art and design
TEAM SPEAK Why put another magazine out on dem stands? Because we said so. Joking. The point of this entire exercise was so that Srishti could finally have a magazine that was a student effort from start to end. We wanted to bust common misconceptions surrounding the role designers play and throw light on how design is everywhere and not something alien and elite. We have therefore tried to integrate as many fields of design as we could and have our cover story intensively cover how design seeps into the everyday objects you use from the humble toothbrush to your favourite chair or brand at the local supermarket. Being quite young ourselves, we automatically gravitated towards young and upcoming artists and designers who were just starting out. We had even the established ones in this magazine introspect on their journey from college to present day. So hereâ€™s to you, our reader, whether you may be a design student, a design professional or just someone who picked this up on a whim, we hope there is not a single dull moment while reading this magazine which has been put together after many servings of cup noodles and ideating in a pink house in the middle of nowhere. Need we go on?
CONTENTS A whole range of alternative work from artists and designers who are all looking to do something unique.
Designer v/s World
Studio Lila 18 Join us as we explore this studio’s work in its attempt to marry architecture and textile design.
We give you both sides of the coin as we interview amateurs and professionals on their experiences. Nachiappan Ramanathan 12 Take the path less trodden with Nachi, a young off-beat artist and designer.
Ritwik Sauntra 34 Photography, the likes of which you’ve never seen before.
Studio Eksaat 58 Join us as we talk to the couple behind Studio Eksaat, a graphic design studio based in Delhi.
Here’s your quick guide to surviving in the big bad design world.
Putting together perspectives on different themes.
Why Placements Will Help You (And Us!) 16 All the reasons to love placements.
Minimalism Is Not For The Lazy 6 Is minimalism so popular because it looks easy?
The Perfect Day at Work 17 The perfect day at work for a professional and a student.
The Good, The Bad and the Really Bad 40 Pandrang Row gives you a 360 degree view of advertising today.
You Almost Always Know One of These 22 Every client type you can think of, all in one place.
The Comic Con Express 64 Explore the good and the bad of Comic Con, India.
How To Price Your Work 32 A young freelancer’s guide to pricing.
Flint - Contents
Zoom into a range of different fields and get a sense of what they’re all about – from UI design to Tattoo art. A Tale Of Two Museums 46 Alison Byrnes contrasts two radically different museums in Bangalore. Interaction Design 54 Sharath Chandra Ram maps the journey of interaction design for us. Vintage Obsession 56 Smrithi Rao tells us about her fixation with all things vintage. Rabri Tattoo Art 62 Nupur Panemanglor takes you through her project on Rabri tattoo art.
Showcasing the artwork of a select few students – artists, designers and even an engineering student!
Ajay Koli 8 An engineer turned photographer Athreya Zerfas 24 A product design student Abhishek Chaudhary 42 An illustrator Svabhu Kohli 48 An illustrator Asavari Kumar 50 An illustrator and animator
We cover a topic of design relevance that applies to all – designers and non-designers alike. Take a closer look at your mundane daily routine and discover the immense role design plays in your life. 23
Flint - Contents
Opinion When a new designer opens his eyes to the big bad world, he is immediately swept up by the novelty of fancy downloadable fonts, the intricacy of embellishments and the daintiness of those blasted floral borders. Little does he know that after a few years of trudging through all that pretty rubble, he will be struggling to come up for air. Good, clean, minimalist air. Almost every 21st century designer goes through a minimalist phase. A fair number of them choose to stay there for good. But does its appeal also lie in the fact that it’s just easier to do less than more? The Oxford Dictionary defines minimalism as “a deliberate lack of decoration or adornment in style or design”. Quite like editing, don’t you think? And anyone at all who has done even the slightest amount of editing knows exactly how hard it is to chop his beloved work up into pieces and get rid of 90% of it.
But many designers would face the grave danger of turning minimalism into an excuse rather than a style. After all, it is just so irresistibly easy to do the bare minimum and call yourself a minimalist. Minimalism is your safety net – you can’t go wrong when you’re doing so little. Slap a title right in the centre of a nice white page, use a classic like Helvetica and hey, you’re a minimalist! But in truth, being simple, as they always say, is the hardest thing to do. If you find minimalism easy, you’re probably doing it wrong.
IS NOT FOR THE LAZY
Is minimalism so popular because it looks easy?
Simplicity requires a knack of understanding spaces, but also understanding negative spaces. It demands keen perception to know exactly what arrangement of elements will produce the most impact. It’s not about how wrong or right a Helvetica title might look in the centre of a white page – it’s about being able to analyse whether there’s a more impactful way of doing it. Would it look better if the page was a rectangle instead of a square? Would the text look better in a corner instead of the centre? The honesty of minimalism lies, not in the final design, but in the amount of time and thought one has invested in eliminating every other option before arriving at the final one. Well, either that or you have to be born a minimalist prodigy who just knows how to do it cleverly on his first attempt.
