Known Unknowns Goldsmiths BA Design 2016 Edited and designed by Nicola Charlotte Bradley, Lucrecia Camiletti, Joseph Curle, Matthew Edgson, Dean Pankhurst, Anna Louise Quijano, Tom Wagstaff Printed by Ex Why Zed First Published in Great Britain 2016 by Known Unknowns Goldsmiths University of London New Cross London SE14 6NW ÂŠ Known Unknowns, Goldsmiths BA Design 2016 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the permission of the publishers or the authors concerned. ISBN 978-1-5262-0460-8 www.knownunknowns.co.uk
Known Knowns Things* that we÷ know exist and believe to fully understand. Known Unknowns Things* that we÷ know exist and acknowledge that we do not fully understand. Unknown Knowns Things* that we÷ don’t know that we know. Unknown Unknowns Things* that we÷ do not know exist. ÷
* Objects, Systems, Ideologies, Policies etc. The individual, A Demographic, A Society etc.
Our practice explores the unfamiliar and complex fields of Known Unknowns. Here, design is not rigid and knowledge is unstable. The more we know, the less we know. More questions answered, more questions asked. We do not know everything. This body of work is a contribution to knowledge, accessible on an expansive scale. Artifacts are exhibited [Truman Brewery 16/6/16-20/6/16] collated [Known Unknowns Book] and contextualised [www.knownunknowns.co.uk/people]. We invite you to shift your state of knowing.
hen Tom Wagstaff came into my office to ask me to write something slightly different for the Known Unknowns publication, I was a bit worried. I was tasked to give an account of 'the people’, ‘the year group’; a personal story of the cohort of students that I’ve taught over the last three years. My initial worry was that I didn’t know enough, that my knowledge of them would be partial, misrepresentative and bias… and I guess it will be. But over the last month, I think I know more. Tragic events have led to a new deeper understanding of the class of 2016. This is what I’ve learnt: On being human The people found within the pages of this publication are strong, courageous and resilient human beings. They have approached their studies with an attitude that has the beneficial side effect of making them deeply impressive people; emotionally, intellectually, ethically and practically. This is at the root of education, whether we’re learning about design, literature, philosophy or mathematics, the sum gain is not new knowledge, but the path towards a different understanding of the world and our position within it. The people in this publication are not only great designers, but they have demonstrated a level of human kindness and hope that we should cherish and celebrate. Death of the Auteur Design is not an individual expression or self centred pursuit. We’re living in a world full of ‘wicked problems’ 2 where the challenges that face us are mind bogglingly complex. However, design culture is still pretending that design is something that can be managed and evolved through the singular (often white male) genius. This is a fallacy 1. The class of 2016 know this. If we’re going to push design practice into new realms, where it engages with the social, economic and political systems of the world, we need to educate young designers to understand they do not hold all the answers. Entering the profession with humility and sensitivity is a brave act when faced with ruthless commercial competitiveness, but the answer to our global problems is not to withdraw into egoism, but to connect; connect with other disciplines, specialisms and people, to unpick the problems, find tactics and progress towards a greater good.
Education is not an individual enterprise Throughout their time at Goldsmiths the Known Unknown contributors have designed and learnt as a collective; sharing ideas, thoughts, skills and knowledge to enable them to tackle ever more complex problems. Their practice has evolved in the space in-between them and others; the unknowable territory of discourse and debate; where a community advances its understanding; where the collective endeavour defines the future. The growing neoliberal drive that is consuming higher education means that celebrating the communal and social value inherent within University education is difficult. Our task is to build a case for a model of education that isn't driven by functional or economic criteria, but one of true collective transformation. Join the resistance We are in unstable times, where the political, economic and environmental conditions of the world are fragile. During such times it can feel foolish to embrace an art school education. Seen by many as luxurious and frivolous, arts education arms people with the tactics to engage with the modern world; a place where creativity is nurtured and risk is celebrated, where the known unknowns are examined, manipulated, investigated and understood. Matt Ward, 2016
1. Bannocks, S. (2013) Auteur Fallacy 2. Rittel, H. and Webber, M. "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning," pp. 155– 169, Policy Sciences, Vol. 4, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1973.
Untitled Tuur Van Balen
What Will We Do? Stuart Bannocks
Smithfield Market: The Human Factory Lena Asai
Expanded Reading Giang An
Search by Image Holly Fogg
Fabrics of Identity Rachel Glover
Khoros Alpha Laura Fontana
The Interconnective Skyline Signe Greve
The Warrior Inside A Turkmen Women Revealed Humay Meredova
cmd_alt_dogma Christian Watts
The Allotment Centre Anya Obrez
Placebo Authortiy Emily Sayers
Dream Amira Sénèque
Canary Wharf ‘A Drama in Time’ Sihang Wang
Show Not Tell Tom Wicks
The witch-in-a-bottle from the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. Martin Conreen
An Ode to the Plural of One. 1921 Joseph Harrington
Gender Inequality Shuley Begum
After the Welcome Alaa Alsaraji
Objects for the End of the World Nicola Charlotte Bradley
Architectures of Authority Rebecca Dray
Accomodating Grief Samantha Goldsmith
Anticipating Megatsunami in the Search for the Sublime Rosie Martin
Paper-Valued Politics Justine Kusuma
Sustainable Production Daniel Rockman
Architectural Dictation Elena Terrones-Huet
An Ode to Screwfix Liam Healy
Untitled Nadine Jarvis
Ġib Il-Baħar Bring in the Sea Keith Bonnici
Generic Sentimental Clare Merritt
Selfish Structures Stephen Curtis
Women’s Work Eve Nightingale
Species Neutral WC Dan Hay
Buried Sarah Smith
The New Old Age Eve Hohwieler
Everyday Pleasures Hannah Wilson
Wyoming Anna Louise (Lia) Quijano
Power Plays Helen Lucy-Wyatt
Insiders and Outsiders Nina Smale
The Rorschach Chicken Jimmy Loizeau
Napoleon’s Book of Fate Dash Macdonald
FILMPUNK Rhi Bowen
Project Pledge Emma Callan
HIBA Joe Mckenzie
Shifting Parliamentary Motion Lucrecia Camiletti
The Memory Hoarders Emily Mulhall
God is Dead, Long Live God Joseph Curle
“I Didn’t Do Anything Political Today” Lucy Sharpe
Building the Cinematic Matthew Edgson
Animated Politics Daniel Zhao
Shaping Moments Evanne Kok
High Tides and Low Rates Nicholas Lukes
Interspecies Intersections Clare Thompson
The Smell of Surveillance Valeriya Zaytseva
Untitled Laura Potter
Untitled Matt Ward
Phobia Navigation Aleksandra Lella
A Space for Play Amelia Dray
Mythology Accelerated Claire LiĂŠnard
Gurkhaâ€™s Identity Leena Rana
I The Machine Dean Pankhurst
Film Photography and the City Keegan Shepherd
State of Play Michael Price
Runner, Psyche, Space. Amy White
The Power of Narrative Akansha Sethi
Forensic Cycle Planning Matt Williams
Spectre of Past Futures Issy Wright
Untitled Joanne Wardrop
Known Unknowns Exhibition
Pixel Perfect Dating Panayiota Cornelisse
Material Everything Ada Cable
Transformative Aesthetic Culture Chloe Hooker
Fluid Learning Rishil Parekh
Careoke Alicia (Lissi) Simpson-Watt
Private Cartography Tom Wagstaff
Design is not rigid, knowledge is unstable.
Tuur Van Balen
nce, a great poet was invited by a prestigious university to give a lecture series on poetry. Almost 80 years old1 and near blind, the great poet nevertheless delivered a virtuous series of talks. The talks however, start with a warning. Saint Augustine once said: “What is time? If people do not ask me what time is, I know. If they ask me what it is, then I do not know.” The poet felt the same way about poetry. Today, a tutor is asked to write about the work made by this year’s graduating students, to contextualise this work with something he knows. Because the tutor knows. But what do we know about good work? We could attempt to define it, or attribute criteria to it that lives in assessment sheets. But we also know these definitions don’t work. Because, and this is the most important, we know good work when we encounter it. We know it so well that we cannot define it, like the colour blue or the smell of coffee or the feeling of losing someone or the warmth of friendship. Perhaps, as the poet said, we can only define something when we know nothing about it. 1
The poet delivered the lecture series at Harvard University in the fall of 1967 and the spring of 1968. According to his wikipedia page, he was born on 24 August 1899. That makes him 78 years old. Yet, he starts the first lecture with saying “I am nearing seventy.” I don’t know who to believe.
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Smithfield Market: The Human Factory Beyond bringing food to our plate, what is the role of a modern day butcher in the field of healthcare? Through the lens of Smithfield Meat Market, The Human Body Factory manifesto aims to introduce the craftsmanship of a butcher into the healthcare industry. The project delivers this message through various media involving photography, swing dancing and gummy cows.
should invite new methods and systems to modernise the commodities produced and sold directly at the market. What would happen if butchers were to start selling collagen, gelatine or bone china at the market? How would this challenge the way society perceives the status of a butcher? While the architecture of Smithfield is celebrated for its 800 year history, and its 200 year old architecture, there is no significant attention given to the context of its location. To question this, a photobook was produced. The piece questions whether butchery at Smithfield Meat Market is worth recording both for its history and its modern form. In addition to giving viewers a chance to acknowledge butchers as a significant element to Smithfield’s history, the project aims to give the butchers of the market an opportunity to observe their job objectively and re-think the significance of their occupation in a larger context. This topic becomes ever more relevant, as the Museum of London makes its move to one of the buildings inside Smithfield Meat Market in 2021. The project hopes to give British people a new perspective into the food industry and its history. If western cultures are obsessed with Japanese Tsukiji Fishmarket, only 200 years old, why aren’t they focusing on Smithfield Market? The project questions why such an integral element to history of British food culture is not represented in this institution. E-Genesis http://www.egenesisbio.com/
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he Human Body Factory’ explores the possibility of butchery becoming an integral part of the healthcare industry, ultimately questioning its place in our society beyond bringing food to our plate. The project was originally inspired by a interaction with a synthetic biology start-up called EGenesis. They claim to genetically engineer pigs in order to harvest their body parts for organ donation. This began an investigation into the social context in which this technology could be utilised, and this then progressed into an interest in the dissection of animals. Thus, prompting a visit to Smithfield Meat Market in London. The field work at Smithfield Meat Market created a focus on the medical aspects of butchery. Butchery is ultimately a medical process as it requires an extensive knowledge of animal anatomy. The skills have been passed on from man to man for centuries and it can not be automised as each animal varies in size and shape. The market has undergone extensive change during its 800 year history, heavily influenced by health and safety regulations. Therefore, it could be said that butchers and doctors are involved in the same cycle; doctors heal and remove parts of the body, and butchers provide the protein which contributes to the creation of these bodies. The exploration of this relationship began due to a butcher called Ian, who is also a swing dancer. After an interview with Ian, the project began to use Swing Dancing as a tool to connect professions that would not ordinarily intersect. In the piece, Butcher Swing, Ian, a butcher, and Julie, a doctor, were invited to swing dance at Smithfield Meat Market to explore this relationship further. This piece explores two main concepts. Firstly, it explores the power structure of the relationship of the butcher and a doctor in the context of the market. Doctors are the ones who are usually in control of the decision making process in the market, but in this scenario, the butcher leads the doctor around the space. Secondly, an intimacy is introduced into a nonintimate environment. Processes of the project also involve using reclaimed, discarded bones to produce gelatine, which are then crafted into gummy cows. This piece highlights how the system at Smithfield has remained unchanged over the years. It brings to the forefront the question as to whether they
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Search by Image How can images be used constructively to develop new forms of expression and self-awareness? By using other peopleâ€™s images to create personal memories, this project treads the line between what is physical, what is virtual, what is real and what is fiction to explore questions of authenticity.
his project is an investigation into the way images can be used to transform and develop a person’s identity by reappropriating ways images can be collated, created and used. It has resulted in a means of self-expression that could be seen either to be unexpected or as entirely predictable. This project has been guided by two underlying questions. Firstly, how can the distorted and fragmented appearance of the self, projected through digital engagements that are continually shifting and twisting, allow for individuals to transform and express themselves
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in new, liberating ways? And secondly, to what extent does a purely virtual, curated self extend beyond frame and into real life? Derrida’s ‘Parergon’ (Derrida, 1979) means ornament as well as supplement, an idea that can be paralleled with the notion of a painting’s frame. It refers to a point that ‘disappears into the other’ which can be used to underpin the exploration of certain moments. Moments that cannot be defined as wholly technological nor merely human, but instead exist at an intermediate state of revealing ambiguity that allows for new encounters and self-expression. In the physical world, there will always be distance between people and their surroundings. But when projecting a representation of oneself within a virtual environment, this representation is integrated within another framework; a homogenised network. Images tend to define a person almost acting as an advertisement. The distinction is unclear between what you believe to be you and what image is projected of you, your attitudes and aspirational appearance of you. How can these shifting boundaries be probed and tested? To begin the process, a series of false interests and hobbies were entered into Google’s search engine. The aim of this experiment was not to hide an identity but rather to actively obscure online behaviour by creating ‘disruptive patterns’ through the medium of a search engine. The findings would manifest themselves within social media pages as suggested posts and sponsored advertisements. During the experiment it became apparent that it was impossible to create a ‘decoy identity’ that was completely detached and anonymous. At what point would this decoy persona become a reality? Can a performance ever be separated from reality? It seemed possible to perhaps use an automated and unconscious entity, one that eliminates doubt and hesitation, to reveal new attitudes or encourage new behaviours. The next stage of the project involved uploading personal images to Google’s ‘Search By Image’ function, which gives suggestions of visually similar images; these results were then consolidated into a booklet. The striking similarities between Google’s suggested images and those uploaded gave an idea of the various ways in which these images could be used. Both sets of images are completely detached from one another and yet bear an uncanny resemblance. How could these suggested images be made to feel more familiar?
