BAAAD Annual 2020
Dear Artists & Designers Not BAAAD meaning bad, but BAAAD meaning good!
This overwhelming swarm of data can also cloud our ability to speculate and imagine other/better futures. But we know you to be utopia builders, infinite revolutionists and community makers.
You are good diggers. You’ve sifted knowledge. You’ve broken new ground. Along the way you became accomplished builders. You built an incredible community who support and care for one another. You did this in a basement studio at the Birmingham School of Art. You did it again when this was taken away from you and you worked remotely. On days when our own footings have felt uncertain you’ve been an example to us all, an inspiration as we all adapt to a changing world. We live in the less than shiny reality of the cyberspace frontier, a complicated networked mass of information available at our fingertips. In this chaos, it can be hard to identify what’s important, what causes what effect, who’s responsible for what and where it’s all headed. Your time on the course has taught you to be pattern finders, to be the investigative journalists and challengers to power. To see entangled experience, movement and opinion as complex and messy but to find nuanced ways to understand it. Digging up fossils tells us about our past, about ourselves, about our future. Fossil fuels only tell us that there is no future. Digging almost always has a purpose. It is hard work and requires tools. Different tools do different things; giving different results. Shovels; spades; long reach excavators; impact moling drills. Digging requires rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in. Just dig. You’ve recognised that digging is fraught with peril. Occasionally, we might become so engrossed in digging the hole that we forget exactly what the hole is for - it might have been really good fun breaking up the soil and burrowing further and further into the ground but then at some point you find yourself surrounded by earth and realise that you’ve been digging in the wrong soil or with the wrong tool or in the wrong place. Sometimes it’s only after digging several holes that you realise where you need to be.
We new dig dig
dig not just to make holes. We dig foundations from which to build structures. We dig holes in which to grow plants that can feed us. We tunnels in the ground to inspect and repair when things go wrong. We for lots of reasons and it is very rarely just to make a hole.
You cultivated plants and crops to feed and nourish your friends and family. You rooted out inequality. Digging tunnels that shine light in the darkness whilst the old guard dug trenches to protect themselves and their bad ideas. There is no point in digging unless you care for whatever it is that you are digging for, whether it’s buildings that need to be repaired, the plants that need watering in order for them to grow or the infrastructure that needs to be maintained in order to allow us to live out our lives. Digging isn’t just about digging down. three years we have asked you to dig rigorous. Hopefully you have acquired make and tools to think. Tools to dig you for what comes next.
We can dig out and through. For deeper. To go further. To be some tools along the way, tools to deeper. All of this was to prepare
How you have dealt with the way Covid19 has upended your plans has been incredible and moving to witness. Your determination to complete your projects, the way you’ve channeled your energy into virtual spaces and online engagement, the cooking sessions with Rianne’s mum and the online public programme shows how wonderfully resilient and creative you are. Knowing that you are going on to; make work, to teach, to design, to specialise, to curate, makes me excited for the better worlds and futures you’ll make. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s home from work we go
Alis, Gareth & Stuart
Thomas Saunders In his practice Tom looks at two states of our British landscape: the rural and the urban. As the population grows, the residential areas that house them grow also. Tom is interested in whether this in turn means that green space is reducing. With systems such as urban farming and people becoming ever more conscious of their foods origin and their consumption, Tomâ€™s practice questions what effects these have on the green space that we are exposed to in different areas. With urban areas traditionally being thought of as having less green space, Tom also plans to look at how green space is now being incorporated into the design of our cities. Using his experiences of living in the South Lakes and Birmingham city centre he hopes to use his journey and experiences to explore these two areas and the ways in which they are changing to allow for green space in our everyday lives.
Jacqueline Chase Health and wellbeing are an important part of Jacqueline’s work, influenced by her background working for the NHS. Inspired by Biophilic design, she believes in the importance of natural textiles and materials within the home and that this is allowing humans to ‘be close to nature’ and is aiding in physiological health.