Perhaps minimalism has a higher success rate when it comes to fields like product design where one is working with tangible objects and all you need to do is chop off all the extras until you’re left with a purely functional object. Or maybe it is easier with space design where too much empty space becomes glaringly obvious and it isn’t difficult to know when you need to put a rug in the room or a painting on the wall. Working with tangible quantities like area and cost effectiveness and optimum material usage might make it easier to go about minimalism the right way. But no matter what the field, can we ever really draw a line between how much is too much and how little is too little? Minimalism, however, provides a great way of separating great design from ‘Meh-it’lldo-for-now’ design. And it creates such an obvious distinction that even a layman could tell really clever design from mediocre design. It brings every element out into the spotlight for scrutiny and every single aspect needs to be perfect right down to its last pixel (or atom, for all you product designers). At the end of it all, minimalism is quite like life itself – you can get away with it easily enough, but the rewards are far greater when you don’t cheat. RUCHIKA NAMBIAR In-house writer
AJAY KOLI 8
Take the path less trodden with Nachi, a young, off-beat artist and designer
Dream a little in the day is something I’d ideally like to tell everyone What have you been upto these days? Chilling [laughs.] I’m learning the classical flute in Shantiniketan right now. When did you decide you didn’t want to work under anyone and go off on your own tangent? When I finished college, I met many people during the graduation exhibition. I met some big companies, some of them who wanted me to work for them too. But it didn’t feel right right to me. I wasn’t asking for money; I just wanted to do my own thing. What have you been doing over the last 2 years? I worked with Jackson and Chokka in making some tree houses and other basic structures. I also worked on a few interactive sculptures and some musical instruments. What do you see yourself doing to earn a living? I am earning a living. The tree houses I built paid me quite decently. Recently, I completed a project for Puma where we had to make an installation using waste material. I actually have lots of projects coming up. The kind of work I’m doing lets me earn as well as do what I please. And I can take a break whenever I want. Like I’m doing right now. I just got back from the Arunachal Pradesh music festivals! Is there a project you’re waiting to lay your hands on? I have some family land in Coorg. I want to build a house and studio space for myself there, where I can sculpt, research, make sound sculptures and work with readily available materials. I also want to set up a studio and cottages for people who can come there and work. Of course, it’s a long term plan which will come along when I have the resources. Your biggest inspiration. Theo Jansen. What are your greatest learnings? My journey has been a part of my learning process. I have learnt a lot in the last two years. Much more than what I learnt in four years of college! [Laughs.] I guess I was never interested. I consider everything a part of my education. What’s your favourite piece of work? Difficult to say. I work only when I really enjoy it. I only pick work that excites me. If I had to choose one, it would be the physical interactive sound installation – I would like to head in that direction. What’s one work ethic that you religiously follow? Nothing particularly. I like to work with a lot of space. For the puma sculpture with waste material, we worked with a waste cycle. We collected all the materials, met welders, and all the rest, but there just wasn’t enough space in those workshops. So the ideal situation was to find our own space (an uncle’s farm). We bought a welding machine and did it all ourselves and seeked technical help when needed. Nobody told us what to do; we did it all at our own pace and learned along the way. Can you describe yourself to us? Uhh... I’m still figuring things out. I’m definitely not qualified to be a product designer. I think if someone wants to hire me, it’s for my creative ability. I wouldn’t want to put myself in a bracket.
What would you like to say to our future designers? Oh my goodness. I don’t think I’m at any level to give words of wisdom. But I would say do what you enjoy terribly..Aaah... Can’t think of anything right now, but when I think of something, I’ll definitely let you know. Dream a little in the day is also something I’d ideally like to tell everyone.
Talk Box - Nachiappan Ramanathan 14
This is a sculpture made at the â€˜Sun burn festivalâ€™ in Goa. The idea was to use the waste plastic bottles accumulated during the festival and create an interactive sculpture. The structure was made with fencing mesh and the bottles were inserted in the mesh and painted. The creature also glows at night. 5-10 people can enter inside and there is seating made of old tyres and sand inside the structure.
Talk Box - Nachiappan Ramanathan
This is a sculpture where one can enter and play various sounds and make music.
Designer v/s World
WHY PLACEMENT WILL HELP YOU (AND US.)
There is nothing new and unusual about unemployment or issues surrounding internships in the creative world. We know work experience plays a key role for most of us, but hey, it’s our first experience in the real world out there and your work insights are hugely valuable!
We could use some field knowledge to be successful designers some day. We don’t want to end up being those bothersome people who blow their own horns and give out large doses of self-induced irrelevant knowledge and self marketing tips to the world out there.
Designer vs. World
We know that you know that the demand for jobs is high and there’s a lot of brilliant work, brilliant layouts and portfolios out there. But until we meet or talk, you’ll never know what extra values we could add that could take your studio places.
We know that you know that the demand for jobs is high and there’s a lot of brilaout there. But until we meet or talk, you’ll never know what extra values we could add that could take your studio places.
Many a time, there’s a concern about hiring the ‘right’ kind of person who fits the bill. You’re either waiting for him/her to knock on your door or hoping you’ll hear of him soon through someone you know or just go through your old mail to find a portfolio that you received months ago. Know that there is a young, capable and highly talented workforce that is desperate and awaiting an opportunity to hear from established people like you.