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The images were gradually assimilated by engaging with them in a number of ways. Music playlists were created from suggested music and the original images were re-photographed with objects and poses from the suggested images. A number of the locations of the images were visited, remapping and finding new routes through London, photographing the same image. Soon, entire scenes were being recreated. If photographs are used to make memories, to remember something, perhaps they can be used as a starting point for creating entirely new memories? In visualising how these images were made, adjusting and tweaking the scene again and again, memories were becoming rerouted. Can a memory be stolen? In order for the images to feel less like setups or re-enactments, photographs were taken of other experiences, imagining what else might have happened before and after the image. Imagining how the image got to this point and where it might go was giving the image a past and a future. Berger suggests “meaning is not instantaneous. Meaning is discovered in what connects, and cannot exist without development. Without a story, without an unfolding, there is no meaning… Photographs are ambiguous, all photographs have been taken out of a continuity and discontinuity always produces ambiguity” (Berger 1982). And it is this point of revealing ambiguity that provides a space for new encounters and self-expression. Within this space, in creating a past and future for somebody else’s photograph, it is possible to experience things that are entirely unexpected, what has never been expected of you and what you never expected to do. The project investigates new techniques that lead to new discoveries. A new Facebook page was created using the new images that had evolved throughout the project, while the previous Facebook page was deleted. The experiences were consolidated by the acknowledgement of others. An unexpected consequence, was that the responses to people’s reactions and comments felt automatic, almost like a reflex, like an algorithm processing information. There was no hesitation. If something had been suggested, it would be done and recorded. Through continually playing out these roles and allowing people’s suggestions and encouragements to guide the experiences, one role in particular had begun to feel second
nature. A tendency or habit that had become characteristic or instinctive. This was the role of ‘the gardener’, developed from an image of a man standing in his allotment. Prior to the project, no personal understanding and appreciation of gardening and floristry existed. When you are able to see your experiences on social media, opened up for everyone to see, it was at this point, you are able to look at yourself, as an object of your own contemplation, and realise, this is what you wanted to do with your time. This project has developed in such a way that other documented lives and other curated images are no longer seen as an impossible ideal, but as a form of expression that can be crafted, learned and lived through just like any other role or skill. A system has been designed to encourage and develop capabilities, ideas to pursue and means of self-expression for those who might lack a strong sense of identity but also to develop an empowered relationship with images through the internet. Contrasting what can be produced almost without conscious input, for example Google algorithms, with ways of consciously living through and recreating images, a space has been established where the interplay can create new meaning and new opportunities for unexpected encounters. The experience of an image is constantly under assault. What has been developed is a way in which images are used less for pure nostalgia, passive record-keeping or as a means of comparing one another but constructively to develop new forms of expression and self-awareness.
Derrida, J. and Owens, C. (1979) The Parergon. Vol. 9. 3-41. MIT Press. Berger, J. and Mohr, J. (1982) Another Way Of Telling 91. Writers and Readers Publishing Ltd.
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Khoros Alpha Can a performance be entirely defined by its design? This project explores how design can act as a director in the creative process of devising work for performance, by defining its narrative through costume and set, to create a flexible and itinerant performance installation. This installation begins to investigate the difference between animation and movement.
he design of a set or costume for performance is generally a response to the story’s needs, the characters’ personalities or the director’s interpretation of the play. But could a performance be defined by its design, transforming the performer into a user, directed or even animated by the surrounding scenography? The concept of animation, from the Latin ‘animare� meaning ‘to fill with breath or life’, has taken an increasingly important place in this project’s process. From its most popular meaning, of creating movement in a non-living object, to the more complex idea of animation being used as a tool to create an effect, or an illusion on images to show them as moving. The word’s specific definition has changed and evolved along with the project. Close to Jean-Louis Barrault’s notion of ‘Total Theatre’, this installation interconnects all facets of performance through a physical outcome existing in and throughout a space. The animation system alone materialises all aspects of immersive performance, including the relationships between
leader generates an opposite reaction in the other, resulting in an animation of the second performer or object. By reacting to the physical impulses transmitted to them through the harness, the movements of the animated dancer will generate a new choreography, parallel to the one executed by the leader. Although the animated dancer is, in fact, compelled into movement by the lead performer, the individual nature of their reactive choreography gives them creative entity, effectively devising the work and performing it at the same time. The set/costume mechanism is not only a dance show to be presented before an audience, but also a tool that can be used by choreographers, dancers and theatre makers to generate new dance material from already existing choreographies or movements. The costume embodies the idea of ‘mimism’, described by Marcel Jousse in his book ‘Anthropology of Gesture’ as a fundamental human phenomenon. As he explains it, human beings first understand the world by physically grasping its meaning, mirroring its forms, shapes, rhythms and spaces in order to be conscious of it and internalise it, which is the reason why gestures act as tools, preceding language and even thinking, in the learning and identification process of an individual.
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bodies, space, direction and body control within the space. As a performance, the scenography offers a wide range of underlying theoretical concepts and cultural references. These concepts will be experienced and analysed at a more or less conscious level by audience members, allowing each spectator to have their own interpretation, based on their life experiences and personal sensibility. More importantly, it expands the role and responsibilities of the performers to make them part of the entire creative process, putting them simultaneously in the roles of dancers, directors and spectators. This system not only creates a communication network between the two performers, but also enhances their relationship with the space they inhabit, no matter its location or size. This system is inspired by the work of the advocates of experimental theatre such as Peter Brook, who broke the traditional fourth wall of proscenium auditoriums, and took over non-theatrical spaces in the late 60’s. The system of ropes and pulleys acts as a point of balance between the performers’ bodies, influencing their movements and altering the visual outcome. The result is an extensively adaptable, non site-specific performance installation that uses a series of clamps, ties and straps as well as a costume to allow for the communication between space and performer. Each aspect influences the movements of the other and creates an ever-changing experience for both performers and spectators. The scenography acts as a general animating system, and explores the interaction between performer and object. By embracing the more traditional concept of puppetry, it reveals a potential for a greater performer-set interaction. This especially applies to the field of dance, where the choreography would not only move the dancer but also animate a whole set. The white polygon’s structure and weight offers a wide range of subtle responses to the performer’s impulses whilst demonstrating and attesting possibilities that the system can offer. While the costume acts simultaneously as a receptor and emitter, linking the performers together and/or to an object, each action of the
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By enabling the performer to only react to physical stimulus without having to make decisions, this garment allows them to consciously grasp and process the ongoing performance and become both performer and spectator. Inspired by the work of German artist Rebecca Horn, especially her projects on body extension and the way she emphasises the human body instead of concealing it, the costume is a nude coloured unitard that offers a blank canvas on which the black stripes of the harness map the body’s main muscles, bones and joints. Made of stretch material to improve its resistance and comfort, it has metal rings sewn at all the main articulation points and body’s gravity centres to assure the most effective transmission of the physical impulses between the two performers. However, it is still resistant enough to direct the animated dancer without hurting them or hindering the lead dancer in their movements. This pattern, similar in a way to the beef cut charts found in a butcher shop, uses bands of different width to hierarchize the bodies’ anatomy. It directs the audience’s gaze into considering the human form as an assemblage rather than a block. It also helps the objectification of the performer’s body through the costume, enhancing the image of a body giving up control and becoming a consciously willing animated puppet in the hands of the scenography. The arrangement of snap hooks and ropes onto the performers’ harnesses have been designed to facilitate their mobility, keeping free the legs of the animated dancer to ensure their good balance and the core of the leader to allow for a greater range of movements. This specific arrangement, perfected through numerous trials, creates a complimentary image on the dancers’ bodies, visually reinforcing a sense of either dancer as two sides of a single unit. The title of the project, ‘Khoros Alpha’, reinforces this idea of unity. The term Alpha,
derived from the Hebrew ‘aleph’, the number one, conveys the idea of beginning and togetherness. Khoros, is a term historically used to designate the ancient Greek tragedy’s chorus, an ensemble in which different personalities would merge to create a single entity, and later refers to any dance activity. This title introduces the project’s conclusive definition of ‘animation’: an animation through dance and movement, physically linking the performers and objects together to create a single entity, like many faces of the same being, completing each other. These individual outcomes illustrate the different facets of the complete performance system of which they are a part of, each presenting a different way of engagement with both the performance space and the performers inhabiting it.
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The Warrior Inside a Turkmen Woman Revealed Can carpet weaving be used to revolutionise the minds of the Turkmen people? This project revolves around the idea of revolutionising the minds of Turkmen: specifically, their views on the social standing of women, who have gone from being warriors to housewives that experience no respect today. In order to do this, the skill which Turkmen women have in carpet weaving has been used to express a feminist message.
to express a feminist message in this project: it contradicts Turkmen women’s place in society as they are the ones who weave these carpets that are admired all over the world. In order for women to feel as if they have power and superiority over men, a hybrid weaving loom/exercising machine called WEAFIT has been created, which can be used to make wearable items. These items work as an assurance or security for women, a symbol of armour. For example, if women are in a certain situation where they are made to feel inferior or unimportant, or if they are facing some sort of a threat, this armour would be there to remind them that they have the strength to stand up to their opponent. This armour, designed to help women to appreciate their true place in society, is accompanied by the process of its creation, as this is where the importance and power predominantly lie. Thus the user would be both gaining strength physically as well as conceptually. The armour is part of the final outcome and takes the form of a data sheet that shows the fitness level of the user. From this data sheet, the user is able to identify if they are fit enough to create a whole body armour and deserve to wear it. This data sheet is also a medal that can be worn, giving the wearer a ranking similar to that of the army. It is read by seeing how close together the weaves are: the closer they are, the higher the fitness level of the weaver. Normally wool is used when weaving carpets, however this was replaced with leather due to wool not being strong enough to create armour. Leather was also used to give the wearer more importance 30 – 31
his project is of personal significance to the designer, and the concept has been chosen as its foundations are built around Turkmenistan. Many things in Turkmenistan are perceived in an old-fashioned way, and this project explores how to make a difference to this. Changing the way Turkmen think would need to be done step by step, revolutionising their minds slowly, not explicitly. Around the world, women were, and often still are, seen as housewives, and many artists have addressed this issue in their work. An example of this is the photomontage, ‘Expectation’ by Valie Export (1976). It shows the artist editing herself into Botticelli’s ‘Madonna of the Pomegranate’ and portraying herself holding a vacuum cleaner in order to challenge the sexist view that women are only good for domestic and maternal purposes. The artist cleverly used a renowned painting and transformed it to express a feminist message. This is what has been done through this project—however, not through an artwork but through something that represents Turkmenistan, carpet weaving. Carpet making was, and still is, an important part of the history of Turkmenistan and Turkmen women. Today the carpets are known as Bokhara carpets, since they were bought in Turkmenistan and sold in Bokhara when the Silk Road was active. Carpet weaving is an ancient art in Turkmenistan which is carried out by women. Traditionally all women were weavers. They were not taught formally how to weave carpets; they learned by watching their mothers. Making a good quality carpet requires a high level of skill. There are even lullabies that express the wish that little girls develop proficiency and speed in their carpet making: “My little sister is like a flower, she weaves a carpet in a month, Beautiful and closely woven, A hundred and fifty threads in one knot.” As Islam became more conservative, in many areas of the Islamic world women’s roles in society became more restricted; and due to this, women in most Islamic countries lost their jobs to men. However, in Turkmenistan, women are still the main weavers and men only make the weaving frames; this situation is not questioned. Even so, women in Turkmenistan are not given an equal or higher role in society to men. It is for this reason that carpet weaving has been used
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Data sheets / Armour pieces
The WEAFIT (weaving loom/exercising machine)
The process, violent actions and object, WEAFIT, used to make the armour (the weaving/exercising machine) The materials used in the process The data sheets, which will be the woven items The armour being worn How the loom and armour are perceived as a whole
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• • • • •
The Warrior Inside a Turkmen Woman Revealed
aesthetically; and potentially in the future Kevlar may be incorporated into the armour to make it bulletproof. The layers which make up this project and the rich contextual framework are what make it interesting. Each of the following areas is part of the final outcome and has been listed separately, although each step relies on the others:
Throughout this project a variety of processes have been used to make this project possible. Firstly, practical research was required in order to learn specialist methods and skills, an educational and rewarding experience. The most important skill that had to be learnt in order to develop and move this project forward was carpet weaving. It was also necessary to research and learn the exercises practised by female bodybuilders in order to develop upper body muscles. Lastly, a number of smaller prototypes of the WEAFIT were created through experimentation in order to arrive at the final design. Initially the target users for WEAFIT were the women in Turkmenistan, however, there are other scenarios where women are belittled and disrespected. This is a worldwide issue, and therefore the loom that has been created can potentially be used by women from different cultures. Of course it has a closer link to Turkmen women as they weave carpets and it is something that they have been doing throughout history, nonetheless, it may also offer a way through which the women of Turkmenistan can begin to think differently and accept how women in other cultures have changed the way they are perceived by society. Since it is something that is used for exercising, WEAFIT has been shown in use in a gym, although it could also be used in a domestic environment.
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The Allotment Centre How does logistics construct and maintain structure to our everyday lives? The Allotment Centre is a newly proposed system that redefines the role of food distribution for allotment spaces in future urban settings.
ooking at logistic systems we can see encapsulated future versions of our cities; automated conveyor belts, robots stamping on boxes, shelves upon shelves of things. Many of these images currently belong to data and distribution centres and they serve as a proxy for the environment that we might all be living in the future. But could this be our future? Distribution is becoming more prominent and essential as the increase of globalisation and automation is occurring within the 21st century. Yet, it is a system overlooked in favour of consumption and production, becoming an immaterial consideration when evaluating
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the structure and sustainability of the current urban food system. It is a system that is both immeasurable and ubiquitous, and thus, situates itself into a known-unknown, becoming an area in which there is no common ground to comment, investigate, or act upon. This body of work focuses on food distribution, investigating its existing operational mechanisms and effect on the urban food system, defining new spaces within the city to start implementing modern-day elements of food logistics. Allotment spaces, Community Gardens, and City Farms make up 2,457 acres of land within the City of London, with the potential to gross over 34.8 million pounds in revenue. As the demand for small-scale, community-based food production increases, it is causing an insurgence of these peripheral food networks. Engaging with individuals and communities in current local food projects around London, discussions were established surrounding the lack of infrastructural components of food distribution within these communities. Initiatives such as the London Food Policy Plan of 2016 purposed various food production projects, yet did not acknowledge the need for growing sustainable and valid infrastructure. These discussions helped to further define the direction of the project, focusing on designing for local, bottomup communities. The project started as an investigation into the physical sites of food distribution and the possibilities for their expansion. It is based on Shannon Matternâ€™s article Infrastructural Tourism (2013), in which she discusses the need for mass infrastructural site tours in order for the public to start engaging and understanding the making of infrastructure. Following this call-toaction, the project focused on examining specific components and mechanisms of distribution centres. By examining the existing systems in several different sites and analysing their structures, it became clear that these ominous structures are continuing to expand; infiltrating the surrounding landscapes around cities. Collecting a visual archive of satellite images of distribution sites from across the United Kingdom provided a way to scale and measure this invisible data set. Further measuring their invisibility, a 1:7500 scale model was produced that overlaid distribution centres on top of the urban landscape. Six supermarket-distribution centres were mapped within a 0.5-mile radius of Goldsmiths College accounting for 15.78% of the total area. The next step was to identify and develop individual terminologies within
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the specific system of logistics, to investigate the language description, syntax and grammar that creates classifications and food standards. By looking at several institutions’ standard documents and classification systems such as the NIC (Nursing Interventions Classification), a pattern and template was generated. The outcome being a classified template structure to apply to any given space, the document became an insight into the semantics of distribution logistics. The project next focused on the barcode, identified as the most essential form of communication within any form of logistics and distribution system. The barcode has enabled the instantaneous recording and monitoring of information in a way that was not possible previously; revolutionising and transforming the efficiency of food logistics. By experimenting with current spatial/temporal data-tracking devices, the physical characteristic of the barcode was implemented for an online tool in measuring spatial/temporal data of allotment sites. The final outcome of the project establishes a new system for the quantification and distribution of produce on allotment sites. Exploring the grey-zone laws of allotments and speculating on the future users of these spaces, the project defines the process and conditions in which the possibilities of re-inventing food distribution can be achieved. There is currently a 10-year waiting list in Lewisham Borough to obtain an allotment. As these spaces become more valuable, the economic impact of improving distribution is undeniable. Currently there are no restrictions regarding the distribution and selling of allotment produce for private profit. In order to start encouraging and facilitating the distribution of produce from allotment sites for the purpose of their sale for private profit, structures have been designed pursuant to the legislative parameters of the Allotment Acts of 1908 and 1923, keeping in mind their scale, size, and mobility in order to comply with planning permissions. Although the mechanisms integrate exclusive and top-down mechanisms, the structures are open-source in their attempt to become transparent and all-inclusive systems. The architectural and spatial layout has been designed in accordance to the operations of production within distribution centres. In order to start facilitating a legitimate scheme for achieving a certified urban standard for food distribution, an allotment standard has been designed to become a ‘community encyclopedia’ for allotment owners. In order to enable the quantification of these allotments,
an online tool is designed to start, track and calculate individualised production for each plot. Users of these spaces can begin to realise the economic value of their plot by visualising total financial profit and surplus of the product. In addition, the online map becomes a way for the plot owners to start engaging in the process and become a source of dissemination of food knowledge for the general public. The project provides a new way of engaging owners with their produce-growing spaces (allotments), and implements the enabling infrastructural elements to current food distribution practices. It considers our current relationship with urban spaces and food logistics at varying levels. It also provides a new way to examine these green spaces as economical value for the owner and the city, juxtaposing its industrial characteristics with modern forms of food logistics. The projects aim is to create a platform for discussion regarding food distribution, providing a source for public awareness, dialogue and community initiatives, and finally, an inspiration for new design approaches.