Edenâ€™s practice is centred around social class, diversity, and using materials that can be found anywhere. The strange controversy of the vegan sausage roll release prompted more thought into its hidden social politics. â€˜Commonplaceâ€™ uses Greggs as the ambassador for all things low-brow, and shifts its position in the hierarchy, inviting the beauty in the everyday norm to be amplified and praised instead of overlooked.
Carol Sorroll Carol has a socially engaged practice that uses public engagement to address current issues in society. Carol is questioning our fundamental relationship with art online and explores this through Instagram and in particular hashtags. Social media has changed the way in which artists can engage with their audience. It offers global connectivity and the means to reach new viewers effortlessly. Hashtags highlight the fleeting nature of online material and the contradiction between popularity and permanence: what is trending one day wonâ€™t feature the next, but the content will always remain online.
A large part of Louieâ€™s practice is dedicated to learning about the changes happening around us in the digital world. She is fascinated by the constant influx of information supplied to us by the eternal scroll or swipe. How should we value our personal information; what really matters to us? Data is bought, shared, authorised, stolen, breached, hacked, infiltrated, etc - therefore the things we post no longer belong to us, nor does the information they contain
Charlotteâ€™s practice uses a method of re-claiming, re-cycling and re-using, displaying materiality choices of wood, re-constituted foam, hessian, orientated strand board and other recyclables such as; biodegradable plant pots, tins and jars. These materials and objects come together and present as furniture design, within a space that aims to encourage social interaction and gatherings. The materiality choices also prosper to be sustainable, minimizing cost and access of maintenance.
‘INSTANT SPICE GIRLS’ is a personal exploration of fandom. Through her keen interest in the Art of archaeology, Jade explores documentation, collection and scale. Jade’s archive researches the power of personality in sales, the Spice Girls as manufactured identities and a selling point for girl powered obsession.
In her practice, Sally explores themes of history, found objects, layers and collections through various forms of media. Sally has been looking at mark making and exploring the idea of leaving a trace, and discovering stories that can be reimagined through extracting and studying the marks and impressions left by others. Studying different types of marks, from medieval graffiti (Masonâ€™s Marks) to extracting marks from a series of notebooks and personal items that belonged to her father when he was a teenager.
Hundreds of women have experienced street harassment but the bigger percentage that experienced street harassment is from young girls aged between 9-15. Kyriiaki wanted to find a way to show to the viewers how important this is and how men act on women especially on young girls, sending an awareness to the viewers.
Crochet is a material that opened up conversations and allowed for discussion through textile pieces. As a craft that is dominated by women and is historically claimed as workingclass, Alarna has used crochet to explore ideas around access to the arts, about value in the arts and about the classism present. Using her nans experiences as a lense into these conversations about social politics, how language can be used to determine class and how value is placed upon different material, practices and people.
I focus on the use of sound in videos to express the narrative to the viewer. Opening up interesting visual concepts in the viewers minds. Highlighting the importance of sound in digital gameplay. Eliminating the visual from the gameplay allowed me to experiment and explore with the different sound techniques, such as Foley, surround and field recordings. I narrowed my sound videos into horror genres, as sound merged well with horror in creating tension and suspense for the listener.
AzariaMarismari Azariaâ€™s ongoing project is an exploration of materiality through digital technologies and what happens to images as they transfer between a physical and digital state. She layers stills of textured moments from sci-fi films and re-imagines them produced through Digital collage and Textiles, forming a tangible yet intangible visual language. formulating her own aesthetic through colour, placement and the production of her imagery.
At a time where consumerism is exploiting the population’s humanity, forcing naive and fragile minds to fall into the trend of wearing ‘Masks’ to conceal true identities and emotions. The Brand: Veil of Humanity aims to exploit high street clothing and streetwear brands, exposing them for what they really are and presenting the damaging effects of wearing ‘hyped’, ‘ or ‘cool’ expensive clothing in order to be somebody you aren’t.