The Perfect Day at Work
Designer vs. World 17
Lila is a design ideology that is embedded in context, celebrates cultural diversity and brings together various creative fields. It is an exploration into the making of things. Lila was established in late 2011 by architect Shruti Narayan who specialized in energy efficiency and sustainability. The studio is her attempt to translate these very same standards into textile and fashion design. It was set up as a design lab based in New Delhi with a vision to be experimental, using the simplest of ingredients with a desire to create a series of designs that are both minimalistic in appearance as well rich in craftsmanship. Drawing inspiration from contemporary Indian design aesthetics, the brand is an effort to tame and simplify India’s rich visual culture.
“The designs are both minimalistic in appearance, as well as rich in craftsmanship.”
As a design philosophy, Lila celebrates solid colors and develops textures and patterns through a play of these colours, resulting in vibrant tones draped in bold silhouettes, giving not only a laid back vibe but a sense of quiet sophistication. The designs heavily draw inspiration from Narayan’s background in architecture. This influence is evident in her manipulation of folds, collars and pleats in order to create straight, simple and bold structures. Consciously using pure Indian fabrics to connect to our rich cultural heritage, the studio also uses them in an attempt to create a link to the seasons.
Lila is housed in a restored old haveli in Delhi’s fashion hub urban village Shahpurjat, deliberately using an old structure to create an ambience that celebrates our built environment. A walk through the studio will instantly connect you to Lila and its ideology of connecting to the context. The understanding is that an ideology needs to sieve through `all physical and ephemeral manifestations of design. The studio uses only pure and natural materials that are locally sourced and fabricated. The intention behind this is not only to be local but also to understand that local fabrics have evolved over the years in a place with an understanding of its climate – and using such fabrics to make clothes will automatically make them climate-sensitive designs. In addition, Lila uses yarn-dyed fabrics that don’t bleed while washing and are thereby easy to maintain, allowing an extension of the lifecycle of the product. The underlying intent is to reduce the carbon footprint of the clothes.
“The bold colours and bold silhouettes give not only a laid back vibe, but a sense of quiet sophistication.”
I LIKE THE LOGO. BUT, MY DAUGHTER DOESN’T!
THIS TIME DO IT FOR FREE, NEXT TIME I’ll
Designer vs. World
GET YOU MORE WORK.
2 MONTHS LATER...
CLIENT NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER FONTS YOU SHOWED ME?
GIVE ME TWO MORE COLOUR OPTIONS!
TYPES OF CLIENTS
LAST NIGHT I
THOUGHT OF ONE
DON’ T THINK I NEED
A VISITING CARD.
THE ‘IDEAS’ CLIENT
BUT KEEP THE BUDGET IN MIND!
Designer vs. World
YOU CAN GO CRAZY WITH THE DESIGN !
Design in Everyday Life Artists and designers around the globe constantly attempt to define where art ends and design begins. To the layman, art and design is a very separate elitist field that does not even remotely intersect with his everyday life... Which is where we step in. So let this be an ode to all the unsung designers who have designed everything from your soap dispenser to your favourite chair. Have you ever really thought about why you prefer some stores to some others? Why you picked a certain print over another? Behind every single seemingly ordinary step you take every day, there are designers who have worked tirelessly to let you make the choices you might not consciously give much thought to, a little simpler. From the day we started hunting food to the day we launched our story into the cosmos, we have constantly designed the world around us. We have helped design clothes to conquer impossible terrains, we have designed automobiles, houses, the educations and monetary system, to make our world a little better than we found it. The story of design, is the story of the human race. So where do you start with a term that embodies so many different things around us? Lets get back down to the basics and discuss items you wouldnâ€™t normally spend so much time thinking too much about.
Designer v/s World
Pricing for Young FREELANCER
DUDE, WHERE'S IS MY MONEY ? The maddening business of pricing has always been the bane of our existence for us newbie freelancers. If only a guide to pricing were to fall from the heavens, life would be a lot easier. But until fate decides to smile upon us and make that possible, we have taken it upon ourselves to gather a few pointers from different freelancers to make things go just a little bit smoother for you.
1 1. Be true to yourself and be confident of your abilities. Don’t let guilt get the better of you while quoting a price. If you know you’re good at designing logos, don’t hesitate to quote as much as a professional would.
Designer vs. World
TIP: Keep building a strong network of other established freelancers, so that you can stay up to date with the going market prices for different kinds of services.
2 2. Don’t get overconfident about skills you don’t have! If you know you aren’t great at web design, quote a cheaper price for it. Always maintain full disclosure with your client so that he knows if his designer is lacking in a certain area. At this age, your client is really giving you room to make mistakes. “As a student, I did many jobs for free (out of good will) or even on a barter system. I branded my friends salon, and instead she gave me free haircuts and the like. My gynac and I also reached the same understanding.” – Kruti Sariaya, Graphic Designer.
3 3. As a student freelancer, while it’s alright to quote low at first, don’t let that go on too long. Once you’ve built up a decent client list, it’s alright to raise your prices up a notch. You don’t want to get stuck quoting lower than you deserve even five years later. TIP: It might be a good idea to raise your prices after you’ve made significant leaps in your career and education. If an old client comes back to you asking why he has to pay 10K for a logo he got for 5K before, you should be able to show what progress you’ve made that justifies the rise in prices. This could be justified through either a longer client list, or an updated portfolio, or an internship that you recently completed.