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Placebo Authority How does body language affect perceived authority?
This project focuses on the behaviour of social authority and the correlation between authority, protection and performance and how this affects both inner and outer perceived self. It attempts an authority exchange between genders in microscopic moments of interaction through human kinesics (body language), causing forced behaviour and hierarchical shifts.
In-store Security This role is played by someone without an intrinsic curative manner and is used to placate and reassure; a placebo. Uniform [costume] Uniform is often a key sign of authority; the social psychology of dress is referred to as a means of shaping behaviour, social influences and stereotypes through clothing. Uniforms are often the initial communication of somebody’s role, indicating how they will interact in certain situations and situate themselves in the hierarchy of the environment. Some uniforms act as a physical form of protection, whilst others, offer a degree of psychological protection. The behaviour, language, characteristics and posture of the uniform wearer are major indicators of authority – to the point where the uniform may not be necessary. According to the SIA Specification for Learning and Qualifications for Conflict Management (December 2014), a trained guard must understand how to communicate effectively in order to control a situation, and should be able to understand one’s own body language and others, to ensure the maintenance of control and authority. Security guards should be able to adjust their behaviour and demeanour according to the situation. Kinesics is the interpretation of body motion and communication such as facial expressions and gestures - any non-verbal behaviour related to movement of the body. From facial expressions down to the positioning of the feet, security guards have to rehearse and perform a complex set of actions and behaviour to project their role of authority correctly. For example, 38 – 39
here are social hierarchies wherever you look. These hierarchies constantly alter depending on their environment and often change as one enters a new situation. Hierarchies fall in levels of power, such as the right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. Power and authority is the driving force behind social behaviour. Power governs the majority of important social relationships that make up our political, work and family lives. Given power’s primacy in social life, it is not surprising that one’s position in a social hierarchy transforms people in fundamental ways. Simply placing a person in a powerful or powerless role alters their thoughts and behaviour. A fundamental question is: how do people acquire power? Many people answer “money, fame, or an important role in one’s social group.” (Galinksy and Huang, 2016) Indeed, each of these may give you an asymmetric control over valued resources, which is the very definition of power. But are there other sources of power, other ways to both feel powerful and signal power to others? There is a simple method to both transform people psychologically and show authority to others: altering your body posture. Across species, body posture is often the primary representation of power. From fish and reptiles to mammals and humans, power is expressed through expansive postures, large body size, or even the mere perception of large body size. Spending two to three evenings a week in a supermarket, the time and position in this space was used as a research environment, to help understand the stores’ hierarchies. High up in the hierarchy of this environment are the in-store security guards. The more time researching, analysing and interacting with the guards, revealed them as authoritative figures, yet as only an illusion of protection - a performed job with little physical defence. However, through uniform [costume], tools [props] and behaviour [Kinesic performance], they bring psychological safety to the remaining hierarchy and themselves. Simply the presence of the in store security guard can prevent potential threats and anti-social behaviour, as well as peace of mind and security to the business, employees and customers.
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facial expressions are to remain neutral; smiling at the wrong time can provoke anti-social behaviour. Puffing the chest, straightening the back, broadening shoulders and feet shoulder width apart shows a more assertive, confident stance. Arms are to remain by their side with hands relaxed, as positioning hands incorrectly, such as clenching fists or in pockets, can give off bad impressions. With this information, the project proceeded in creating a series of body extensions, harnesses and contraptions, which force the body into the correct position of a security guard. It was later realised that all of the guards interviewed had in fact all been male, raising the the question of gender roles within this sector. An expansive position likely activates the concept of masculinity. As humans in the company of someone with a more expansive and powerful pose, we naturally compliment their behaviour by contracting and making ourselves smaller. This project acts as an authority exchange, using designed wearable
structures and harnesses to be used either in company of a more authoritative figure, or in environments that require a greater portrayal of authority. Job Interview Appropriate body language in a job interview is key to being successful. Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. An interviewer tends to express an expansive posture, resulting in the interviewee naturally contracting their posture. However, in an interview it is important to present yourself in a confident and authoritative manner. The harnesses are to be worn under clothing; they aim to improve posture and build a more confident, authoritative perceived self. Tests conducted in job interviews have shown successful results when wearing the harnesses. Public Transport – ‘Man spreading’ ‘Man spreading’, is the practice of sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, typically
more powerful by literally standing tall. Available at: http:// www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-you-can-becomemore-p/ (Accessed: 31 May 2016).
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Galinsky, A.D. and Huang, L. (2016) How you can become
a male orientated posture - like the majority of expansive postures. Man spreading thereby covers more than one seat, often making it inconvenient for other passengers. The leg-spreading object is a feminist approach, a physical extension of dominance, power and authority for women to wear and mimic the behaviour of men. Overall, these wearable tools are a new platform to claim authority, forcing authoritative behaviour onto women. They are to be used for training purposes, allowing women to adapt more expansive postures, like those learnt from studying security guards, in order to project a more confident more authoritative perceived self.
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Dream What if how well you dreamed at night determined how successful you were? ‘Dream’ investigates the value of dreaming in our society, and questions whether one’s dreams could function as an alternative indicator of success.
his project questions the notion that realising a dream, goal or ambition is a way to achieve greater success. It does so by placing a sleeping dream in a context where one would usually expect a waking dream, goal or ambition. The intentionally ambiguous use of the word ‘dream’ in this project creates confusion; the absurd yet realistic objects and videos that have been created on the basis of sleeping dreams aim to offer a humorous critique of our modern obsession with success. The themes and outcomes of this project were influenced by personal struggles with depression as well as explorations of the creative potential of an extremely vivid dream life. In our modern capitalist society the key to success is to work long hours, sacrificing sleep if necessary, in the race for efficiency. However, for sufferers of depression simple everyday activities require a great deal of energy, so getting enough sleep is crucial to regenerating. Dreaming can be a way of escaping from the stresses of the day. The absurdity of a dream life can inspire an injection of light-heartedness into waking life. We spend a third of our day sleeping; 25 per cent of that time we are dreaming. But few people make use of this source of creative inspiration in their waking lives. This notion was a prompt to materialise some of the absurd, surreal objects or experiences featured in dreams. An interesting aspect of this process is the extra creativity involved. Using design or artistic skills to fill in elements of the dream object or experience that cannot be remembered and enables the final object to gain a realistic appearance. For example, packaging was designed for a ‘prosciutto facial scrub’ inspired by a dream. It looks real, but it has no functional purpose. In researching dreams, many articles and websites were found that used the term ‘dream’ as a synonym for ‘ambition’ or ‘goal’, especially in the contexts of personal development,
“Sugar Daddy” is a costume from a dream. It is a suit with glued sugar cubes.
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motivational speaking or life coaching. These resources offer helpful tips and advice on how to achieve more in life. The word ‘dream’ is thus inherently ambiguous. On one hand, it can designate an attainable goal such as buying an expensive car, starting a business or finding love. On the other hand it can signify something unreal and ephemeral. ‘To realise a dream’ can be understood in two different ways; to literally materialise some aspect of a sleeping dream, as has been done in this project, or to achieve an ambition. The field of life coaching offers many techniques to help people realise their dreams, ambitions and goals. Applying a life-coaching 5-step plan for goal realisation to a sleeping dream turned out to enable a more efficient materialisation of a dream object. So, what would happen if we turned our sleeping dreams into our life ambitions? What if we treated our sleeping dreams as a means to our success? We live in a society that is highly focused on success and wealth. The pressure to constantly perform and achieve more creates high levels of anxiety and stress. ‘Am I the best I can be? Should I be doing better?’, these are the same anxieties that can be experienced as a young designer in a highly competitive field. The motivational speaking and coaching industry relieves this ‘success-anxiety’ by providing systems and plans to help achieve one’s dreams and goals. But, in a sort of vicious cycle, it simultaneously fuels that anxiety since the dream is always just beyond reach.
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“Prosciutto Facial Scrub” is an object from a dream. The image shows the materialised object in situ, and an example of the back of the imagined design for the packaging.
Alex Ashton’s twitter profile.
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Alex Ashton disseminates her message through short Youtube videos offering tips and advice for a successful dream life, delivered in a chirpy and positive tone peppered with inspirational quotes. In Alex Ashton’s world, success is no longer measured by the criterion of material possessions but by the creative richness of one’s dream life. Her latest videos are titled: ‘Discover the power of dreams’, ‘Get motivated to realise your dream’, and ‘Realise your dream in 5 easy steps’. Her message focuses on dreaming more and better. She presents sleep as essential for finding happiness, health, love and financial prosperity. Alex Ashton is an instrument to subverting the dominant language of success and propose an alternative measure of success, which questions society’s capitalist focus on the accumulation of material possessions as the ultimate goal in life. Blurring the lines between sleeping dreams and waking dreams questions whether the inherent creativity, fantasy, and humour of dreams can be a more lighthearted way of communicating a message on the harms of a success-fuelled society, and its resulting anxiety and depression.
To challenge the idea of success in our performance-obsessed society, the project presents a fictional motivational speaker, an alter-ego named Alex Ashton, who presents herself as a ‘dream-life coach’ and promotes the importance of sleeping and dreaming for a successful life. In order to formulate a backstory and persona for Alex Ashton, a close study of the discourses of famous motivational speakers was conducted. Most speakers’ narratives share a common pattern. They experience personal struggles, discover a formula to overcome it and decide to help others by sharing their life stories and insights. And, in the process, gain financial success, which further reinforces the credibility of their message, delivered through expensive seminars and workshops. Alex Ashton grew up in a very demanding and competitive family, where sleep was kept to a minimum. After attending a top university and landing a job in a very high-stress firm she suffered a mental and physical breakdown, coming to the realisation that her lack of sleep had been the cause for a lot of her unhappiness and health problems. After rediscovering sleeping and dreaming, Alex Ashton was able to get back on her feet and rebuild a new life for herself, prompting her to share the formula to her new found happiness and success. She now coaches people on how to realise their dreams, get the most out of their dreams, and establish a healthy sleep pattern.
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Canary Wharf ‘A Drama in Time’ How does the construction and environment of new spaces differ from the old? The project focuses on investigating the newest London economic centre – Canary Wharf, to explore the uniqueness of city centres built in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How do the architectures affect the ‘White Collar’ class? Or on the contrary, do the people affect the environment?
n order to question a personal interest in Canary Wharf ’s environment, an effort was made to visually observe the space. An isolation between internal and external architectures was revealed, as well as isolation bet ween workers and visitors. The difference between the environments is driven by the actions of the two crowds of ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’. During the second stage of research, the people were analysed. Instead of monitoring the action of crowds, the focus was drawn on the individuals that met certain conditions, from which they could be understood in a more profound way. Thus, the project was underpinned by two main points: 1. The useable relationship between the environment/products/architectures and people. 2. The activity amongst a group of people that have similar features. (In this case ‘White Collars’) The film ‘Playtime’ (1967) by French director Jacques Tati had a major influence on the entire project. The film describes a world similar to Canary Wharf, an economic centre. Interestingly, every set used in the film was constructed meticulously. What is more, in a Chinese film released in 2015 – ‘Office’ (translation), very similar methods of constructing extensive sets for the film were used. Both films expressed how the offices are superior on the outside, but quite empty on the inside, similar to the reality of Canary wharf. This provided evidence of what Canary Wharf may truly be.
Film, photography and sketching were used as ways to observe people in Canary Wharf. The pieces of research were then taken outside of Canary Wharf to view them purely as material. Whatever the intentions behind the filming or photography were later forgotten in order to objectively see what was inside the pictures, in order to give more possibilities to the project. Shoes were identified as the main representative. The outcome of the project is shoes, the Cutting Edge series and the Branding Series. It is not the shoes in a common sense, but wearable forms of isolation and uniqueness inside a crowd. The outcomes are not the end of the project; the performances that these objects generate extend the project outputs to allow for further exploration of the topic.
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Show Not Tell How can your heart rate win an election?
