities Classification Evolution of disciplinary identities - anchored or transitional Genres of- participation Creative production Friendship and Interest driven (cross-over) Feelings Choices for reproduction, extension, resistance and negation Genre Visual Arts showcase e-portfolio meta-genre and sub- genres Online portfolio super-genre ‘Presentational modality’ choices (truth to super-genre versus sub-genre) Restricted language Trajectory versus traversal Personal homepage genre Prescribed sub-genre Learners’ sub-genre response Disciplinary self re-presentation Self- representation (front stage) Frames Non-representation (backstage) Ongoing SSMC objectives & choices - Relationships - Anticipated outcomes - Audiences Visual Arts learner ID projection objectives Communication ecologies Social shaping Curricular appropriation Resource intensive fields/genres of participation Affordances of ‘participatory culture’, ‘Maker culture’ and ‘Connected Learning’ as constraints outside of richly resourced contextsAmplification of distinction Informal appropriation Formal media communication ecologies hardware software bandwidth S C H O O L S E L F Selfhood Forms of capital Educational and SymbolicEconomic, Social and Cultural Different contexts Time Theoretical perspectives combined to describe 14 case studies in detail Taste and distinction Digital self representation (collpased 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 15
  16. 16. Links from ‘drawing, painting or design' to other genres of creative production/ Visual Culture fields 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 16
  17. 17. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 17 Content analysis to frame 29‟s learner‟s multimodal choices 1. Defined constraints of the „virtual curator‟; the possible fields learners could enter. 2. Listed choices for all 29 learners in the fields for their e-portfolios at the end of curricula, each year. 3. Did a content analysis that aggregated choices into Social Semiotics‟ representational (i.e. oeuvre and identity) and communication (i.e. contact and copyright) categories. Question 1. What choices do Visual Arts learners make in response to formal e-portfolio curricula?
  18. 18. „Selfies, self and group portraits‟ (IS field site)
  19. 19. „Selfies‟ (GS field site)
  20. 20. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 20 Content analysis: representational aims Digital self presentation 1.Almost all learners chose to use a genuine identity („core self‟) 2.GS students show more variety (three pseudonyms and one philosophical statement) 3.Long self-descriptions of IS learners (9 -33 sentences) vs. GS (1 – 9 sentences) 4.Greater extra-mural involvement featured by IS learners (esp. in sport and cultural productions) 5.Differences in (sub-) genres featured in profile pictures between sites 6.Five GS learners did not upload portraits, two IS learners didn‟t. Showcase oeuvres a)> 19 images uploaded (and > 3 folders created) by average IS learner. b)< 14 images uploaded (and 1 folder created) by average GS learner. c)Resource-rich media used by 15 IS learners and 4 GS learners d)Graphic design and videography media often serve IS „distinction‟ e)Sub-genres often serve as GS markers of „distinction‟ f)No third-party artworks sampled by GS learners. g)Four IS learners linked to other portfolios, one GS did
  21. 21. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 21 Content analysis: communication aims Communication 1.A school email address is a marker of distinction; 2.13 students are keen to do freelance work (7 IS, 6 GS); 3.15 students did not add copyright statements and only six used the prescribed format. Overall… Visual Arts pedagogy and assessment strongly shape learners‟ choices; There is a wide variety in what individual learners do; no common „object‟ since learners source objectified cultural capital developed in many visual cultural fields; Limited use of irony or parody; Few examples of „participatory culture‟; To achieve e-portfolio showcase design (versus bricolage) requires extensive resourcing.
  22. 22. Genres of participation in creative production by independent school learners 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 22
  23. 23. Five varied examples Self-representation in Visual Arts e-portfolios 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 23
  24. 24. Five examples 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 24 George‟s profile image (2013) Masibulele‟s profile image (2013) Gary‟s profile image (2013) Melissa‟s profile image (2013) Nathan (2013)
  25. 25. Learners' identities and relationships in Visual Arts e-portfolio design Learners' relationships in class, and outside it, are important contributors to their self-presentation in e-portfolios as Visual Arts learners or performances in other roles. I explore a cross-section of five e-portfolio examples from 29 learners. I describe the varied relationships and identities their designs reflect. Understanding these aspects is relevant for helping address a gap in research literature. It is also important for educators to cater for in their design of e-portfolio syllabi. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 25
  26. 26. Unequal landscapes in digital self presentation and portfolio publication [(habitus) + (capital) + field] = practice) 1.Fields and Habitus (disposition) videographer, fine art (drawing and painting) exhibition curator, fashion designer, anime illustrator, visual arts learner 2.Economic capital Type of school attended & medias & digitisation tools & home internet access & mobile phone access 3.Cultural capital educator‟s syllabus & co-curricular societies & extra-mural learning 4.Symbolic capital Educator assessment & social trajectory 5.Social capital Staff-, parent-, classmate- & peer relationships 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 26
  27. 27. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 27 The e-portfolio‟s significance to Gary (case study 7) „Who produced it?‟ Gary with feedback from his educator and some from parents (both work in film) and peers. „For whom was it produced?‟ Gary produced it for an assessment audience only. „In what context was it produced?‟ Boarding house „Under what constraints was it produced?‟ Gary was frustrated that he could not upload videos to the free version of Carbonmade, nor customise his template to produce the „aesthetic self‟ that he wanted.