4.Don’t do it for peanuts! Always make sure you get something in return, even if it is free haircuts or referrals to other clients. Don’t settle for a price so low that your work loses its value. And don’t be afraid to tell your client that!
5. Be considerate towards your client’s background while quoting. Start-up companies and the like can’t afford a very expensive logo, but they’re usually the ones that give you most freedom and are looking for quality work.
“Design is not bargainable. When you complete a job for a price that’s less than you deserve, you undermine the importance of your own work. What’s more, you’ll get stamped as being a lowcost designer when you get referrals.” – Kavya Singh, Student Freelancer
“When you quote lower to smaller companies out of goodwill, if you do a really good job for them, they’ll keep coming back to you. And you never know, they’ll even start paying you more when they become rich and famous.” – Kavya Bagga, Student Freelancer
6 6.Let your clients understand what it really means to be a designer. Explain to them the process of a design job and let them see the time and effort that goes into not only execution, but ideation as well. This is when thumbnails and iterations will help!
7 7.While the hope is that most clients are nice and well-meaning, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Have all your discussions and price negotiations down in writing. Even if it’s in the form of an email, it is good enough, so don’t delete those emails until after you’re paid. Better still, have all the details down on a signed agreement form. “I usually break my payment up into three instalments – 30% advance, 30% after the iteration stage, and the remaining at the completion of the assignment. It ensures that my client doesn’t run away with my ideas.” – Ruchika Nambiar, Student Freelancer
Designer vs. World
And with that, let’s just hope that your next client meeting goes a little bit smoother than the last time. But don’t stop praying for that
While Ritwik Sauntra is a film student at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, photography is also a great passion of his. He enjoys travel photography and a major part of his work focuses on capturing breathtaking landscapes.
Night sky at Pangong lake, Leh, Ladakh.
Gurudongmar lake, Sikkim.
A monk performing early morning prayers at Pangong lake. Featured 39
Industry Expert Pandrang Row’s Take On Advertising Today
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE REALLY BAD Every generation of advertising guys thinks the next generation is all rubbish. This is axiomatic. However, advertising, like everything else, is subject to Sturgeon’s Law, which declares, “90% of everything is crap.” I was sitting in front of my television yesterday, watching a Hindi program and here’s a list of the TV commercials I saw. And what I thought they showed about the future of Indian advertising. Samsung Champ Deluxe – predictable to the last microsecond. Boy lures a bunch of his ‘pals’ under an arch for a photograph and his real pals drench them and he takes a photograph. Wow! Totally original, a real creative idea. Sorry guys. Just sarcasm. It was not even a decent demo. Just an ordinary ho-hum snooze of a TV commercial. And if Samsung was bad, next came horrid. A commercial for a Limca Contest. And now comes the oh-so-verypredictable idea. The first resort of every hack copywriter in the country. Wow! I’ve nailed it boss! Let’s use a Celebrity (yes, with a capital ‘C’). Let’s use Karishma Kapoor! Let’s go boys and girls, I’ve always wanted to meet that hot broad. This was followed by Nerolac and... tadaaah! Yet another brilliant idea! What are we going to do? Let’s use... hushed breath... drum roll... a... yes... let’s do it... use... a... celebrity. But just to change things a bit, let’s make it a hot guy instead of a hot broad. So... here comes... Shahrukh Khan.
The next was a predictable, scare-‘em-silly and get sales advertisement. Saffola – Predictable and unlikely to convince anybody.
The next showed a man riding a scooter and looking into his rear-view mirror and seeing a Scorpio, then another Mahindra SUV and yet another. Each time, he turns around to see nothing behind him. The ad was for Mahindra Scooters and suggested that Mahindra is behind all its products. Good stuff. Interesting, unlikely and intriguing. Gillette was the usual predictable P&G rubbish. Then came Aliva and... sorry boss, I’ve got an idea... not just a Celebrity! One celebrity in a Double Role (whooo!) and to make it really sexy let’s put her into her only really sexy role. Let me lay on you... the sexy, the talented, the amazing... Vidya Balan! Oh boy! And if that wasn’t enough, we had Garnier Light Fairness Moisturizer starring Priyanka Chopra on an off-day. Evidently, the film’s director was overly impressed by her star power and didn’t tell her, “Priyanka darling, they’re paying you money, try to behave like you mean it – not as if you came in for two hours, faked the whole thing and ran away.” And another predictable and boring ad for Colgate Sensitive Pro-relief – man in a white coat, whom we are expected to believe is a doctor (way too perfect and way too pretty and way too fake). Okay, let me stop there. Then we’re back to all those practical demonstrations of how Indian advertising has basically latched on to Japanese ideas, which are, “Demonstration! Celebrity! Image!” and we have Choc On – with (Surprise! Surprise!) yet another celebrity, the fair and lovely but oh-so-very-bland Katrina Kaif.