Show Not Tell turns the data that your phone is already collecting about you into political currency. The devices we carry with us everyday collect information about our location, health, social life, sleep patterns, fitness, and wellbeing. This data provides evidence of our actions, and can thus create a far more powerful argument for change than your name on a petition.
his project started by exploring Westminster, speaking to politicians and people who work for them. One of the things they spoke about was what it was like at the other end of online petition services, like 38 degrees, change.org and, to some extent, petition. gov. These services are brilliant at harnessing the power of the internet to bring together hundreds of thousands of voices for a collective cause. However, they do not require much investment from us as citizens. They have a tendency to distil deeply complex issues into a Meme, a shareable nugget which can be spread quickly on social media. As a result, stakeholders give petitions little weight when making decisions. Data-driven services like Strava, Uber, Airbnb, and ‘big data’ driven algorithms already affect policy making, but we have to question the motives and transparency of this kind of decision making: How can we sufficiently scrutinise a policy if the algorithm it is based on is private? Instead, Show Not Tell puts the data back into the hands of the people who generate it. To do this, a series of small mobile phone applications were created, each of which recorded a single aspect aligned to a wider political campaign.
For example, if a group of friends cycle down the same road everyday they can provide a good argument for a new cycling lane. Similarly, if you visit a local service that is threatened by larger entities, you can make authorities aware of the importance of that service more effectively than with an email to your MP. Show Not Tell records these daily actions and uses them to raise awareness of issues and events in a powerful and more immediate way.
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What Will We Do? Stuart Bannocks
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Expanded Reading Can fiction expand into reality? Expanded Reading is a project focusing on an alternative future of reading practices, challenging the conventional way of consuming narratives. In this project, fiction expands into the reality through physical interaction and multisensory engagement, instead of remaining a mental simulation.
both physically and metaphysically. This set a foundation for Expanded Reading as a possible future for reading. Certainly, simply reading text from a printed book is one of the finest methods. However, it cannot be the only way to read, as there are multiple possibilities which can exist. As Youngblood said, “to be free of the toil of old relationships we must be free the conditioning that instills within us” (Youngblood, 1970). Therefore, the concept was developed to transform reading into a more animated activity with a greater level of immersion. Another influence on the development of the project, was a 1967 essay ‘The Death of the Author’ by Roland Barthes. It became the ground framework for later project outcomes. In the essay, Barthes argued that the traditional literary analysis, which involves intentions and biographical context of an author, should be separated from writing. The author’s role is only to produce text, not to explain it. Text has many layers and meanings, which should not be limited by authorial intent. In this context, it is the role of a designer to create a medium to help readers comprehend and immerse themselves in the text. During the development of the concept, several methods of reading were tested, such as reading in real locations mentioned in fiction or creating an artificial reading space. Through the results of these experiments, it was shown that physical interaction indeed improved the reading
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he project started from several speculations about the future of books and reading practices. The book has changed its physical form throughout different technical shifts, structuring a long-lasting reading culture. These changes have also affected the interrelationships among authors, publishers and readers in order to adapt to the digital age. There have been various predictions that printed books will be dominated by ebooks in the next few years. However, this is not the case. During the symposium of ‘Ecologies of Publishing Futures’ at the Royal College of Art in November 2015, Dan Franklin, a digital publisher at Penguin Random House, mentioned that the current period had experienced a co-existence between printed books and ebooks, just like the way in which Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens lived side by side for thousands of years. This would lead to multiple possibilities about the future of books, changing the way we consume information, as well as narratives. In fact, books have always been most popular in their printed form. Nevertheless, their contents keep transforming into several outcomes. For example, fiction books have been adapted into extended media such as movies, TV series, video games and theatre plays. However, there is one form that it has not extended to - reality. This led to the concept of Expanded Reading, where reading extends into the real world, with physical interaction influencing the readers’ multi-sensory engagement. A concept that helped drive the project further was that of ‘Expanded Cinema’, developed by Gene Youngblood in 1970. The concept was considered significant for a new consciousness. He mentions how man was passive, conditioned and victimised by the environment in the Agricultural Age. By the Industrial Age, man started becoming more aggressive and managed to control his environment. However, as man moves into the Cybernetic Age, he learns that cooperating with his environment is necessary to gain complete control. He does not only participate, but also recreates his environment
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experience. Other factors influencing the activity are lighting and sound effects. Consequently, a new system of reading practices was developed by materialising the content of fiction. ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry was chosen to push the idea further. This book is set in a dystopian community in which emotions, colours and any dangerous elements have been removed to maintain the order of the community. The main character is always under control and never has to make any important decisions, as his life is already decided by higher authorities. Based on previous experimental results, a tool kit was developed, becoming a medium used by readers to create an immersive experience during their reading activity. This later became one of the final outcomes in the system of Expanded Reading. By the end of the project, the final outcomes included the Giver Kit and a proposal for immersive reading spaces. The first outcome - The Giver Kit - served for the original fiction novel. The package comes in a wooden box, including clothes, objects mentioned in the story, a lighting tool and a pair of greyscale-filter glasses. An expanded version of the novel was designed to include instructions, in order to help readers to read comfortably. The kit must be used in a quiet and private space in order to achieve the greatest level of immersion. Following the given instructions, the reader will then dress as the main character and use designed tools to read the book. Certain tools were designed to recreate similar experiences happening in the story. The second outcome was a proposal for reading spaces, which was personally interpreted straight from the content of ‘The Giver’. The proposal includes blueprints and a model made at the ratio of 1:20. The set represents the three main stages that the character had to go through in the original book: confinement, realisation and liberation. It acted as a medium to help readers have a clearer, visual experience of the context. The outcomes managed to demonstrate the concept of Expanded Reading. The book extends to reality through materialisation in a physical form. By taking away the authorial intent, the expanded system brings a new medium for readers to comprehend and consume the narrative through a different perspective.
Essentially, the concept of Expanded Reading can be considered as an alternative way of reading as well as the future of fiction, in which fantasy becomes reality. Its aim is to intervene in the reading activity through designed tools and spaces to activate imagination, creating an immersive and multi-sensory experience. The concept focuses on fiction readers as a generic group, set in the context of the futuristic world where a reading culture will be reinvented. Its primary effect is to expand the mental simulation and extend consciousness through the act of reading. Therefore, through a variety of methods and using various media, the way that readers consume and comprehend narratives may be transformed to a greater level of immersion and expanded into the real world. Youngblood, G. (1970). Expanded Cinema. Boston: E.P. Dutton, p. 55
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Fabrics of Identity How is national identity changing in a globalised society? Fabrics of Identity is an exploration of national identity within a globalised society. It attempts to develop a new vocabulary around our discussion with national identity through the use of texture. The project developed a system within which individuals reflected on their identity formation and worked with a designer to develop a texture library stored within the British Museum. This project aims to explore ways within which we can document the fluidity of national and cultural identity within modern society through the use of fabric and our relationship to texture.
eople are increasingly identif ying themselves as global rather than national citizens. This project situates itself within the liminal space of a growing globalised nation and human desire for a sense of home. The original stimulus was Indonesian batik print and its capacity to document cultural heritage. Indonesian batik has a long history of acculturation, with diverse patterns influenced by a variety of cultures. On October 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of
humanity. Its cultural acculturation means batik is prominent throughout several areas of the world, and provides a strong source of identity crossing religious, racial and cultural boundaries. Batik printing provided an interesting entry point into the exploration of shifting national identities. Ideas of ‘Glocalism’ highlight the momentous change generated by globalisation, changes which have resulted in the permanent intertwining of global and local dimensions. This project aimed to develop a system within which intangible ideas of local identity could be engaged with, in order to develop a better understanding of the fluidity of modern identity association. This project critiques current monolithic systems of identity documentation such as government citizenship tests and passports, to better ref lect the complexity of our current identity association. Ethnographic research within the area of Peckham illustrated how inhabitants can influence the identity of an area and vice versa. Conversations and exchanges with fabric vendors explored the relationship between the complexity of Britishness and its textural relationship when discussing different people’s association with what it is that makes them feel at home. To develop a contrast of space, a field investigation within the Victoria and Albert museum was completed. A museum was selected as they provide an example of telling history through objects, referring back to the notion of batik and its ability to translate history through fabric. The relationship between people and objects creates the potential to mediate the action and identity towards a space. Research into the theory of framing by Kim Dovey states that built forms frame spaces, not only literally but also discursively.
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“…everyday life ‘takes place’ within clusters of rooms, buildings, streets and cities that we inhabit. Action is structured and shaped by walls, doors and windows, and framed by these interactions’ (Framing Places, Kim Dovey)”
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Built forms and the environment around us have the ability to communicate meaning that people interpret as spatial text. Framing allows for the delivery of these meanings. This is seen in the literal word ‘frame’ (of mirrors and pictures) and through the noun ‘framing’ (described as the establishment of order and to border). Framing of our surrounding textures and space allows us to place ourselves within this world. It provides a formula that we are capable of interpreting. Both of these forms of ‘framing’ promote the mediation and construction of relationships between place and identity. This relationship provided an insight into the potential tacit knowledge of national identity. Further research into perceptions of identity lead to Lefebvre’s Trialetic structure of identity. Lefebvre believes that ‘space’ is split up across many disciplines, each of which is partial and which make social space invisible as a result, meaning place identity is developed within the unity of these space conceptions. This notion underpinned the development of the interview structure for the project. A series of walks across England, specified within a trialetic series of space defined by the interviewee. Lefebvre’s three spatial conceptions are as follows: 1. Escape Percu – the objective space 2. Escape Concu – conceived space 3. Escape Vecu – lived space
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This research provided the contextual grounding for the relationship between texture and identity that allowed the project to develop. The interviewee completed a cultural probe reflecting upon their identity. This included, a series of reflective questions about their concept of home, the use of a polaroid camera to photograph surrounding textures within which they felt the belong, objects and influences and also included a series of rubbings and illustrations on textures they related to ideas of ‘Britishness’. A conversation would then take place expanding on the research collected within the cultural probe that took place in the Trialetic area previously defined. The designer would then return to the space and collect a series of textures that most effectively reflected the identity of the interviewee. Through the use of 3D scanning the designer would develop individual ‘fabrics of identity’ within the style of a batik print, this would be handed back to the interviewee in the form of a national identity card.
The cultural probe helped to develop a new form of vocabulary within which interviewees and everyday people could discuss and view their identity association. However, it was necessary to develop a more active way within which society could engage with the system that was created. This was produced within the formation of a ‘texture catalogue’. Each individual catalogue detailed the identity formation and development of the ‘Fabric of Identity’. Photographs and swatches of each texture were also catalogued. This document was curated by the designer into a book and provided with an ISBN, and under the legal deposit for printed publications 2003, was catalogued within the British Library. The formation of the catalogue represents the development of a new system of engagement that relies on pre-existing forms of material culture collection systems, such as libraries. The outcome of each individual fabric pattern and the catalogue is a new system of engagement that reflects the complexity of our identities. The user at a basic level is the interviewee and the reflection and development they gain from the process. However, on a larger scale the texture library developed aims to be used by politicians and urban planners to allow for a more authentic understanding of an area or specific group of individuals. Through the process of speculative design urban planners could use specific texture themes to develop urban environments within which a variety of different people feel a greater sense of belonging. The development of this system aims to provide a critique on current systems on national identity and citizenship and enable people to engage with and document individual notions of national identity. National identity is typically an area that is difficult to discuss without negative associations. This system attempts to provide an individual conception of home, and highlight the fluidity of movement and identity within our transforming globalised society.
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The Interconnective Skyline The scales and proximity of architectural engagement
How and where does engagement and care emerge in proximity to buildings? The project aims to allow citizens to engage with the skyline on an architectural scale; building on already existing campaign groups and networks, formatting them to try and bring texture into the skyline through a mixture of existing campaign models.
n investigation into airspace, ownerships, engagement and affects has led to the project The Interconnective Skyline A project rooted in ideas about how we, as citizens, can engage differently with these matters. We, as designers, have to tease out tensions between where it is right to intervene, and where we can actually intervene. We have to find areas where we can engage with massive things in productive and proactive ways, and where we start to engage with our surroundings. One of the most influential references for this project has been an architectural workaround located outside a McDonald’s in Whitechapel. The black satellite dish-looking object becomes a physical separation between a restaurant and the local residents. The language embedded in this
allows these new artefacts to be integrated into the existing campaign. It is something they can really use. The objects start to become another form of architecture, which people install in their private homes in order to publicly voice their opinions. Essentially the project has been a search for spaces where we, as individuals, can affect change on a large scale. The work engages with the skyline, on the skyline’s terms. This is the beginning of something exciting that has just started to be implemented into London’s typography. As these things emerge, as protest objects and symbols, they also start to map and depict where care emerges in proximity to buildings, in a manner which might be understood and studied. It is the beginning of a collaboration with people who are not used to working as designers: the beginning of an exchange to understand what is needed, and how we can all be empowered to engage.
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deliberately obscure object suggests that there is a destruction between the public and the private spaces of this area, whereby this object manifests itself within the architecture of the restaurant. Exploring various architectural workarounds in the city gave insight into effective ways of publicly envisioning new developments. Baugespann is the Schweitzerdeutch word for a temporary construction, usually made of wooden poles, erected during the planning process. Swiss citizens are involved early in the planning process, and can directly express their opinions about building plans to the councils. This opened opportunities for the design of objects, which might fit into London’s architectural typography. Objects were placed around the city without the intention of actually realising buildings, but to make the public aware of specific proposals. This allowed those further away from the site to express their feelings, because the greatest (negative) effect is not necessarily experienced at the proposed site. These objects seek to activate the skyline, in order to encourage people to look around and draw attention to the planning process itself. They invite the community to engage with, and potentially critique, the plans. Having constructed a relationship between different network groups campaigning against specific proposed buildings such as the Garden Bridge (because of its social role and function) a user was found, and the design of a new kind of street furniture emerged. These objects are designed for people who are already engaged with campaigns, or have strong opinions about specific planned developments, and want to publicly voice these to the rest of the city. These campaigns are open to all who want to join the conversation about the city’s architecture. The designed objects are visualisers of existing online networks (campaign groups) and create moments of engagement and realisation: examining the potential impact on the skyline and surrounding areas. They are a protest tool in architectural form. The object is pointed towards the proposed building, and the horizontal sticks describe the distance to the site in kilometres. For this to be accessible, there is a map as an index of locations: a digital presence to open it up to all. This operates as a display of the architecture of the network, and makes it open for review, criticism and requests. This
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cmd_alt_dogma How can designing architectures in queer spaces, as a performer, affect a post performative queer culture?