Vishal Kamal 29
In a time when CO2 emissions, rising sea levels deforestation and pollution pose an imminent threat to the planet, Vishal explores protests against current issues such as climate change. Examining how objects and visual language can be used as a means to voice unrest and support the landscape of protest, through illustrations and textiles. This series of works aims to invoke a sense of urgency. In particular, placing a focus on participation. Encouraging the audience to consider the causes and consequences of climate change and how they can take steps to mitigate the risk of damage to the environment.
It is a first vision film that tells a story in the 2190s, a technique of replaying the memory for the investigation has been launched. The protagonistâ€™s memory has been replaced with others and the dark side of this new technique is revealed. I aim to achieve the interaction among the installation, film and audience. Therefore, the exhibition place designed as a nature cinema with a forest and sea view and special sound is used to create the atmosphere.
Exploring indian cultural heritage through visual interpretations. Connecting with the essence of traditional
Veronica Ancutescu Veronica Ancutescu has her work focused on mental health conditions where she tries to bring awareness of depression and bad states of mind to the public: visions that reflect an abstraction of depression and anxiety merged in a minimalist manner using subtle details and dark elements. The work tries to induce the viewers certain mixed emotions by triggering the human senses including sight and smell in order to try and create an in depth understanding of mental health.
Isabel Barret Isabel has been investigating imperfections and â€˜byproductsâ€™ that exist within architectural structures and decorative/ornamental features. Within these structures lies details (e.g. negative spaces within decorations, chipped wood and leftover stains from previous events) that seemingly have no materialistic or decorative value upon first inspection and are therefore unnoticed. Isabel explored how using such techniques and materials, inspired by imperfections and by-products, can be used to create something that is contemporary and materialistically relevant in todayâ€™s society.
A â€œpost-apocalyptic worldâ€?, set in the future. Where design is used as a means of facing huge challenges such as over population, water shortages, air pollution and the drastic rich and poor divide on a global scale. Referencing life, Abi documents how people use space in both urban and rural locations and utilises this to build the narrative in her work through photography and illustrations.
Bassey focuses on a personal project that visualizes his culture and identity through art imagery and constructing a contemporary imagination of diverse representation of blackness. He demonstrates a state of excellence and empowerment through the struggle and exudes a superior complex in humility. The theme of Bassey’s work is the sub-aspect of surrealism called ‘Afro-Surrealism’, in which his art process consisted of drawings and digital work, also in some of his work combining both mediums producing outcomes of multiple experimentations.
Marina Elia During her final year, her research was first based on humanâ€™s emotions and inner desires, throughout her investigation she realised that medine pills are most commonly used by humans in their daily lives nowadays. The surprising dimensions illustrate their importance in people's lives, reflecting their connection with the pharmaceutical industry and classifying them as everyday items. She supports that these tablets are impossible to take, symbolising the way medication not only treats but also defines illness.
Polly Brant Through layering and mixing, Polly examines materials, imagery and objects; exploring the possibility of transformation. From washing-up liquid to flowers, she plays with a wide range of media, investigating how objects can be merged together both physically and contextually. Pollyâ€™s practice at this point in time has become an exploration of how things can fit together and how imagery can distort materials away from the perspective of their original form.
This work is designed to create an informal atmospheric participation piece, in order to show the deterioration of stereotypes upon the LGBTQ+ community. Including negative and positives. The aim is to show that someoneâ€™s sexuality is not their personality and they should be treated as an individual and not a general stereotype.
Rianne uses a range of techniques including collage, digital manipulation and textiles to explore her British-Indian cultural heritage. By specifically using her personal archive,experiences and motherâ€™s childhood memories in India to inspire her work. Her practice highlights how it is important in British society today to not only celebrate cultural difference but also to allow other narratives to be told and shared.