Advertising, like everything else, is subject to Sturgeon’s Law, which states,“90% of everything is crap. The next was a prototypical “client wants” commercial for Kisna Diamond Jewelry. “Client wants to show gifting!” “Yes boss!” “Client wants to show a wedding!” “Yes boss!” “Client wants to show a relationship between father and daughter” “Yes boss!” “And of course, client wants to show lots of diamonds!” “Yes boss!”
a Cannes Award) lies. What about the future? I think the proliferation of media will continue. We will see more and more specialist channels and there will be a requirement for specialist agencies and specialist creative people. There will also be the need for longer commercials, because the cost of media on specialist channels will be lower.
And yet another P&G classic for Head and Shoulders. Yes sir! A person in a white coat throwing off technical-sounding balderdash to convince you. But this time, just to make things different let’s make the doctor a pretty blonde.
Press is not going to be left behind, but I think agencies are going to have to get back to understanding and using press effectively. I also believe that good writing and good design are going to get more and more important – the net is fundamentally based on words and design. The moving picture actually has a very small role to play here – especially when it comes to advertising. Of course, the internet will play a bigger role, but I don’t think that will affect the quality (or lack of it) of commercials and advertising.
Now came the ancient American art-form; slice-of-life. It began with an advertisement for Badshah – very fake looking family, incredibly badly acted. There’s a nice word to describe that: obnoxious. Okay, so what’s the point? The point is that nothing much has changed in the last thirty years. For every ten commercials, there will be one good one. (Sturgeon’s Law Rules!) And that’s going to be true of the future as well. Not that there aren’t any good commercials – the Ultrabook commercials, the Airtel commercials (some of them – the ones with the wooden-faced Teutonic drivers are pitiful enough to make you cry) are examples, but there are a plethora of truly pathetic commercials out there. As there always were and always will be. You may ask, what about other media? And my answer is, well, what about it? I don’t remember the last time I saw a decent press advertisement. Or a decent hoarding. Or a decent poster. Every copywriter and art director is concentrating on only one thing. TV commercials. Which is cool. That’s where fame (and
In short, to quote the French, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.” As a business, advertising will have to change the way it works from concentrating on media to concentrating on ideas. But that’s something all the truly great agencies have always done, so again, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.” As the great Bill Bernbach said, “All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.” True yesterday. True today. True tomorrow. PANDRANG ROW Guest Writer Faculty at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology
A TALE OF TWO MUSEUMS Alison Byrnes, an artist with experience in the field of museums and galleries, contrasts two radically different museums in Bangalore and weighs their pros and cons.
The Visvesvaraya Science and Industrial Museum is always abuzz. If judging from the number of visitors (and, in current modes of thinking about museums, number of visitors IS the rubric for success), it is the most successful museum in Bangalore. Not only are the visitors numerous, but they are also varied. One could not simply characterize them as “school children,” or “families,” or “roving packs of young men.” They are all of the above, and more, as well as encompassing a range of socio-economic circumstances.
The average Bangalorean appears to be comfortable in the Visvesvaraya – not only the upper and uppermiddle classes. Further, visitors are at ease in the space, and feel comfortable engaging in behaviors not always associated with museums – running, shouting, laughing. Not far away is the relatively new, beautifully situated National Gallery of Modern Art. It is empty, or at least, close enough. The handful that is present shuffles about, hushed and sedate. Its buildings are lovely, its grounds serene, and its exhibits are professionally presented. Why is there such a huge difference in appeal?
Temple tops, political hoardings, vegetable carts, pujas, footpath hawkers, chaotic-yet-orderly traffic, seas of brightly patterned salwar suits, flower markets, rangoli decorations, wrought-iron gates – these are the elements that make up the visual landscape of South Asia. It is an area of the world well known
for its visual exuberance. Any given visual field just tends to have a lot of “stuff” in it. The “rules of good design,” however, were developed in places with very different visual landscapes (such as glass-andconcrete structures covered in snow). Modernism promised to clear away all of the visual clutter and crusaded on a decidedly anti-ornament platform. And, Modernism still remains the gold standard of international “good design.” Education is a form of indoctrination. Design education, obtainable by an elite demographic, trains designers to adopt and favor the “clean,” minimal aesthetic of Modernism. And, elite visitors, accustomed to the visual aestheticpreferred by elite institutions appreciate a Modernist visual landscape. Most museums do things the way they do them because other museums do things that way. This is how most decisions in life are made – we simply don’t have time to test, or innovate, for every decision. Somewhere far away in the 20th century, art museums came up with this concept of the “white cube” wherein art could be viewed in an atmosphere with minimal visual distractions so that the art itself could be contemplated upon (possibly to achieve a sort of transcendence). Nevermind that most art has been created for ritual use or for a place where it can be lived with, such as in a home or institution, where it could never expect to have a wall and unobstructed view all to itself. Even in museums, in times past paintings were hung “salon
style” with pieces displayed from floor to ceiling. Not all art was created for the purpose of being contemplated upon. Naturally, the people who espoused the ideal of the white cube were not ordinary members of the public, but elite thinkers in the arts. Now all art museums seem to be stuck with this legacy of the minimalist, Modernist way of exhibiting art, though it may have no resonance with its audience. The bare, unornamented Modernist mode is in direct conflict with the visuality that characterizes South Asia. However, in order to be in a position to make decisions about museums, one is de facto a member of the elite who have been indoctrinated that Modernism is the superior mode for displaying art, creating an infinite feedback loop of museum professionals disconnected from their public. The Visvesvaraya is characterized by its visually exuberant displays, which are colorful and busy. The NGMA uses the spare approach to its visuals typical of museums of its genre. Of course, the visual mode of the Visvesvaraya and NGMA is only one difference of many between the two. The former is also more interactive, and the subject matter and missions of the two diverge greatly. The architectural styles of the two institutions undoubtedly have a great bearing on their relative approachability as well. At the same time, there is a place for quiet, contemplative public spaces, so rambunctious behaviour is not the only indicator that a museum is successful.