‘cmd_alt_dogma’ is an exploration into queer performance through the creation of an alter-ego. Dogma, the performer in question, creates a platform and a space to discuss the natures and behaviours found in heterotopic queer spaces and examines performance as a discourse for wider social and ethical issues.
he traditional role of a designer is to engage with the world, to renew and extract its information to further or better the user. The rapid decline of queer spaces (bars and performance venues are being shut down right across London) demands that new approaches might be needed in order to protect and preserve them. This is where the do-gooders of design would come in, to formulate systems and discourses around the closures of spaces to determine a way in which they could be preserved. However, this is an issue that cannot be solved over night, not in days, weeks, months or even years. Do-good design is not what is needed in these queer spaces. These spaces, which can be referred to as queer heterotopias, also have their own behavioural traits. For example, gender politics, or rather the lack and rejection of gender, differs completely in queer realities as opposed to the ‘outside’ world. These produce tension between outsider realities and queer heterotopias, for example the homo/heteronormativity and the still existing racism and heteronormative ideals that exist in certain queer spaces. These heterotopias, and the ontology of these spaces,
are what need to be explored and examined. This project is not an attempt to preserve, but rather to elucidate the need for critical discourse. This type of ‘do-good’ design is an example of dead or dying design. Dead design will sit on a page in a book without ever engaging with its intended user. Similarly, objects that are displayed without any context of its user are just as dead. To understand and produce living design, the artefacts must engage with these queer heterotopias. These garments, materialised with intense neon green fabric, are examples of living artefacts. When green screened these garments become a performance in themselves, a postperformative gesture in an otherwise static space. Dogma has then been transferred onto objects to physicalise and materialise the processes and techniques that were used in these performances.
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the antithesis of this. Curating this conversation between queer performance and design has in itself created tension. By curating the project with the goal of communicating the conceptual grounding on a particularly performance led project without the performer is difficult. The challenge here is to be able to successfully materialise the processes and the identity of the project with the absence of the performer. To do this a new queer heterotopia needs to be created. The instant this project is culminated in a curated experience, the design of the work is inherently queered. The act and process of becoming queer in itself is an unusual phrase to use, one that has come about through continuous debate on the actual meaning of the word queer. However, in this context, it is considered as the process in which a new reality, a fantasy, is created and designed for and around. This is the key part of the project that has been uncovered. Ultimately, the future of this project is unknown. Dogma will develop as a solo performer alongside their work with the designer. The two fields established will generate content that sits on the borders between the real world and the fantasy world of queer heterotopias. When this work is created and these conversations happen, the project intends to bleed the two realities into each other thus exposing the rules and laws that apply for each reality. This allows for a critical practice to be applied to these behaviours and, in turn, be questioned and interrogated themselves. Dogma is an architect of, and an insight into, the role of queer performance in these realities. They exist to subvert and discuss these behaviours in these spaces. They will continue to do this and to adapt and evolve a queer culture. We are different without knowing. We must interrogate this queer heritage. We need to discuss these queer spaces, not to protect them but to challenge their realities.
The concept of the post-performance became prominent in this project. Post-performative design enables the user to have an experience once the performance has ended and, potentially, after leaving the space. This encourages the effect of queer culture bleeding into the ‘real’ world. The friction between these two spaces, the fantasy of the heterotopia and the outside reality produces material and a context for this work to exist with a sense of fluidity. With the process of chroma key, these performances exist on multiple layers reaching different audiences at different times to create a discourse between multiple histories and realities. The presence of an alter-ego was key for the development of this project. Dogma is a performer bordering on the edges of drag queen and performance artist in what can only be coined as ‘Gonzo Drag’. ‘Gonzo Drag’ is a nod to a style of journalism popularised by Hunter S. Thompson, a drag performer in a queer space provides a different way of considering and applying design knowledge to materialise the project. Consistent opportunities to prototype enabled the project to develop at an increasing pace, whilst subverting and questioning the spaces allowed for new conversations. Developing this alter-ego as a platform for the designer also created a medium for self-design. By actively disassociating oneself with their design role, a designer has a clearer understanding of their own ethical and social standing within the context of the project. This further allows a discourse to be created between the designer and the alter-ego; a discourse in which personalisation and agency of the project can be discussed. This project does not aim to negotiate a position in which the queer spaces are protected. Rather it seeks to challenge and identify the behavioural traits within these spaces and create a discourse through post-performative culture. The performer initially acts as a contribution to this culture; in this case the performer is a drag queen who is actively performing in these venues. However as the project progressed, the performer is subverted into the role of a designer. The frictions between design, queer culture and performance become apparent as the project gained pace. Designing for a mainstream user is safe as they are part of the hegemonic and social norm of the contemporary culture. Queer design is
The witch-in-a-bottle from the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. Martin Conreen
hat is a witch? Is it something we are told exists? Do we have first hand experience, that supports someones definition? Or do we just have a definition? I don't know if there is such a thing and I certainly don't know if there is one in the bottle.
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Gender Inequality Should domestic chores be framed by gendered roles? The project invites you to question the role of a ‘ housewife’. Who is the bearer of all household chores? Children adopt stereotypical thoughts where the mother identifies with the chores and the father does not, which can force the young generation to implement these views into adulthood.
ender inequality still exists amongst us, whether it be through health and beauty products, working professions or even in your own home. At a young age, children begin to mirror and identify with the principle roles within the home that their parents portray, contributing to views that some children have: that women are expected to do all household chores. How can we alter, manipulate or adjust this mind set through the action and creativity of design? Experiments and existing articles have been an influencing factor in driving the research for this project, with articles discussing inequality within the household such as ‘Forty years of feminism – but women still do most of the housework’ (McVeigh, 2012, The Guardian). What is being achieved to help solve this problem? The campaign ‘SHARETHELOAD’ (Mackleod 2016, Ariel Share The Load, Theinspirationroom) has set out to break the problem of husbands still having a stereotypical mentality of women doing all household chores, whilst also having a second profession outside of the household. A series of successful first-hand experiments were carried out with children aged 7-13, as a way to understand their views on the topic of domestic chores within the home and what currently exists within their own home, in terms of chore distribution.
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The methods used to navigate the field of gender stereotypes within the household domain included working directly with children and understanding their views on domestic roles through first hand research such as; free speech discussion experiments, activity based matching experiments, and mind mapping with the children. Existing and up-to-date articles were used as a process to understand where the gender inequality exists and whom it is affecting. The outcome involves a working prototype of a remote controlled car vacuum cleaner, aimed at getting children involved with the idea of cleaning while enjoying themselves and having fun simultaneously. The vacuum car acts as a medium to break down the stereotypical roles of women doing the cleaning within the household, thus breaking down these existing stereotypes as children grow up. The car also includes an advertisement, which acts as a supporting material that will be imposed into an existing Argos catalogue. The car exists in the cleaning section of the catalogue, rather than the toy section, as the primary purpose of the product is to vacuum the floor. The car acts as a non-gendered product, without colours, reinforcing a gender neutral market. A video advertisement informs viewers of how the car functions; extending the viewers understanding of the product. The remote controlled car is aimed at children aged 7-13 of all genders in order to break stereotypical views of domestic chores while growing up. The remote controlled car is used
for cleaning purposes however it does include the function of play, and can be used as such when the child pleases. It is to be used within the home, a domestic product to break down the barriers of domestic chores that exist currently amongst the young generation. These female stereotypes will begin to break down once the child comes into contact with the product, developing a social awareness and allowing them to understand and practice their own cleaning methods at a young age. This may also allow male adult figures to realise the inequality which exists within the domestic realm, through witnessing with their own children cleaning.
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Nicola Charlotte Bradley
Objects for the End of the World “Will unicorns save us from Climate Change?”¹
Climate Change will cause extreme weather events such as flash floods, extreme winds and heatwaves. Given our Western instinct to dominate nature, and our investment in ‘Technosalvation’, this project explores how our ordinary lives might inconveniently change to adapt to these events on a daily basis, in the hope that a tangible speculation may spark its own prevention.
he W.H.O states that ‘between 2030 and 2050 Climate Change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year,’². The root cause of these deaths will come from rising sea levels and extreme weather events, such as floods in increasing frequency and intensity, and rising temperatures. The climatically changed future is predicted to affect the entire globe, and we have already begun to see the effects. The proportional majority of those suffering and taking on this impact will be in developing countries, where the minority of damage is being caused. Instead of locating the project in reality, it is situated in a parallel future where the most extreme weather exists in Western society, bringing the issue closer to the people who not only caused it, but also who have the ability to prevent it from happening. From this was borne ‘Objects for the End of the World’, a collection of artefacts that demonstrate how the world as we know it will end, once the effects of Climate Change come into full force. As the topic of Climate Change is so vast and complex, many choose to avoid addressing the topic because we cannot comfortably conceive the idea of 100 or 200 years into the future. This ‘Chronophobia’³ makes it hard to take
action now, to only be able to see the effects in 50 years’ time, or not even at all. Other experts such as Professor Robert Gifford believe that reasons that prevent mitigation range from 29 different psychological ‘Dragons of Inaction’⁴, such as perceived risks, financially, socially and physically, to ideologies of suprahuman powers, technosalvation, and system justification. We have become environmentally numb: figures and facts no longer make an impact on our actions as we fail to directly identify with how they will affect us personally.⁵ In an interview conducted with the Environment Agency, it was apparent that UK government preparation, particularly for floods and extreme weather, exists for buildings but not for people. This informed the decision to design ‘mundane’ objects and prepare the ‘human being’: making the future become a more tangible concept. Instead of designing the spectacle that comes with apocalyptic worlds in cinema and media, the mundane gives access to the ordinary, unspectacular and personal parts of life that, when changed, truly reflect
speculation should ‘decouple design from the marketplace’⁶. It is intentionally coupled, with sexy consumable language acting as a critique on a neo-liberal treatment of climate change, contrasting the traditional media handling of serious political issues. By taking the Brechtian technique of satire and applying it to design, it opens the opportunity for speculative design, which often lacks the ability to connect the probable/preferable/plausible or possible⁷ ‘future’ to the ‘now’. The aim here is to create an engaging scenario for the viewer, without losing its serious values, hopefully gaining more impact when the audience questions their laughter to reveal the truth behind. There are limitations to this technique’s comprehension across cultures, but in order to make the relationship between the viewer and the potential future stronger and more compelling, designers can take calculated risks in learning from the worlds of marketing and advertising. We can use our specific cultural capital as a way to leverage engagement, and spark debates over contemporary issues.
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a probable future. This creates a more visceral understanding of the impacts caused by Climate Change. By identifying ways in which ‘ordinary’ lives will change, it is more likely to provoke a stronger reaction. By designing combinations of survival wear for occasions of luxury and leisure in Western society, we reveal the potential the future has to affect all aspects of life and reflect on how priorities might change accordingly. These designs are for everyone and no one: highlighting how the potential for such objects could prevent their own existence. In order to contextualise and convey the reality of the objects, they were translated through a familiar TV format; Daytime TV, Teleshopping and a Weather Report. Each has an edge of satire and the idea of parody, inspired by the playwrite Bertolt Brechts ‘Verfremdungseffekt’. This particular technique of ‘spass’ engages the audience through humour, creating a more tangible reality and making them think. The authenticity of familiar ‘selling techniques’ and ‘productising’ of the objects, is contrary to Dunne & Raby’s belief that
Nicola Charlotte Bradley
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1. Short Sleeve Wetsuit (back) 2. Sleeveless Wetsuit (front) 3. Short Sleeves 4. Long Sleeves (Optional) 5. Dress with detached elements 5a. Short Sleeves as halterneck of Dress 5b. Long Sleeves as back of Dress 6. Dress (back) 7. Dress (front)
Objects for the End of the World: Wetsuit Formalwear To adapt to the regular intervals of flash floods that occur every day, the ‘formalwear’ dress that turns into a wetsuit (created after workwear and casual wear) enables the user to change from regular apparel to a complete wetsuit and significantly increase a wearer’s chances of survival in cold water. After practice, the change can be made in under the 4-minute Government guideline and eliminates the previous need to carry around or squeeze into or out of a regular wetsuit. Inspired by Hussein Chalayan’s Afterwords (2000), which features furniture that transforms into clothing, the dress turns into a wetsuit and vice versa, without either of its forms betraying the hidden alternative form. Fwellingtons Another flood defending object, the ‘JMEL Fwellingtons’ are quite simply Wellington Boots with fins. Footwear that allows the user to switch from regular wellies to fins in a matter of seconds, allows the wearer to tread easily in deep floodwaters should they get caught, preserving energy and allowing more time to be rescued.
1. Will Unicorns save us from Climate Change? (BECCS won’t.), etcgroup. October 2014 2. W.H.O. Climate change and health. 2015 3. Fry T, UM Stamps School of Art & Design. Tony Fry: Futuring, the City & Sustainment, 2012. 4. Gifford R. The Dragons of Inaction: psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. Am Psychol. 2011 5. Almost 40% of Americans ‘not too worried’ about Climate Change, Associated Press, The Guardian, 2015.
Objects for the End of the World
6. F.Dunne & A.Raby. Between Reality and the Impossible, 2010 7. F.Dunne & A.Raby. Speculative Everything, 2013
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Wind Hood Lastly, to protect against the extreme wind, a hood protector is implemented by the government to wear when a ‘Wind Hood Warning’ is issued by the MET office, in occasions where going outside in these conditions cannot be avoided. Framed slightly less familiarly to the previous two objects, the hood is worn either on the head or on the back, extending and retracting manually. It is pulled downwards to protect the front of the body when wind powered warning sirens sound. When alone, it is designed to be worn with the user’s back against a stable object such as the wall of a building, and if worn in company of others it can be used as part of various arrangements, to protect a group from multiple angles. The complete collection of objects have been collated into a ‘JML’ style catalogue, in order to construct a more comprehensive world. Together they create a HD fictional world, and show how this model of design could be taken further. The techniques applied have the potential to be used as ‘engagement vehicles’ for other serious issues, being careful to take limitations into account. As purveyors of cross-disciplinary practice, bringing speculative design together with theatrical techniques to create new narratives, means that viewer engagement can probably/ preferably/plausibly/possibly be more effective.
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Accomodating Grief How can the cemetery become a more effective grieving space?