  28. 28. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 28 Case Study 3. Gary‟s homepage 2011 2012 „So, you have the three, three portrait faces. So that gave quite a cool effect and also... I don't know, Mr Rupert said that he would prefer if it's like that and I am not going to go against what he says, because I want marks...‟ (Int CG1, 6 November 2012, R32).
  29. 29. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 29 Case Study 3. „about‟ page 2012 „I would say that most, or some of the artwork does express my interests and if you look at my 'about page' there, there is a percentage of what is me... like what my interests are. And if you can what their interests are, you can see what they are like…‟ (Int1 CG1, 6 November 2012, R45).
  30. 30. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 30 Case Study 3. An „artwork project folder‟ page 2012 - George was keen to show the full range of his creative production and extended the sub-genre by adding links to his videography and boarding house blog sites. However, he also did not pay sufficient attention to detail and this resulted in multimodal disjuncture on some pages.
  31. 31. Genres of participation in creative production by government school learners 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 31
  32. 32. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 32 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s homepage
  33. 33. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 33 Masibulele‟s search result (case study 10)
  34. 34. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 34 The e-portfolio‟s significance to Masibulele (case study 10) „Who produced it?‟ Masibulele with feedback from his GS and Frank Joubert educators and some from his friends in class. „For whom was it produced?‟ Masibulele produced it for „audiences from other countries‟ and „future invigilators‟ and did not believe viewership was limited to his school. He is keen for freelance work. „In what context was it produced?‟ At school. „Under what constraints was it produced?‟ Access limited to breaks and e-portfolio curriculum lessons. Access to other online portfolios services (i.e. Flickr) blocked in lab. Costly mobile phone broadband access.
  35. 35. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 35 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s about page
  36. 36. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 36 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s SoiL folder
  37. 37. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 37 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s SoiL folder
  38. 38. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 38 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s SoiL folder
  39. 39. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 39 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s SoiL folder
  40. 40. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 40 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s Pencil/Sketch Work folder
  41. 41. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 41 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s Different Medium page
  42. 42. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 42 Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s Clay Work folder
  43. 43. Case Study 10. Masibulele‟s Clay Work folder 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 43
  44. 44. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 44 The e-portfolio‟s significance to Melissa (case study 14) „Who produced it?‟ Melissa with feedback from her educator and some from peers. „For whom was it produced?‟ Melissa produced it for feedback from artists who work in similar media and she is also keen for freelance opportunities. „In what context was it produced?‟ At school and home. „Under what constraints was it produced?‟ Accessed at school and at home. Used Autodesk 3Ds Mac, Adobe Photoshop, Blender, etc. She has four online portfolios (Deviantart, Behance and MyFolio)
  45. 45. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 45 Melissa‟s name search result (case study 14)
  46. 46. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 46 Melissa‟s peer‟s name search result (case study 14)
  47. 47. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 47 Melissa‟s homepage (case study 14)
  48. 48. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 48 Melissa‟s about page (case study 14)
  49. 49. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 49 Melissa‟s Sourcebook Work/Works in Progress folder (case study 14)
  50. 50. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 50 Melissa‟s Sourcebook Work/Works in Progress folder (case study 14)
  51. 51. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 51 Melissa‟s Sourcebook Work/Works in Progress folder (case study 14)
  52. 52. Melissa‟s Landscape and nature folder (case study 14) 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 52
  53. 53. Melissa‟s Extra Mural artwork folder (case study 14) 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 53
  54. 54. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 54
  55. 55. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 55 The e-portfolio‟s significance to Nathan (case study 9) „Who produced it?‟ Nathan with feedback from his educator and advice from peers. „For whom was it produced?‟ Nathan believed it could help him in; applying for Tertiary Studies in graphic or interior design, seeking internships or receiving feedback on improving his artworks. „In what context was it produced?‟ At school. „Under what constraints was it produced?‟ Nathan would have preferred to reflect an aesthetic self through an „arty‟ template. Although keen to do freelance work,
  56. 56. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 56 Nathan‟s search page (case study 9)
  57. 57. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 57 Nathan‟s homepage (case study 9)
  58. 58. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 58 Nathan‟s about page (case study 9)
  59. 59. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 59 Nathan‟s visualart work 1 (case study 9)
  60. 60. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 60 Nathan‟s visualart work 2 (case study 9)
  61. 61. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 61 Nathan‟s visualart work 3 (case study 9)
  62. 62. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 62 Nathan‟s visualart work 4 (case study 9)
  63. 63. The value of George‟s e-portfolio design to him 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 63 He identified the value of his e-portfolio as adding another dimension to his art in supporting; sharing with audiences, organizing artworks for display (Int2 EG1, 7 November, 2012, R124, R129) while also revealing his artistic identity and the evolution of his artistic creativity at school (Int1 EG1, 15 November, 2012, R50, R51, R53). He intended to use his e-portfolio as a drawing archive post-school: He enjoyed drawing and contrasted his e-portfolio focus on drawing to a friend, learner AK1, who had foregrounded photography; „But he had always been focused on his photography and was very passionate about it. Whereas I was more passionate about the work that we had done and, like, presenting the work that I enjoy.‟ (Int1 EG1, 15 November, 2012, R79).