ALISON BYRNES Guest Writer Faculty at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology
Cultural relevance is what’s at hand here. A museum, funded by the public as an offering to the public, has a fiduciary duty to serve the public, and “public” means as many different kinds of people as possible. One factor, of many variables that attract or repel a public, is the visual landscape proffered by a museum with respect to the cultural preferences of its public.
All art museums seem to be stuck with the minimalist, Modernist way of exhibiting art, though it may have no resonance with its audience.
The History Of An Uncertain Future Fundamental inspirations in digital information practices sprouted from the hypothetical electromechanical device ‘Memex’ proposed by renowned scientist, Vannevar Bush, in his 1945 essay titled “As We May Think”. The Memex (Memory + Index) concept entailed a system where a user could add associative trails to notes, books, communication and audio-visual experiences involving both himself and others. The memex in Bush’s view was to create trails of links in temporal sequences of subjective experiences of a person, accessible to him (and others) at anytime. -- a sort of augmented and extended memory. So fantastic and unfeasible was this ambitious proposal of his, that his name has entered the dictionary as a verb used to describe something unreasonably fantastic—as in, ‘to vannevar about something’! His idea had an immediate bearing and influence on the conception of the World Wide Web as well as the concept of hyperlink, which maps a single word in a document to other associative content. Douglas Engelbart inspired by Bush’s essay, invented an interface that aided the very metaphor of pinpointed navigation through hyperlinks—the X-Y Indicator – later came to be known to the world as the Computer Mouse.
Not much has changed in the ways in which humans have interacted at the interface level over the last few decades --The WIMP paradigm (Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers) has been here to stay. The X-Y indicator, previously mapping motions on a 2 dimensional track pad onto the screen, has simply been infused onto touch screens. While this may have eased the process of visual design automation, could our interaction be more natural, expressive, immersive and creative? Our experience in the real world is multi sensory and so is the way we communicate with others using our body, hands, visual cues and sound. Is there a way by which our interaction with people in the virtual world could closely mimic our real world behavior?
Sharath Chandra Ram, Fellow at the Centre for Internet and Society, maps the journey of interaction design.
The answer to the above questions came around the same time that the mouse was invented -- Myron Kreuger’s Videoplace, (unarguably the finest and first immersive virtual reality), created way back in the 1970s, combined two cultural forces -- the television (a purveyor of passive experience) and computer (symbol of forbidding technology) to create an expressive medium for communicating playfulness and active participation. He argues that, “computer art which ignores responsiveness is using the computer only for visual design automation, rather than as a basis for a new medium.” Kreuger used image processing and gestural interaction as early as in the 70s to interact with virtual objects in the digital world. While today, such techniques are gaining much commercial interest with gestural devices like the Microsoft Kinect ,,it seems Kreuger’s work had remained in the closet due to commercialization of XY mouse and touch devices. In fact the adage of user centric design, really only catered to enticing a users to information that the interface wants to disseminate rather than let the user engage with the interface in a natural flow. If one recalls the seemingly futuristic gestural interface that Tom Cruise uses in the film ‘Minority Report’ -- be assured, it’s already here! The entire working set of the film was developed by Jaron Lanier, pioneer in virtual reality systems who headed the National Tele Immersion Initiative. We are on the brink of a paradigm shift in our process of Access to Knowledge that is redefining concepts in user centric design. The linear way in which search results of Google are displayed on a browser across 200 pages will change this decade as the GUI will transform into 4 Dimensional Space along time, with relevant search results being clustered onto a connected graph node structure and distanced based on relevance. This calls for a more natural interface that depends not on the traditional keyboard-mouse interaction , but the use of intelligent interfaces such as eye-tracking, gaze, gesture and speech to sift through this database which presents itself in totality, along with multimodal feedback to the user.
If one recalls the seemingly futuristic gestural interface that Tom Cruise uses in the film ‘Minority Report’ -- be assured, it’s already here! On one hand, while one would like to see the price of natural interfaces being made affordable to the commoner, on the other it requires unlearning the traditional means of information interaction that we have been made quite comfortably accustomed to. This niche already exists thanks to media artists, hackers and academics who over the last 30 years who have released creative open source tools.
SHARATH CHANDRA RAM Guest Writer Faculty at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was the first electronic general-purpose computer.