This project aims to make the cemetery space a more effective place for grieving, to help those who have lost someone. Creating a more personal space will hopefully make people feel more connected to their loved ones when visiting a cemetery, and potentially aid their grief in providing an outlet for their emotions.
he motivation for exploring the grieving process came from losing a relative and close friend. Seeing family and friends in so much pain provided an opportunity for design as a way to help them, but also for other people. The project focuses on those left behind who have little or no guidance on how to get through this emotional state. Researching the psychological development of mourning, observing cemeteries and speaking to various professionals that deal with grief, allowed for a better understanding of the grieving process and how memorials are an essential in giving the deceased person a continuing presence on earth. The project also examined the cemetery as a place for the bereaved, analysing how the site could be altered to help aid those grieving. This would allow those coping with death to
Many different processes were used in this project, ranging from drawings to working cardboard models, and then experimenting with materials. Lists and diagrams helped to show the advantages and disadvantages of different ideas before materialising them. To begin with, several people were interviewed for their opinions in order to develop the initial ideas. It was easier to visualise an idea out of cardboard than through drawings, prototyping multiple variations of one design to see what would work before refining it with the proposed materials. Taking pictures of the memorials in context was also important to see if they fitted in with the context of the landscape and to see what other aesthetics might work. With many of the experiments, several methods were tried, iterated and tested before making a final decision. This ensured that the correct decision was made, for example in testing various methods to create the type of message to be used as a memorial. This helped to see quickly which ideas worked best and in which material. The outcome is a Memorial Writing Service that would be provided by each cemetery allowing cemetery users to write their messages to their loved ones by using a series of tools (Figure 3). The memorial writing tools will be placed either in existing buildings within the cemetery to enhance their use, or in a wooden shelter that has been designed for the space. These messages will then be placed on their own personal memorial stand by the graveside. The toolkit consists of a paper dispenser, which includes a date stamp so people know when their loved ones have been visited (Figure 4); a writing platform to allow users to write
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treasure memories while living their lives without guilt, and so preventing them from experiencing feelings of isolation and loss. Psychological research was an effective way to develop the concept as it provided a better understanding of the grieving process and helped direct the project. It made clearer what would work and what would be more acceptable, given the sensitivity of the project area. A key turning point in the project was the gaffa tape workshop, which prompted the decision to change the cemetery space. Making a sewing machine gravestone (Figure 1) with the idea that you could do an activity that your lost loved one enjoyed. Seeing it in context allowed the realisation of the potential for changing the cemetery space and its unspoken rules. Looking at other related projects and designers, such as ‘Scanmemories’, helped give the project direction. Research emphasised the celebration of life found in other cultures, such as the Mexican Day of the Dead, which directed the project towards designing new traditions for use in our own society, to ease our problem of grief. Time was a key feature; looking at the work of Tim Hunkin and Corinne Quin, showed how time could be represented, as people visiting like to know when others have visited because it brings comfort to them. Tim Hunkin’s research also allowed the exploration of mechanical mechanisms, along with looking at penny-press machines and old arcade machines to design the memorial writing tools to be easily usable by anyone. Cemetery observations were also very important to see how the design would fit in with the cemetery language and how the space could be changed to make it a more effective environment for grieving. It also allowed the exploration of how people already attempt to personalise the headstone, through leaving memorabilia around it such as flowers and figurines (Figure 2). The research on writing materials, memorials and the cemetery space aided the design of the writing objects that would belong in a cemetery and could therefore be used to create memorials.
[Fig. 4] Date Stamp on the Memorial Paper Dispenser
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[Fig. 3] Memorial Writing Tools
simple messages with pen, pencil and paint which are stored inside; a letter punch to allow a more subtle writing method; and an embroidery box for those who wish to spend more time with their loved one. The last of these is a longer message creation method, in which the alphabet is embroidered in the lid, allowing people to copy the letters, making the method more accessible. The Memorial post has marble holders (Figure 5), which hold the messages. It was important for them to look like granite in order to fit in with the cemetery aesthetic. When speaking to the stonemason at R. Gray & Son, he mentioned that black granite was the most popular stone. The drip edge on the holders makes it more weatherproof, preventing water from sitting on top. These memorial posts are to be brought and placed by the graveside with the option to be put in the ground or clipped to the headstone. The grieving process is different for everyone. This design allows an outlet for any of the five stages of the grieving process, allowing the cemetery to become more of an interactive space where people feel it is more acceptable to express themselves. This will then hopefully prevent those suffering grief from becoming isolated and potentially becoming a pathological griever. Many people suffer severely from grief. Hopefully this will encourage our society to deal with grief in a healthier way by offering the opportunity to remember the life of their loved ones.
[Fig. 2] Example of headstone observations with memorabilia
[Fig. 5] Memorial Post Paper Holder
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[Fig. 1] Gaffa tape workshop in context
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Paper-Valued Politics How do you define value and worth in this day and age? The concept of value has surely changed through time. The methods of how we establish value have grown easier and more possible. Even opinions and decisions can be made into something valuable through design and specific systems.
he mental image of value has always been banknotes, coins, or gold bars. However, those materials are only valued after they are established as something that people acknowledge or recognise as valuable. These establishments are incredibly diverse in any situation and place such as currency, a royal seal or whatever represents purpose, presence, and validity. In this case, these communicative elements are the designs of valid representations which give certain impressions of value in our eyes, despite the material itself. Hence, based on the idea of authority and bureaucracy, the physical forms of money are very effective and valued agents of communication. Money in the form of material such as banknotes and coins has many establishments and verification designs. In order to change what they represent, the designs should be modified as well. Money is very much related to politics and economy. Money in its standard form can be a perfect agent of provocative opinions and hidden messages about
world and still supplies various types of paper to bookbinders and paper companies. The reason for visiting this site was to learn and understand the paper’s materiality since banknotes are made from paper. The visit revealed how paper can be modified, recycled, or even composed in any way we want depending on its resources and its intended purposes. However, this investigation did not aid much in exposing how valuable paper can be as it was solely about the investigation of paper’s physical potentials whereas the project is more to do with the context of value within paper. This discovery then led the project in a different direction, which is to use the real banknote design to circulate opinions. However, before the design progressed, a current affair needed to be chosen to trigger opinions in order for the concept to work. Arguments, controversy, and opinions are no strangers to the world of politics. Therefore, the EU Referendum was selected as the subject matter of the project as it is current and has the potential to trigger controversy or arguments among the community. Hence, the provocative opinions should be about the UK remaining as part of the EU or leaving the EU for full independence. According to The Times (2016), a YouGov Poll showed statistics as: 42% of people voting to remain, 40% to leave, 13% not knowing, and 5% undecided. This means that there are still 18 percent uncounted votes based on
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the national current affairs. Therefore, a design outcome would be expected to indirectly educate in order to urge the bearer to grasp and make conversations about one of the current issues and participate in conveying opinions without having to be specifically engaged in the subject matter. Banknotes, coins, vouchers, coupons, tickets, or cheques are several examples of how value systems could work through communication design. However, having it on paper alone is not really enough to make an impact on the material’s value building. It needs to carry the identity of an establishment from a verified constitution in order to convince the target audience, such as a logo of an authorised bank. According to Marx (1988), nothing can have value without being an object of utility. So, in order to make something valuable, it has to benefit and fulfil the needs of its bearer simultaneously. Marx also elaborated that money is the most superior form of value and is therefore the most used value system of all. The mental image of money has always been paper notes or coins. As we generally know, banknotes and coins have established elements such as currency, guilloché quality print, watermarks, and any other special identification marks from the authorities of the government which also build on its value. Every banknote contains serial numbers, currency, nominals, the name of the publishing bank, the signature of the authorised cashier, foil thread stitching, often a representative portrait of a public figure, and thousands of colours that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These are the things that create impressions of value in our eyes. In fact, the more anti-counterfeit security elements applied on a banknote or coin design, the more valuable it would seem to be to its bearer. Hence, the “anatomy” of banknote design has specific functions, which contribute to the design of its message delivery to its audience. The first investigation began with the exploratory research at the Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley, UK. It is the oldest paper mill in the
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uncertainty and ignorance. Some voters might not have realised that this 18 percent can affect the decision of the national prospects of every citizen in the UK. The referendum will determine the future in terms of finance, economy, and their personal lives. They might not be aware that their say in the referendum is just as valuable as one pence in every pound. Using currency and banknotes as an agent of communication, the conception of ‘Paper-Valued Politics’ is expected to help these individuals to have a clearer grasp of the consequences and advantages of their options in a more interactive and interesting way, such as conversations which would aid them in the decision-making. In order to circulate opinions through real banknotes, the concept of subliminal stickers was then designed and created. However, these stickers are not something that would trigger
concerns from the community if there is no certain establishment utilising the stickers on real notes. Hence the idea of Bank of Votes and The Voting Mint was created. Bank of Votes is the body that publishes the subliminal stickers for notes and The Voting Mint publishes the subliminal stickers for coins. These stickers are in the form of copy-written letters and visuals that transform the bearer of the banknote or coins into a secretive messenger at least until they realise their roles through these transactions. The words and visuals were disguised in order for them to be subliminal. The designed adhesive can be applied without damaging or devaluing the money’s form. The way to determine how committed the voters are to their decisions is to judge by the nominal of the banknote or coins he or she was willing to spend on the stickers. Some of the them were also designed for the parties that do not have the authority to vote but still have the right to persuade the parties who do. The project outcome is not solely about designing stickers, but also a circulation system, which is developed into the idea of a Voting Teller Machine, where the system is more interactive and particular. The buttons represent arguments and the dispenser produces your decisions on exclusively designed banknotes. These notes are only valuable if the allowed voters write the reasons for their opinions on the dispensed note and slip it into the bin of reasons for the Bank’s database. The project evolved from finding the meaning of value to the idea of subliminal stickers, and unexpectedly turned into a completely new voting system.
An Ode To The Plural Of One. 1921 Joseph Harrington
"If we have no heretics we must invent them, for heresy is essential"
hat would he, if stood in the same glass city I do now, say is known? My city is not unstained and pure like his. The panes and panels that hold me are not clear like his. They do not arrest the green weeds and boughs from encroaching. What is left uncracked is smeared with the dirt of every one of the sixteen million hands, every one of their one hundred and sixty-million fingers. And yet my known appears in its allusion more absolute than his. Ever more so a truth built on renunciation, not imagination. A singular assertion that we, (the ninety-nine percent), continue to produce and maintain. That poem to a productionist and high-tech future; a spectacle that we cradle even as it devours and impoverishes us. We can no longer pretend to look to our great institutions of public good to protect and guide us. For they only act to preach the most convenient of known knowns: the maintenance of knowledge as semblance for action. That Gorian logic system that disguises rhetoric for effort and cloaks the armchair to afford the pretense of the pitchfork. Even with this trajectory seemingly set can we not break the programming of this silent geometric delirium? Can we not re-find our unorganised state of savagery and in doing so take back extremism? Not to seek followers of a singular dictum of known known, but to find accomplices in the fierce maintenance of plurality, of exploration, of invention within the state of known unknown.
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After the Welcome Can design processes be used to desegregate communities?
The project is focused on what happens after the `welcome’ of refugees/asylum seekers in Austria. The aim is to question the notion of ‘ integration’ and use design processes to create the tools for an alternative solution where inclusive cultural production is used to desegregate the communities.
he conflict in Syria, and instability in other regions like Iraq, have triggered one of the largest humanitarian crises since WWII, which has led to vast numbers of people fleeing their homes and seeking asylum in Europe. This project is specifically focused on Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking asylum in Austria (over 88,900 individuals in 2015). The ‘refugee welcome’ movement in Austria was large and effective, consisting of marches, several emerging charities and projects, and volunteers stepping up when the government did not. However, the starting point of this project revolves around what happens after the welcome, as there is no nationwide system set up to provide long-term action. Tensions are also building because of a rising opposition to the welcome movement, particularly from those in the far right. As large numbers of newcomers enter Austria, many have demanded ‘integration’. But what does this term really mean? Its definition is often ambiguous and is used interchangeably with ‘assimilation’, i.e. where minorities lose all traits of their original culture and are absorbed into the majority culture. One can question whether it is ethical to expect people to lose their cultural identity, and whether full assimilation is a realistic goal. It implies that the only option is to belong to either of the two cultures, without scope for anything in-between. The
aim of this project is to explore the possibility of an alternative solution to integration and assimilation by developing a new approach. Instead of focusing on one culture or another, the focus is on creating a new culture shaped by the members of both the majority and minority culture together; one that both communities can relate to. The collaborative production of a new culture also provides an opportunity for Syrians, Iraqis and locals to interact on an equal level, to form genuine relationships and to expand networks. Currently, these communities are quite segregated, with little opportunity for refugees and asylum seekers to interact with their new locality beyond hierarchical interactions with social workers and volunteers. Throughout the project the role of the designer shifted between different modes of action. Firstly, ethnographic research was a crucial element, encompassing tasks such as volunteering, surveying, and most importantly conversing with the individuals at the centre of the issue, such as refugees, asylum seekers and social workers. In the generative phase of the project, the designer acted as a mediator or facilitator when leading
various workshops, developing a functional method of collaborative culture production between members of two different cultures. The result of extensive experimentation was a process that can be narrowed down to three stages: 1. Sharing (where members of both cultures share experiences/memories/rituals with each other) 2. Generating (the collaborative process of producing new forms of culture from the shared memories) 3. Positioning (the positioning of this new cultural product in mainstream culture) process can be applied to theatre, where every stage, from script to costume and set design, is a collaborative process. One of the key elements to note about this investigation is that it is not a case of de-centred design. The designer is at the heart of the issue, having lived through similar experiences in the same context. The project has therefore been approached with personal and unique insights to help tackle the issue. This is outlined in the manifesto for designers and other professionals working in the field of asylum.
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Throughout these stages the role of the designer has been to develop the tools to enable this process and to mediate between the participants. This form of culture production can be applied to various aspects such as food, literature, sports, film, fashion, etc. However, theatre emerged as an ideal platform on which to develop this project, as it allows for long-term commitment and regular equal interactions, which enables genuine relationships and networks to be formed between the two communities. The result is a detailed proposal for how this
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Architectures of Authority How does the role of the designer adapt when innovation is confronted by boundaries?
Mental health issues amongst the homeless exacerbate an already desperate problem. Design can be used to create opportunities for change, but it can meet resistance. ‘Architectures of Authority’ is a design strategy developed to overcome barriers of innovation, aimed at reinterpreting the role of the designer within complex social fields.
he relationship a designer has with reality can be a battle. Creating in the studio and moving to the field brings to light new problems to understand and solve, which is an important part of the design process. Designers are trained to move back and forth between the realms of design and reality, in order to create innovative sustainable solutions. Adopting the status of the non-expert allows designers to disrupt established realities and maintain objectivity, allowing them to innovate without constraint. However what happens when a designer becomes so immersed within a context that they become restricted by the real world? Authority in the traditional sense, and in its simplest form, refers to power and control over something. The space for design thinking is relatively free from authority (unless it is the designer’s own), allowing for innovative ideas to develop and be tested against the reality of the sector. When designing within social fields, authoritative constraints include legal frameworks, policy requirements, organisational control and strategy, funding and the individuals for whom the solution is being designed. Inevitably the designer acquires knowledge and an understanding of the field, but the nature of the subject matter means that deep issues are dealt with that begin to influence the designer, together with strong resistance from boundaries within the field. This can lead to the designer accepting the
constraints and seeking to design within them, creating limits that inhibit the design process. Designers need to be aware to these limiters and inhibitors and ensure that they do not become accepting of them. To do so risks designing the conventional or using tried solutions. If designers succumb to these pressures they lose objectivity and risk perpetuating the systems that they are trying to disrupt. In short: the designer goes ‘native’. ‘Architectures of Authority’ comments on the complex relationship between design and reality through various experiments, ethnographic research and ‘design failures’ within the social fields of homelessness and mental health. It explores how designers set out using traditional strategies but can become constrained by what is possible within the sector, becoming too involved within the sector (native) rather than maintaining their detached status. Through these experiences, a strategic design methodology and manifesto was developed to help designers overcome these barriers; reinterpreting the role of the designer
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unlocked through a shared understanding of context through action. The strategy was initially developed in collaboration with the authoritative organisation itself, undertaking a critical dialogue aimed at challenging the inhibitors and limiters that were encountered throughout the design process. One of the key inhibitors to innovation is the struggle to look beyond the concept, to appreciate and engage with unfamiliar ideas. In these circumstances there is a tendency to retreat into the familiar and reject possibilities for change, especially if that change is too dramatic and situated within already complex contexts. This four-step strategy encourages the designer to engage and challenge authority through small frequent bursts of studio design, followed by application within the field. It begins with tangible ideas and progresses to more innovative solutions towards the end of the process. By completing this and encouraging the participants to think beyond the realms of their reality in these stages, the designer is able to regain objectivity, changing the boundaries to become more accepting of innovative ideas and possible solutions. This manifesto is offered as a methodology to other designers, particularly the young or inexperienced, to maintain independence and challenge authority. It also offers an opportunity for designers to share their own experiences of ‘design failures’ due to authoritative constraints. A fear of failure has become ingrained in our society, dictating and undermining innovation within the field. Accepting and learning from shared experiences of 'design failures' will unlock potential for new strategies to be developed in the face of authority. These strategies can eradicate the old traditions of collaboration that stand in the way of real change, and have the potential to reinterpret the role of designer; transforming experiences of authority within the design process into opportunities for development. Taking traditional collaborative relationships and introducing strategies that disrupt the norm and drive innovation within complex social arenas. The time to change is now.