  64. 64. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 64 The e-portfolio‟s significance to George (case study 1) „Who produced it?‟ George used feedback from his educator, plus some from parents (both work in advertising), peers and friends. „For whom was it produced?‟ George produced it to reflect his emergent identity as a fine artist to his audiences. „In what context was it produced?‟ Although George had successfully applied in matric for admission to the Medical School of the University of Cape Town, his admission could be withdrawn if he failed to continue achieving a high subject average. „Under what constraints was it produced?‟ George „flipped the classroom‟ to work at home and overcome slow Carbonmade use at school. Did not publish extra-mural photography and many extra-mural artworks.
  65. 65. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 65 case study 1. „about‟ page (2012)
  66. 66. Case Study 1. George‟s homepage 2010 2012 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 66 George adopted a unique design approach that differed from all his classmates in serving as a metaphor for the „clean type of gallery look‟ he likes (Int1 EG1, 15 November, 2012, R66). He wanted it to look simple, elegant and not to distract from the actual works (Int2 EG1, 7 November, 2012, R113). He extended the Visual Arts showcase e-portfolio sub-genre through consistent application of this metaphor.
  67. 67. Case Study 1. An „exploration of colour‟ page (2012) 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 67
  68. 68. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 68 Case Study 1. An „extra mural‟ page (2012)
  69. 69. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 69 2012 Case Study 1. „Sketchbook/sourcebook work‟ page (2012) „I think a sketchbook almost forms the strongest basis of our art, especially at <school name>. Even above other schools, we use sketchbooks so much, where at other schools might be doing bigger projects at a larger scale, where we always have a sketchbook that we are updating every week or every two weeks.‟ (Int2 EG1, 7 November, 2012, R126).
  70. 70. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 70 - Many learners struggled with the online concept of „ongoing design‟ (this explanation was written in 2011, while his ‘about’ page featured the current 2012 revision)
  71. 71. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 71 Case Study 1. An „inspiration‟ page (2012)
  72. 72. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 72 Case Study 1. A „structure form light shade‟ page (2012)
  73. 73. Preliminary findings Learners who create Visual Arts showcase e-portolios are NOT involved in a liberatory process since their work manifests differences in levels of economic, cultural, symbolic and social capital (Bourdieu, 1979). At worst, e-portfolio curricula can reflect paucity and amplify distinction in digital self-representation, potentially reproducing inequality in educational access (Bourdieu, 1993). Richly resourced Visual Arts learners could resist their disciplinary representation by featuring visual cultural fields not taught by their educator (such as videography and photo-editing). By contrast, well-resourced government school learners extended their classroom activities into related visual cultural fields (Manga illustrations extended drawing). The ‘Visual Arts showcase e-portolio’ design exemplar manifested high levels of these capital forms. By contrast, bricolage examples typically manifested low levels of capital in formal and extra-mural contexts. Privacy is a serious concern, particularly for female learners. It affects the extent of ‘genuine identity’ and type of contact details learners made available. 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes 73
  74. 74. THANKS to supporters of my research project National Research Foundation. University of Cape Town, Department of Film and Media Studies. Dr Marion Walton & Digimobs SA & SAME research group colleagues Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Department of Informatics and Design. Prof Johannes Cronje & TERPS MA & PhD Colleagues 2014/04/16 Prepared by @travisnoakes Video screengrabs from John Salt of 74