Until then, of course, self appointed UX-Pandits, Design Consultancies, Advertising Agencies and Architecture Firms will continue to tailor existing free solutions into proprietary services with an exorbitant price tag and fancy names such as Augmented Reality to WOW their clients into the rigmarole of consumerism.
VINTAGE OBSESSION Popular fashion blogger, Smrithi Rao, tells us about her fixation with all things vintage.
Living in a different era has always fascinated me â€“ call it the golden age fallacy or term it nostalgia. So it was only normal that this extended to my style as well. Dressing for me is neither an art nor is it a skill. It is a sense and an expression, albeit an expensive one. This fueled my love affair for vintage.
Enter college and almost every one of us can agree we go through a clothing crisis. Itâ€™s synonymous with limited cash influx. This, however, does not limit our expansive ideas of who we want to be and the personality we want to portray. Standing out as an individual was the sole emphasis. I turned to vintage clothing for support as it is mostly one of its kind. Vintage clothing in India is mostly defined as hand-me-downs; it is inexpensive and this was my only attraction back then. Not all of them were in mint condition. This called for some improvisation, as beggar-chic was not my favorite kind of chicness. Daunting as it was, it taught me a whole lot about styling. Bringing out character in an outfit was part of it. Styling vintage clothing is therapeutic. It is as if modernism has met the glorious past. Stories from different eras can be weaved. You can channel a different tale every time. Every time I stumble upon a keeper, it is followed by a mandatory swooning session. It is as if the outfit is shrouded in mystery.
Styling vintage clothing is therapeutic. It is as if modernism has met the glorious past. The 90’s happens to be my favorite fashion period. The padded shoulders which are now called power shoulders. Crazy colors juxtaposed with geometric prints. High waist jeans, that taper around the ankles. Round framed glasses. Balloon skirts, cropped tops. Jeans, overalls, printed and plaid trousers. Big roomy pockets placed haphazardly. Suspenders and brogues when it comes to accessories. These are some of my favorite styles from the era. The trick while styling vintage clothing is not to overdo it. The idea is to embrace the era and not make it look like we are stuck in one. Wear one piece of vintage, mix it with some contemporary pieces and you’re good to make a statement. Local flea markets are the best places to find one. Though wearing seconds or hand-me-downs need not be the alpha and omega when it comes to wearing vintage. If you love vintage but for the love of them don’t know where to buy or go looking for it, then the easy way out would be to incorporate cuts, styles and looks from the past and your trusted local tailor will be your best bet. SMRITHI RAO Guest Writer www.vintage-obsession.com
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Studio Eksaat Join us as we talk to the couple behind Studio Eksaat, a graphic design studio based in Delhi.
What brought about the idea of Studio Eksaat? We both are from different fields - interiors and graphics. The problem in the design sector according to the both of us is that there are very few designs that add and integrate value and functionality. I personally feel that a lot of design is forced onto the client even if it’s not needed. Ethically and morally this was a huge problem the both us faced. So we decided to start our own studio which was in line with our ideas and thoughts. So what are your work principles? We don’t believe in making money on grand ideas, especially if the work can be done on half the budget. If it’s not needed, we don’t do it. There is no point in wasting our time and the client’s money. It’s almost like we bring the team to you for what you need and not what we think you need. What brought about the name? There are two ways of looking at it. One is our studio address is 17, which is ek saat in hindi. And the second is because we work in collaboration with each other.
What are your biggest learnings in terms of managing a self run studio? The managerial part of running a studio is not something that creative people are good at. We are a two member team and we look after everything from the design to the finances and accounts. Managing all of these side by side is the biggest challenge we are still working on. I personally feel that no one can reach ‘perfection’, but we tend to manage fine.
Do you plan to expand in the future? In terms of space, we are very happy with our little studio. It gives us the positive energy we need. But in terms of working with people, we already collaborate with people on the basis of projects. And maybe as a 5 year plan we might want to give expanding a thought.
Your first experience with a client. It was not very different from working through a studio. We both handled separate departments in our previous studios. But yes, the difference is in terms of the decision making and choices. You can decide how to deal with the client and where you draw the line. You can lay your cards out on the table and have a one on one interaction. The final call is taken by us, and not the boss. The hierarchy gets cut off and you’re in direct contact with the client. In short, you’re the boss! As a college student, where did you see yourself in the future? I was freelancing all throughout I was in college. And even then I faced the same issues with my clients and with the ideologies of the design professionals. I always knew I wanted to run my own business and have a place of my own.
Why make things quirky? Do you feel your work reflects the both of you in it? Pretty much yes. We all want to own beautiful things. So why not make them functional and quirky at the same time.