Architectures of Authority
within complex social fields. The key to the methodology lies in a shared understanding of context through action. Designed with four sections: steps, strides, bounds & leaps, the strategy acts as a tool for designers to maintain objectivity within the design process when real world restrictions resist innovation. Working in collaboration with the homeless social enterprise ‘Emmaus’ in Sheffield, ethnographic research enabled acquisition of a deeper understanding of the current issues homeless charities face. This research explored the prevalence of mental health amongst the homeless population, the causes of which are multifactorial. The pressures on the NHS are also escalating as there is an increased call on services at a time of monetary and personnel scarcity. This has led to long delays for those needing to access mental health services. The current system does not allow easy access to mental health services for the homeless. Access is based heavily on a residential criteria. To date, there has been no specific focus on the homeless and their journey towards service access. The homeless are therefore more likely to ‘drop out’ of the system during this waiting period, due to the particular issues that they face. This project reveals the potential for design intervention to mitigate the risk factors created by delayed healthcare provision and ensure that the individual receives structured support in this period of ‘limbo’. Throughout the design process, internal authorities became limiting from working closely in the field. Despite attempting to deploy traditional design strategies of moving back and forth between design and the field, the restrictions became subsuming and led to conventional design solutions being explored. Consequently, significant discomfort and a diminution in the quality of output became apparent. Rebecca had become ‘native’ within the field and set about creating a pathway back. Exploring the ‘Give Ha lf ’ design methodolog y of Matthew Manos and Innovative Criticism theory by Roberto Verganti, coupled with the recognition of the power of creativity in partnerships and small groups, a strategy was developed to redefine how problems are approached, identif y opportunities for action, and help deliver more complete and resilient solutions. It is about crafting decision-making to enable the designer and third party to become ‘non-native’ within a context, allowing innovative solutions to be
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Anticipating Megatsunami in Search of the Sublime How can a disaster, that wonâ€™t happen, help us to improve the disaster already here? Through the anticipation of a hypothetical sublime event: a megatsunami occurring in the Lake District, this project explores one possible way to generate greater empathy for the natural world and reduce detachment from it.
eyond these experiments and particular outcome, ‘Anticipating a Megatsunami…’ defines a framework for an emotional, rather than exclusively scientific, understanding of the implications of climate change. “The tremendous structuring challenge of unsustainability can only be met by the equally immersive and fully engaged presence of humanbeing.” (Lisa Norton, 2015) The broader issues of climate change are not solely material. They can, and will only be, met by the shifting of human consciousness. An increasing detachment from the natural world is among the most damaging propellants of human-caused climate change. If we can find the
means by which to generate a deeper empathy with and attachment to the natural world, the chances of achieving significant lasting change will dramatically improve. In this project, the focus is the application of one specific understanding of human experience of the world around us as a means of generating this much needed empathy and renegotiation of our relationship to the natural world. This is the theory of the sublime. Understood for millennia as one of the most arresting experiences of nature, the sublime is characterised by rousing awe, astonishment and fear. It causes the momentary suspension of all mental and physical activity: a paralysis caused by the overwhelming nature of that which we have encountered. It is ultimately a pleasurable experience, given the absence of any true danger, and the unrivalled intensity of emotion it evokes. In lieu of attempting to design and create a sublime experience, this project engages with it in a different way: the anticipation of the sublime. The project became focused on one specific potential sublime event - a megatsunami occurring at Wast Water in Cumbria - around which to generate anticipation. ‘Anticipating a Megatsunami…’ has been influenced strongly by an interest in salutogenic design. Focused on improving human mental and physical health within individuals and communities, it is utterly underpinned, and only truly functions, if it adopts and instils sustainable behaviours. Salutogenic design is a practice directly derived from salutogenesis. Coined in 1970 by sociologist Aaron Antonovsky, salutogenesis is an approach to pathology and healthcare that is preventative rather than curative. It is centred on the principle of health-promotion by means of stress-reduction. Salutogenesis dictates that the world around us relieves stress through being comprehensible, predictable and manageable. With these principles at its core, salutogenic design is most commonly found in spatial design, especially within gardens, parks, hospitals and care homes. Characteristically, it promotes 94 – 95
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Kids’ Workshops Two children’s workshops were run to generate a collective anticipation and a new approach was developed. To complete the designers own journey of anticipation, which had lasted for several months, she knew she had to go
Journey to Wast Water Acknowledging that she herself was also a participant in the story of anticipation, the designer travelled to Cumbria from South London, documenting the journey through film and photography. Winding down through the valleys of the Lake District, the first sight of the Screes, the steepest slopes providing an ‘ideal’ situation for a landslide, was utterly overwhelming; so many months’ work culminated suddenly in the arrival in this vast and rugged landscape. The next day, the climb to the chosen location began, where she planted seven erigeron and laid the first stones for the cairn: the only cairn to mark out the perfect location from which to observe a megatsunami. ‘Anticipating a Megatsunami…’ is an exploration of the potential applications of the sublime, or anticipation of it, to generate an empathy for nature, which is much needed in addressing climate change. This project looks at an alternative education: an emotional one. Where science can be dissociating or disengaging, emotional narratives may prove more appealing and thus more successful in this area of vital importance. Locating the project within the UK ‘brings home’ the issue of detachment from the power and drama of nature, and will indeed prove yet more powerful and more dramatic in the face of climate change. These workshops are exercises that have helped to define a methodology — enabling them to be transferable and extendable — beyond megatsunamis and natural disasters, beyond just young audiences, and beyond the UK.
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One-to-One Workshops Individual workshops took participants through the story of the megatsunami: an engaging narrative embellished with visual aids derived from extensive research into the megatsunami, comprising fabricated newspaper articles, data, real-life stories and small objects from a creative exercise. The anticipation workshops concluded with a creative activity: designing and constructing a component of the wave that participants found particularly intriguing. By the end of this process, the narrative for anticipation was honed, and an array of visual aids had been developed.
to Wast Water. Combining this into the project, the children helped to choose the perfect location from which to view the megatsunami safely. They then painted stones which they would keep and then take to the location to contribute to the building of a cairn when they were older, thus protracting their journey of anticipation beyond the workshop itself.
Anticipating Megatsunami in Search of the Sublime
the full use of natural materials and resources, implemented in a way that is thoroughly sustainable, with minimal disruption to the natural environment. Salutogenic design offers one opportunity for sustainable design that appeals to us through its clear and direct benefit to the individuals and communities using those spaces. It is a movement that is both novel and common-sense, and enjoys great cogency through consistent reinforcement of the findings of scientific — medical, psychological and sociological — research at every turn. Salutogenic design brings something very new to the field, through the endorsement of scientific understanding, and as sustainability packaged as comprehensibility beneficial to its users. However, nature is aggressive; a garden is not. The sublime is aggressive; salutogenic design is not. Why do we not invite that into our lives more readily? The sublime may not suit a community garden, but perhaps it has more to offer than just being a thing to be purchased, like an adventure holiday. ‘Anticipating a megatsunami…’ has grown from a desire to reveal how the issues of climate change, and the importance of reducing its effects, is pivotal to human health. Through an emotional engagement with the power of the natural world, we might better equip ourselves to addressing one of, if not the, greatest concern of our species.
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Sustainable Production Can new ways of reusing waste by-products change the way communities interact culturally?
The project utilises waste by-products in order to create reformed, workable and industry standard sheet materials. These sheet materials can be used for fabrication with a CNC router machine. The project produces a set of practical instructions that can be shared across the open-source design network.
n recent times domestic production has risen as a result of new micro technologies being introduced into the home environment. What if every household contained a CNC machine? After all, we have fridges, ovens, microwaves, kettles and now 3D printers in our homes, so how out of place is a CNC machine? The project began by investigating disaster relief and clean-up protocol. The project intends to highlight alternatives or more sustainable ways of rebuilding, cleaning and strengthening communities in need. With these aims in mind, the project investigates how open-source communities can be expanded to enhance localised production. The Nepal earthquake of 2015 lead to a consideration of the scale of damage as well as the clean-up process. To relocate the project, potential local disasters in a domestic setting in the UK were studied and to investigate a conceptual focus. The project took on a general theme of ‘the home-made’, which aimed to create universally understandable, low-budget designs and intended to use minimal and local resources. Breaking
down barriers between maker and client means the client is equipped to become the maker in the space of their own home. In the long run, the project aims to decrease the environmental impact we have on a daily basis by reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill sites or even the long logistical process of recycling. In terms of a social impact, communities are asked to identify their most common waste products. It could be argued that the project would have an economic impact in the future as it reduces consumption costs due to the open-source network of downloadable designs. By exploring the three interlinked elements of the open-source community, reformed and locally sourced sheet material and the context of shelter, a set of visual and graphic instructions were produced. The instructions break down the process of forming workable sheets using salvaged
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materials. These instructions can be shared via the open-source platform and are immediately adaptable for the waste by-products of any given community, with the intention of using them with a CNC machine. Interviews and collaborations with companies such as Facit Homes, Wiki House and Open Desk recontextualised the project within CNC fabrication. The success and design outlook of these young companies questions where the potential of this machine will lead us in ten years time. Perhaps, comparing charities such as Shelter Box and recent catastrophes across the world can inspire a new way of combining the two seemingly distant entities. Although the project resulted in a more domestic approach, these organisations and their individual design philosophies continued to play a part throughout the development of the project. Visits to salvage sites and recycling facilities lead to a full understanding of the scale and logistics of waste management and the scope and variety of materials that they process.
a ‘maker’ without the typical resources found in a design studio. The role of the designer is now intrinsically linked into society; a designer could be a shopkeeper, hairdresser or mother. This inspires the set of open-source instructions. This process does not force any particular community to conform to 21st-century cities with their huge infrastructures but they can still remain in sheltered or traditional communities. The use of the CNC machine would help generate communities with different design goals as well as different styles, materials and purposes. As well as accessibility, this project has also intended to demonstrate the necessity of these designs at a time of need. Anyone can invent. Anyone can design. Being taught and shown the infrastructures online could really change the social role everyone has within their communities, particularly those that currently suffer, or have their living situation thrown into terror, during long periods of natural calamity. Finally, the project aims to become a driving force behind CNC localised production. The project aims to highlight the potentials of the CNC machine. It is getting more powerful, more accurate and cheaper, and becoming an exciting technology to be experimenting with.
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The unsustainable throwaway culture found in large cities provides a structure to the project. Looking deeper into waste by-products and consumerism questions how to altering design materials and products can change the status quo. After the shift in the contextual focus of the project, from the macro disaster zone to the space of the home, the aim of the project then became to make the user essentially ‘anyone’ (a nonmaker/designer). Material experiments allowed a better understanding of the material properties of local waste resources. Constant experimentation and formation of sheet materials from the salvaged resources decided which materials served best the final aim of making workable sheets. Performing a series of strength and durability tests on these materials helped to address the design issue at hand. Boards were made that are 610mm x 610mm in dimension. Moulds were made out of OSB chipboards that are used to press a ‘paper compress’ together in order to squeeze out the moisture. In this process, newspapers are mixed with water and to become fibrous before mixing with a water-based glue. This process lead to experimenting with laminating layers of cardboard. This was the strongest and quickest way to produce sheet materials in the household whilst requiring a minimal amount of utensils. Carefully documenting the material recipes was an important part of project, as the final aim was to be able to share the making methods across the internet. The basis of sustainable design practice, and in particular the current recycling procedures in place in London, initiated a conversation of how people and communities view and interact with their own waste. Different areas, even within the same city, have different types of waste. From a theoretical point of view, we could begin to understand infrastructures of recycling. It could generate new visual definitions of communities and perhaps, ultimately, a stronger sense of identity. The project aims to fine-tune the process to produce sheet materials using minimal tools. This demonstrates the theory that it is possible to be
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Architectural Dictation How does the architecture used in cinema direct the performed gender of a protagonist?
By questioning female representations in cinema, we begin to understand the behaviour of female protagonists through interactions with film-architecture and set design. The film industry has a huge effect on representations of current politics within Western culture. Originally this project looked at three films: Calamity Jane (1953), Alien (1979) and Scream (1996). Each is relevant to the feminist movement, and relate to issues prevalent at the time they were released.
for more than cosmetic correcting. Feminism itself marks the virtual as a perpetual becoming of what is not yet actual. The project uses Pollock’s theory, in terms of feminine construction within the film, whereby society maintains the stereotype through fiction. Sparke’s two-tier system of values is based on the systematic devaluation of femininity. ‘Private’ stands in contrast to (and is valued less than) ‘public’. ‘Private’ acts as the ‘virtual’ space within which female protagonists perform and allow their identities to develop. Considering their character development, which shifts throughout the narrative, and the role of ‘public’ space, we see that the homes belonging to male characters create spaces of vulnerability for the female protagonist. “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” - Simone de Beauvoir “There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; ... identity is performatively constituted by the very “expressions” that are said to be its results.” - Judith Butler One project outcome is a fictitious building, which explores how the female characters respond to vulnerability. The building is made up of every room run through in the film. Judith Butler’s views on performed gender are tested, within the direction of each experiment. The architectural running course creates different vulnerabilities for the women running. The course is a piece of fictional architecture, invented to recreate a continuous shot of the running in the film, as a way to examine the different experiences of each woman.