Abi A big special thanks to my partner, André for continually supporting me in everything I do as well as giving me content to work with in my projects. Alarna A thank you to my sister, Aleisha as my personal grammar and spell checker and main inspiration and role model throughout my whole time on BCU. A thank you to Greg; for being my main support system and pushing me to do my best, always. A special thank you to every person I have come into contact with at Margaret Street for the amazing environment they create but particularly Gareth, Stuart, Alis and Anthony. Most importantly I would like to give a special thanks to my nan, for being my main source of inspiration in this project and for being so open in me prying into every aspect of her life for it. Thank you. Azaria Awh, what a wild ride. I want to thank everyone for putting up with my shit, especially the tutors, I also want to thank my parents and grandparents for the support throughout the years, I am truly grateful to you all, Cheers to the start of a new journey, lets go!!!
Carol A special thank you to my Fiancé for pushing me to complete my Art and Design degree; providing continued support and encouragement- I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for you. Here is to a bright and exciting future together Ricki Armstrong. Charlotte Charlotte would like to take this opportunity to thank some of her closest family and friends, for their; encouragement, support and constant belief, throughout her time at BCU. Especially this final year. Her Dad and Uncle, helped with the transportation of her wooden pallets, so that the production of her work could get underway. Her Auntie, Cousins, Nan, Grandad and Mum, all stepped in when needed, for additional childcare support. Her Husband has always worked hard in order to support her decisions and career prospects. And her friends; Abbie, Amy and Gabriela, have cheered her on throughout the highs and the lows. Charlotte feels incredibly lucky and forever grateful, to have had so many loved ones around her. Her time at BCU has been nothing short of amazing and she will prosper to use the skills she has learnt, in her next stages of professional life.
Eden Thanks to Shona, Matt, Elliott, Jade, Louise, Tom, Sally, Stuart, Alis, Greggs and Phil Collins. Jacqui I would especially like to thank Alan Glover, Printmaker and Artist, of ‘Alchemy of Light’ who taught me how to make cyanotype prints whilst I was on work experience at ‘The Art Yard’ last year. He has inspired me to further my practice and make work originating from cyanotype. I would also like to thank Tarryn Coxsall who has helped me develop my practice and encouraged me with my work in textile design and Dye-sublimation printing, she has been able to answer all my obscure questions and really helped me. Thank you.
Jade I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Margaret Street for its beautiful environment and the lecturers within it for being a continual inspiration to us all. A thank you to my precious friends, family and the Spice Girls for giving me the ‘Zig-A-Zig-Ah’ to create this project. Louise I would like to thank my Mum, Dad and Fred for the endless amounts of support throughout my degree. The lads, for being the best friends I could ever ask for. My tutors for putting up with my ever changing ideas. Number 34 on the vending machine for the free maltesers. And a special thanks to me for being so patient with myself when we were being difficult. Polly I would like to thank the tutors for supporting me through the lows and highs; lows being on the wrong course, highs transferring onto Art & Design. Rianne I’d like to thank my mum Kulvinder for being with me throughout the progress of this last year and sharing with me her memories, recipes and fabrics so that we could celebrate and share this experience together with you all. I also want to thank the rest of my family, friends, the tutors for their amazing support: Gareth, Alis, Stuart, Dem, Taryn, the artist Navi Kaur and everyone on the course for making B.21 a wonderful environment to want to create in. A special thanks to Azaria for equally keeping me sane and driving me mad x
Sally I want to thank all of my tutors and technicians that have supported me over my time at the school of art, and in particular for my third year; Gareth Barnett, Stuart Whipps, Alis Oldfield, Rebecca Court, Demitrios Kargotis, Taryn Coxshall, and Justin Sanders for all of the support and valuable knowledge I have gained that has enabled me to develop my work and my practice. Tom I’d just like to say thank you for all the support I’ve had from tutors and all my amazing and talented pals, wouldn’t have been the same without you lads! Vishal I’d like to say a big thank you to Stuart, Alis, Dem, Becky and Gareth for all their support and feedback not just this year, but at every aspect of my time at the School of Art and for helping me produce the best work I could possibly make.