The final week of module one. I kind of wish we had longer on this challenge, with the deadline being on Friday I feel I have rushed through it a little. I feel I have still produced something that I am pleased with but would like to revisit. I was super lucky this week. I was due to be going away with work to deliver some nature connection sessions in Thetford Forest (it’s AGES away), luckily for me but unluckily for work they didn’t manage to secure enough school bookings so it meant I got to stay at home and complete my freelance work and finish off this module. I started by watching the lecture material. The question asked was: What are potential future definitions of design practice? What are the sectors that might change or need to change?

Simon Manchipp

Simon believes that the definitions of branding are getting broader and that a big part of working with brands for him is to find an interesting place to start, rather than approaching every rebrand from the focus of new logo, new website etc etc…

Sam Winston

Sam’s approach is always such a welcome contrast to simons. His answer to the same question was that design is a living enquiry into a problem. I liked the thought that the potential definitions of what design is going to be depends on the problems we are going to encounter.

Next I listened to Susanna Edwards in conversation with Maziar Raein

I had not encountered Maziar’s work before but I really enjoyed the topics brought up in this chat. Design as a political tool or a tool that is good for society is kind of what has kept me drawn to the subject for so long.

Maziar— designers are caring more about the world they live in. As a designer we are in the optimism business. If you don’t believe in that you should stop designing straight away! This is a really nice thought and I kind of want to stick it on my wall as a reminder for when I loose optimism to go and find it again and then come back to my desk.

How equipped am I to deal with this complex set of problems like the environment???

This is a huge question and it was interesting to hear their take on it. One thing I agree with is the notion that we have to collaborate, that five brains are always going to be better than one. I would like to work collaboratively more and I need to find new ways of doing this.

Another key takeaway for me was that just speaking to other graphic designers is really one dimensional, you have to push outside of your bubble. This is true of any practice or culture or club. What makes this increasingly hard in today’s world is that our online view of the world is severely stuck inside an echo chamber that is getting louder due to algorithms.

How may questions have you asked about the edges of your practice? An excellent question to hold while creating and going through this process.

Get up walk out the door, pick up things off the street and put that in your sketchbook. Take photos, record audio…. Street sounds / cafe sounds / car sounds… They let you begin to explore and question how you can use it in your work. It may not go any further than just a personal archive.

Workshop Challenge

How is perception changed when design shifts into a new paradigm Improved // disruption // retold

Regular practice showed some really good examples of work that because of their surroundings have a completely new meaning. The first was the very famous and still controversial urinal by Marcel Duchamp. This sculpture questioned the idea of art and sculpture. By placing any object within a white wall gallery it can become a piece of art. The next was work by Elmgreen and Dragset: A Prada store in the Texan desert. This is something I hadn’t seen before and it kind of reminds me of Boomtown Fair. This Prada store becomes a sculptural object because of where it is placed, I also like that by placing it in the desert this sort after brand becomes absolutely pointless. It is pointless anyway but I feel that this could be a play on that.

In Designs for an Overpopulated Planet: Foragers (2009) Dunne & Raby imagine a possible future in which the problem of food shortages inspires a series of prostheses that enable human beings to digest algae, roots, and leaves, essentially outsourcing our gastrointestinal mechanisms.

I love how far out this is! I think it’s exactly the approach that occasionally does come up with genuine solutions to help the human race. I think in response to this and the task in general I may head out and just take loads of voice recordings of myself and try to make sense of them… 

Generating Ideas

Idea One: 100 items – I was on the beach for this one so it’s a bit windy but I’ve still included it because I think it is relevant to how my ideas progressed.

Idea Two: Climate change hot too guides – Another on the beach recording. Again at this point you can probably tell I was feeling a bit lost with what direction I was going to take this week’s brief.

Roni Horn: Saying Water

I really enjoyed looking into the work of Roni Horn. The video above, saying water, was a monologue of all her associations with water. It was dark, funny and totally encapsulating. I felt that her words really washed over you and made me aware of my being and that I am water. I looked into Roni’s work further I watched an interview she had done with Dayanita Singh and took this little quote from it: “Once you have an agenda you’re looking for something so you cannot properly see…” This statement was in relation to a photo series she had taken in Iceland. She seem’s to be very disciplined in the art of allowing ideas to come to her and develop naturally. This could take decades and is a refreshing approach to a body of work.

Thoughts after watching Roni Horns work: How can I reframe something so that people can listen?

I thought I’d keep the next bit of working out in scribble form so that you could see how I work… I wish I made really beautiful sketchbooks but I don’t. I work on scraps and they often make little sense but this is where the ideas emerge.

Some discarded ideas from this sheet were:

  1. Littering forecast in the style of the shipping forecast
  2. A poster that just says breathe with a rip off QR code that takes you to a calm soundscape to breathe along too…

Time to get back on track and think about how I am going to make this all work together?

Ok so here was my starting point. Visually I am not a fan but I was happy at this point with the direction in which my ideas were going. I wanted to disrupt litter campaigns, by making them irrelevant.

Here you can hear my thoughts as they were literally evolving in my brain! Dangerous…

My next thought came after thinking back to Rachel Whitereads concrete house. I imagined that as part of this ‘Waste Isn’t Real’ campaign all bins would be replaced with plastic / metal / compost replicas which you can’t put anything into, they are just solid objects. So they change function, they are no longer a useful object instead they are a sculpture carrying a statement. Visually what I was creating at this point was still pretty gross but the idea was getting there.

So next I decided to develop a poster for this waste isn’t real campaign. I started by getting photos I had collected of litter, weird I know but the last ten years have been very litter focussed. I edited these and merged them with my waste typeface. The idea was I was going to print these onto waste that I had in the house. The first thing that came to mind were some leftover posters from my partners tour. You can see the first print below (pic three).

the posters got more and more abstract. I like the layering I think it actually helps you see that this isn’t just a new campaign printed on new paper and gives a feeling of distopia instead. This is where I am going to leave this task. If I had more time I would like to make a model bin out of recycled plastic and mock it up in situ with one of these posters on it. I think my outcome does answer the brief, although I haven’t solved the problem of litter and plastic pollution I think this would be disruptive enough to encourage people to be angry, curious and hopefully change behaviours.

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