Week 5 

Hello all, anyone who’s reading..
Welcome to week five, a new week and a new brief. This one is about creating a collaborative aid.
b r o a d
So I started by watching the lecture material and I’ve made some notes.

In lecture #1 we heard from Morag Myerscough, Director, Myerscough Studio and Christoph Miller, Directors, Offshore Studio

I really loved hearing about the project Migrant Journal. It had flipped the word migration on it’s head by looking at migration in all its forms: migrating plants, money, landscapes and of course people. The project helps to redefine the word. The collaborative aspect was that they asked people to contribute ideas, its something that crops up a lot through researching how graphic designers work collaboratively. I like the idea of getting submissions, it also gives the contributers ownership over what is created.

It was super cool to hear from Morag Myerscough on her work at Sheffield childrens hospital. I read into it a little more after listening. This project only worked because of collaboration, weirdly it didn’t sound like the different people, for example architects and then interior designers worked together at all. However the people who did work together were the designers and the nurses. The nurses were key to ensuring that the end product was fit for purpose.

I really enjoyed hearing the process that Morag went through to actually get the nurses on board. It was interesting because she really had a lot of trust and confidence in her own initial idea and instead of dampening it down she actually made a model so that the nurses could better invisage what it was she was portraying. I think that is a key takeaway from that conversation, sometimes the way you communicate your ideas to clients may not show their full potential.

The Hato D&AD festival branding is the most excitingly collaborative project I’ve looked at so far while researching for this brief. I liked the notion that by asking people to submit a piece of their time you should give something back. Every mark that was made could be easily downloaded as a GIF or still image by the creator for them to share on their own feeds.
This project has made me think about what a collaborative aid is in a little more detail… I think in our lecture this brief is being presented as though we have to create some swanky new app or just even the notion of creating something new, but, is a creative aid also just the simple act of asking someone to collaborate?

In the Q&A at the end of the lecture Susanne asked whether the designers thought global collaboration was essential? I loved the idea that local collaboration could influence global collaboration but not the other way round. This lecture must have been recorded around 2018 before AI, I would perhaps argue that one form of global collaboration currently is AI. It’s not entirely consensual collaboration but AI is pulling together collective knowledge.

COLLABORATION RESEARCH

So while listening to the lectures and thinking through this weeks brief something that has kept popping into my head is the thought ‘have I forgotten how to collaborate?’. Has everything been made a bit too complex with the hundreds of different collaboration, co-working and co-thinking online platforms… do we really need another one?
Of course I’m not saying I don’t think working together isn’t good, but I am perhaps feeling a little saturated with the notion of ‘coming up with a new fun colab working concept.’ It seems a bit like a task on the Apprentice.
In the podcast I really loved the idea that thinking about collaboration as a graphic designer can mean that you have to let go of the final concept and instead facilitate a framework for something to emerge. I think I would like to go down that route with my idea.
In a somewhat unrelated segway the first person I looked at was Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room. This was an installation totally dependent on collaboration, collaboration of the consumer. Perhaps it is fair to say that the artwork itself is the collaborative aspect? What drew me to look at this was its simplicity, there is no platform, or app or call to action to get people involved… just simply a stack of stickers and a blank room.

THE SOUTHWESTER…
This is just something I stumbled across today. It’s a newspaper that only exists in print and tells stories from the South West of England. It stood out to me in relation to this brief for a few reasons.
Firstly was their call for submissions… Again opening up and kind of letting go of the end product as you don’t 100% know what you’re going to get. Secondly was the communication about how it was being funded. I really like the honesty and I think it encourages people to feel they are collaborators by buying a copy.

‘People want to tune out. That’s where print comes into its own. As being away from screens becomes more important, so, too, will the value of print.’

Danielle Pender, Eye Magazine

It was interesting to read the article about Riposte Magazine in Eye Magazine. When reading it through a lens focussed on collaboration two things popped out, firstly was the collaboration between editor and graphic designer. That relationship needs to be one filled with trust especially taking on a project that doesn’t have any financial gain.

Talking of finances the next thing that stood out was the collaborations with brands to create content for the magazine which did ensure it was financially viable. This wasn’t the route I was expecting the article to go down but it was interesting to hear from the editor how the brands have essentially allowed them to do what they want and have creative control in exchange for a fee and exposure in the magazine.
This is a much nicer way of advertising than it being shoved down our throats, it’s softer and more weaved into lifestyle, which does also create some blurred lines when it comes to content creation as brands could potentially sway the whole magazine by sponsoring different articles etc. I guess this article showed collaboration in terms of using it to your advantage.

Prada x Elmgreen & Dragset

We had actually looked at this collaboration in the last module but not through the lens of collaboration.
What’s really interesting about this is that it wasn’t commissioned by Prada. The collaborative element came when Miuccia Prada allowed the artists to go ahead with their idea and use the Prada brand. This collaboration makes perfect sense for Prada to be onboard with as it is unique free advertising for them. The artists Micheal Elmgreen and his creative partner Ingar Dragset themselves have been collaborating since 1995.
This Prada store was permanently installed in the Texan desert in 2005. It has been designed to biodegrade over time which is a really cool juxtaposition to how Prada is usually portrayed, it shows our (as humans) as destructible and our prized possessions as pointless.

We think it’s interesting to see what happens to our shared spaces that can be brutally neo-liberal or influenced by very strong capitalistic interests,”

Dragset

I read an article about the duo which got me thinking a little more about this weeks brief.

There’s also a way of communicating that excludes a lot of experiences, compared to meeting together. For us, it’s important to highlight how vital being together in a physical bodily way is. And that has to happen, for a big part in public spaces. Therefore it’s a disaster that a lot of civic spaces have been closed down by the government, because they don’t really appreciate people coming together – in places such as clubs, public pools and small libraries.”

This echos how I had been feeling about the brief, it’s interesting because I am on an online course which obviously doesn’t encourage in person meet-ups. In the last few years, especially post pandemic, online communities have become more ‘real’. There is more of a space for real collaboration, the D&AD Festival brief we looked at earlier proves that. One thing I have noticed is I feel that these online collaborations work the best when there is also an in person element, like D&AD. I think in someways it lets the collaboration land. It feels more real.
In the context of the UK I feel like I can visually see the effects of the above quote in my local community. There aren’t so many civic spaces left and almost zero spaces available for creative industries to thrive.

References

https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/11204/elmgreen-dragset-on-the-dangers-of-social-media-and-gentrification

https://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/tune-out-dive-deep-read-on

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