What sets you apart from the other upcoming or existing studios? I feel that the indian market is selling a western concept of India to us. And it’s everywhere! A lot of times we need things that somebody would make looking at our culture and country in mind. What works for the West necessarily doesn’t work for our country. We figured that most of the beautiful products in the market are not very functional and too expensive. And the other was the functional products that aren’t very appealing. So we try to bridge this gap and make cost effective, useful and good looking products that you would like to own. Tell us some more about things! Useful, fun , quirky , functional and most importantly easy on the pocket. So who is the boss among the two of you? We divide the work quite equally, and we our own little system figured out. I’m slightly better at something and he’s better at the rest. Any new upcoming projects? Or something you’re really looking forward to work on. We’ve been thinking of coming up with The Upcycling Project. It’s something the both of us are really interested in. More people should start reusing things that we already own instead of mindlessly buying new ones. One quote I read somewhere really made me think about the way we use the things we own. It says- ‘If people grow their own food, make their own furnitures and get their own water; they would think twice before throwing the things they own’ Our project will require people to send their old stuff to us and we revamp it and give it back to you at an affordable cost. It almost amounts to one-tenth of how much you would spend on buying a new piece of furniture. Talk Box 59
Playing card coasters.
Door hanger. 60
Talk Box 61
RABRI TATTOO ART
Textile Design Student, Nupur Panemanglor, takes you through her project on Rabri tattoos.
When Marco Polo journeyed to India in the mid 1200s, he recorded having observed various plant and animal motifs dotted on the skin of the native Indian women. These traditional tattoos, having spanned over centuries, can be found even today in urbanized areas, usually on migrants from semi-urban and rural areas. But the largest indigenous tattoo cultures exist in the tribal communities that occupy regions such as Kutch, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Nagaland and Mizoram etc. Known by different names in different parts of India; these markings also usually differ in terms of the imagery, arrangement and semiotics from one region to another. However, there exists a common underlying theme of religious, cultural and environmental values in these various tattoo cultures.
One particularly striking tattoo culture of India can be seen in the Kutch district of Northwest Gujarat. Kutch is essentially a dry desert region, which extends into the vast salt marsh of the Rann of Kutch that meets the Arabian Sea in the West. The pastoral Rabari community makes up a large part of the Kutchi population. The women of this nomadic tribe have vast tattoos all over their bodies, starting from their face and neck to their arms, hands, legs and feet. These tattoos, known locally as â€˜trajuvaâ€™, are normally comprised of a number of small, symbolic motifs that are arranged in rows to create larger body markings. These picturesque tattooed women, along with their piercings and traditional attire, are what sparked my interest in this particular traditional tattoo culture. And I went deeper into the project, I found that there is minimal information about the Rabari tattoos on the Internet and in public libraries; the only real existing research can be found in obscure government texts and restricted university papers. I found this both alarming as well as exciting, realizing that here in front of me lay an opportunity to explore, study and document a primitive art practice that will inevitably fade away into the urban phenomenon, like so many other lost traditions. Through my project, I aim to illuminate and document this beautiful art form through a series of portraits of Rabari women I encountered during my visit to Kutch, along with a small visual book containing a compilation of my research, personal reflections and an index of the several symbols that are traditionally used in trajuva.
NUPUR PANEMANGLOR Guest Writer Student at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology
THE COMIC CON EXPRESS
W attempts to understand what this fad really means to the average Indian.
There were people milling around and the smell of new comic books combined with the sweat and excited confusion of a couple hundred Bangaloreans assailed one’s nostrils. A closer look revealed some feeble attempts at trying to dress like a character with some interesting homemade statement pieces. Comic Con Bangalore was an event that impressed a lot of the city dwellers with most people’s statuses reading something along the lines of ‘Comic Con Bangalore was EPIC’. The stalls were all decked up with vibrant visuals just fighting for your attention and at first glance there seemed to be a plethora of styles. Closer inspection revealed an interesting smattering of comics, but that was again balanced with pieces that weren’t very strong. Some classic illustrators were placed alongside extremely overdone stereotypes and music posters. The order of the stalls was a little random but that could have easily been the intention.
"While it is great that India has jumped on the Comic Con bandwagon, the question of cashing in on the general public’s need to belong to a hip subculture also arises." From the times of Jataka Tales and Amar Chitra Katha, mythology has always been an intrinsically Indian muse, which seems to have spilled over into graphic novels too. While some people scrunched up their nose at this, the couple of comics on display that had such influences didn’t seem so bad. The main Comic Con stall had very clichéd contemporary Indian illustrated products that seemed to be selling like hotcakes. The only extremely memorable character, which happened to become the unofficial mascot with his face comically stamped on all the entry bands, was Wolver-Anna. The intent of Comic Con India is highly debatable because while it is great that India has jumped on the Comic Con bandwagon and created a forum for the true scattered fans of these niche interests to interact, the question of cashing in on the general public’s need to belong to a hip subculture also arises. The idea of the event not having an entry fee was an interesting move because it opened up its doors to people from all walks of life, which resulted in an intriguing mixed lot. It was interesting to see Bangalore’s interpretation of an event that up until recently, we had all only heard mentioned with avid enthusiasm on The Big Bang Theory. After an initial look at the stalls, the energy of the entire event starts to grow on you, unless you are met with a sight that is as strange as the one I encountered. Walking towards me, waving, happened to be two characters that I would never have associated with an event like Comic Con. We 90’s kids love to hate on one of them while the other has been recently ripped apart in popular memes. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting - Dora the Explorer and Ninja-trust me only the first part of the name oozes cool-Hattori.
KOYAL CHENGAPPA In-house writer
Enough said? Enough said.
Published on May 8, 2013