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he project evaluates the film Scream, which portrays conf licting feminist values. The film acts as a platform to tie some of the loose ends of third wave feminism, and questions gender performance. An influential development from third wave feminism was its ‘Girl Culture’, and Scream represented this phenomenon within the film industry, and at the time it helped kick-start Hollywood’s recognition of young female audiences. Scream’s release and runaway success provided proof that young female audiences wanted to see new kinds of images of themselves, via reappropriated Girl Culture. Because horror films rank as the lowest of ‘low culture’, they have seen the least investment in media hierarchies. They have had more freedom to explicitly question hegemony in a way that mainstream, big budget films cannot. Scream is reflective of the ‘slasher’ film genre - popular throughout late 20th century. It subverted the feminine stereotype, making the characters more applicable to Girl Culture, and created the stronger tom-boy survivalist. The term Girl Culture is f luid when approaching femininity and third wave feminism. A large proportion of this project explores the possibility for film to explore socio-potential influence and subversion in character identity, bringing feminism up to date with the horror film genre. Furthermore many experiments scrutinise the genre and themes within the film, using revised architectures such as rebuilding sets and re-enacting sound effects. “Re-vision – the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction – is for women far more than a chapter in cultural history; it is an act of survival” - Adrienne Rich Theorists and historians such as Griselda Pollock and Penny Sparkes observe that certain women have not been included in the recorded history of art and design. Pollock conceptualises this in her idea of a ‘Virtual Feminist Museum’ where only women’s art is glorified ‘virtually’. Virtual used here in an ironic sense, because the museum could never be ‘actual’. Feminism stands
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The prop is to be viewed alongside an immersive film, influenced by the ‘Alter Bahnhof Video Walk’ by artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller (the Known Unknowns exhibition piece offered an alternative of story telling including the viewer). The prop’s purpose is to emphasise a live theatrical performance, involve an audience, and create a new consciousness for the viewer when watching any film. The immersion of the audience allows them to position themselves within the story. Overlapping realities lead to sensational confusion, hoping to bridge the film-based performed gender, and reinvent the relationship between the character and the viewer. This project should lead to discussion and debate around how and where cinema should be more reflective of contemporary gender politics.
When testing the running course, responses such as “the run was exposing” and “made me conscious of what I looked like” were expected, and support Butler’s notion of performed gender. The feminine identity is represented as vulnerable in Scream, but what was surprising was the few runners who found the course purposely feminising, as the unexpected turns and dead space made them move in a feminine style. This shows that the sets, rooms and buildings, which facilitate narrative within a film hold great importance when defining gender identity. The project mostly orbited around film, but methods of directing and recording were also important. An important factor for directing – immersing the audience – is the surrounding noise and music, which influences the sensory perception of the viewer. Using binaural sound to fuel the narrative of the running course created the sense of being in the film, adding to the obvious vulnerability of the female character. The prop represents all interacted pieces of furniture and architecture within the edited version of the film, and is used as a platform to analyse female and male movements whilst also representing the film itself. A door, four locks, stairs, bannisters and a window all represent character development within the story and therefore physical movements defining a performed gender.
An Ode To Screwfix Liam Healy
know that I don’t know why there is a small damp stain creeping up from just above the skirting board in this room. An insignificant sub-dermal event looking up at me. I know that I don’t know how the water got there. The damp expert knows that he doesn’t know, (he can’t be sure) but suspects it might be a cracked cast-iron soil pipe leaking into the ground below the wall. Some left over Victorian infrastructure, finally giving in after a hundred or so years, I don’t know. I know that in order to know this I need to smash a slab of concrete, dig down to investigate. I know that to do this I need a concrete breaker. I know that a concrete breaker only costs about £150 from Screwfix. The pneumatically-poweredhyper-Heideggerian hammer, at the ready, manufactured half way around the world, and shipped to my doorstep for free. I know that I won’t know how it got here, what boat it came on, what container it was packed into, in what corner of my skewed Google map, iron was smelted, cast to form the ‘all-metal’ gear box, electrical connections soldered together, allen bolts tightened, joining mechanical components. Fitted in a plastic casing, another few drops of dinosaur repurposed for my concrete smashing convenience. Carefully placed and packaged in a freshly printed box. Loaded into a box, in a box with lots of other boxes, in yet more boxes, traversing a global network of shipping lanes, in and out of ports, finally unloaded here, now waiting: 1 available! at my nearest branch, 3.1 miles. 13 minutes away Screwfix’s delivery algorithm helpfully informs me. I know that by utilising an additional set of tools, the phone, my internet browser, a GPS, I could know all of this. I could phone and google and track, but the prospect of all of this information leaves me feeling pallid and a bit sick. My cursor remains hovering over the shopping cart icon. I know that I know that concrete is a mix of cement, aggregate and water. I know how to mix it, cast it, sculpt it, cut it, smash it. I know that it is the most widely used man made substance in the world and one of the cheapest materials to produce. I know that I know that when cement is mixed with water a “complex set of chemical reactions occur”. Whatever that means. When I stand on concrete I’m experiencing calciumsilicate hydrate (C-S-H) forming, crystallising, hardening. I also know that the nature of these reactions remains a relative mystery.
Scientists operating on the edge of the known and the unknown, seeking proof, quantifying, measuring, transforming things unknown into known. I know that concrete is a crystalline structure. I consult with Google to understand what that means, poring over diagrams, drawings and Wikipedia articles. I know that it continues to harden and becomes fixed and rigid through its life. I know that ‘knowing’ reacts similarly, remains fixed, hardens, opposes speculation, becomes fact. “And how will you enquire into that which you do not know? What will you put forth as the subject of enquiry? And if you find what you want, how will you ever know that this is the thing which you did not know?” Meno asks of Socrates. Concrete is solid, concrete things aren’t meant to move, adapt or shift. I’ve been told that “Béton brut” translates to raw concrete in French. An architecture for architects. That photographs beautifully. That tells us how to live, that knows how we should live. The more I know the less I do, the damp stain remains. Knowledge prevents action, experimentation. Knowing is a full stop. Not knowing is the start of a conversation. I know that my browser knows that I might want to break some concrete. The cookies gave me away, like Hansel, leaving a trail of metaphorical crumbs for some advertising algorithm to find me. To give a little nudge. A little persuasion to enter the last three digits on my credit card (it knows the rest). It saw me looking at the breaker on the Screwfix website. It shows me little glimpses of it wherever I go now. ONLY £149.99!! Knowledge for sale! Knowledge is stable. Knowing is valuable. Knowing is sellable. Knowing is testable, quantifiable. How can a university, a design education, come close to that? A space for a messy mesh of semi-irrational processes. ONLY £24,000.00!! I prefer not knowing, the more I probe and investigate I feel paralysed, incapacitated and hopeless. Knowing that we don’t know seems the correct position to start, Edgar Allen Poe might have once said “it is the unforeseen upon which we must calculate most largely”. I don’t want fixed knowledge, I don’t want concrete, I want unforeseen possibles being felt for in the darkness. I want attempts and experiments, possibles and failures. Through a rigorous course of inaction, I still don’t really know where the stain is coming from or why it’s there, I’ve stopped caring. Inspired in part by Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide To Getting Lost.
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Ġib Il-Baħar Bring in the Sea Could the city have a ‘sea-ness’ to it? ‘Sea-ness’ refers to the feeling and quality of being at sea.
Keith has lived near the sea for most of his life. The city of London does not relate to the sea like an island does. Being in London, experiencing a landlocked existence, the project looks at introducing the sea into day to day life in or to experience this expansive ever changing blue space.
he city of London does not relate to the sea like an island does; even though historically London was deliberately chosen to be built on the river for trading purposes. This physical displacement, was an urge to bring the sea to the city. Revealing how our landscape, particularly the sea, shapes and affects our psychological state and well being. A number of investigative methods to reach the sea within the city were explored and designed, with one constraint, to not use water. Story has it, that William Turner tied himself to a mast of a steam ship during a nautical snowstorm as a method to experience and observe the sea. Artist Bas Jan Ader on the other hand, used the sea to search for the ‘Miraculous’ by crossing the Atlantic in a twelve-and-a-half-foot sailboat. For both artists the sea was somewhat significant to their identity. Both wanted to experience something that was not available to them and found their own methods in altering reality to do so. Likewise, the investigative methods applied to this project were aimed at altering reality to experience the sea. Memories are either voluntary or involuntary. Marcel Proust talks about voluntary memory as an agent to describe the outer appearance of things, events and experiences. More importantly,
Proust found ‘authenticity’ in involuntary memory, where sensations and emotion are experienced randomly through the use of senses. This is well portrayed in his encountered taste of madeleine’, which triggered pleasurable sensations that in turn brought an uninvited past memory beyond the reach of the intellect and voluntary memory. His encounter with the ‘madeleine’ is described in ‘Swann’s Way’ as follows: “No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs that touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped (…) An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin… And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little
too broad and involved too many attributes such as wind, moisture, sounds of loud waves crashing and the uncontrollable movement of the water. This suggested that the method needed to be more specific. To continue experimenting, a good source of personal past experiences involving the sea aided the trajectory of the project. Three years ago on a canoe trip with a friend marked a significant relationship with the sea. An memory from this story depicts rowing a canoe at sea and to the right were cliff sides and to the left was a fin. By extracting these elements from the memories, I found equivalent spaces, actions and objects within the city that could replace the originals. The fin was replaced by a bus, the cliffs were
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piece of ‘madeleine’ which on Sunday mornings at Combray, when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane.” (Poesis, 2015) The idea was to create a ‘madeleine’, not in the original sense of it happening naturally, but one that is consciously created and devised; by making objects that mimic single aspects of the sea to be used in the space of a bedroom: including taste, sound and touch. A bobbing chair and a head maraca mimicking the movement and sounds of the sea was used to act as a ‘madeleine’ and trigger a memory related to the sea. Yet, the sensations weren’t strong. Perhaps this was because creating a general sense of the sea was
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replaced by the high buildings in Canary Wharf, the moving people became the waves and the canoe was replaced by a skateboard, each hoping to be my ‘madeleine’s’. This consideration and agency given to the materiality of objects and their multiple possible effects is a focus of Proust and Bruno Latour which influenced a major part of the project. On reflection, ‘madeleine’s’ are difficult if not impossible to capture and design. Their unpredictable and spontaneous way of revealing themselves makes them what they are. Design on the other hand functions in a rational and deliberate way. Designing a madeleine is like producing fake orange juice without using real oranges. It is possible to produce an orange juice close to real orange juice, but it will never be the same as the original. One can only be and focus on the present moment and produce a space to engage with the world actively. That space allows for spontaneity to occur at it’s own rhythm. Although designing these Madeleine’s did not function in the desired effect, it produced a new set of associated memories. New relationships and memories were established. Heidegger speaks about what it means to be in the world. He said that to learn and understand what a hammer is, one needs to hold the hammer and use it to hammer down a nail. This was a radical change in thought to his predecessors, where one must learn what a hammer is by describing how the hammer looks and feels. Taking on Heidegger’s philosophy, the sea was engaged with by the process of designing and making a ‘Land Canoe’. The building process, created a state of mind where that felt prepared to go out to sea. Physically preparing to travel to the sea, is psychologically pre experiencing the space that one is about to experience. The land canoe is a land vehicle juxtaposed with reminiscent attributes of a sea vehicle. Using the oars to row in the roads achieved an experience of the ‘sea-ness’ within a dry environment. The longboard trucks on which it rolls reminiscently rock from side to side
with the slightest body movement, similar to being on the sea. In search of the sea, land canoe was rowed towards the sea, navigating around the dry landscape. Rowing the land canoe is an alternative way to perceive and navigate the city. We usually abide by a map to navigate ourselves. This map is an abstract political grid enforced on society by the ‘expert’ state until the map becomes the territory. Because the map is an abstraction, it cannot cover the Earth with a 1:1 accuracy. In the words of Hakim Bey, “The map is not accurate; the map cannot be accurate.” (Bey, 1985; 101) The land canoe does not fit perfectly into a 1:1 map. It is an endeavour to fracture the cartography of control, produce an altered reality of how to view and navigate the urban fabric by experiencing the ‘sea-ness’ of the city. To document the bringing of the sea to the city and finding this altered reality, a film was produced of the journey. The film reaches out and engages with people who have a relationship with the sea.
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Selfish Structures How can we climb St Paulâ€™s Cathedral? This project takes the specific experience involved in climbing a building, removing it from that building and making it accessible to everyone.
limbing a famous building is difficult if not impossible. It is illegal, dangerous and subversive - and yet the idea is enticing. Imagine it now if you will. Picture yourself standing beneath a landmark, an ancient building with many years of history and heritage behind it. Let’s take Tower Bridge in London as our example. Now imagine yourself halfway up the tower clinging on, the feeling of the stone gripped in your hand, working out the next move you must make, the ache in your muscles.
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Selfish Structures takes that experience grounded firmly in a location and its physicality, and strips away the unwanted elements to creatae a new structure, solely to facilitate the experience of its being climbed. The project began with explorations into the relationship of people and place. Initial experiments were focused on yeast and breadmaking. Sourdough bread is made using yeast gathered directly from the environment in which it is made. If a loaf of bread was made in the kitchen in your home, it would take into it a part of that environment and all the things that make that space yours. If the bread is created in a field, so too would it take on part of that environment. Through selecting places of personal importance, the designer started to create bread that reflected parts of his upbringing and personality; the beach where his grandfather lived, the climbing wall he goes to, the forest he explored as a child. Each of these places were turned into loaves of bread that captured a distinct part of the designer’s history. The process of making this sentimental bread was then extended outwards to other user and locations. People were invited to reflect upon spaces they identified with and send the designer postcards describing those places and their relationship to the user. The results of this experiment were less successful than the previous work because it moved away from physically creating bread in important spaces. By asking the user to simply reflect upon spaces, the project had lost much of its physical grounding. In order to rectify this, the designer moved away from the creation of bread but retained the same conceptual centre point of the project - the relationship between people and the experience of places. It was at this time that the most important piece of work in the project was made- a simple cut out map of the parts of London that the designer inhabits recreated into a new plan of the city only for him. The map started a series of experiments based upon finding the ideal city for the designer in order to make the map a reality. This comparatively simple piece can draw upon
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a range of influences such as Guy Debord and others’ work upon psychogeography. The aforementioned relationship between people and place raised a interest in the climbing wall and the potential for its borader application within the city. The designer produced a series of images, maps and plans that found climbing routes around the city. These were inaccessible and illicit and so naturally the project shifted to making them a reality. One of these climbing routes include dTower Bridge, which was reimagined as a climbable surface, having been investigated through extensive mapping and modelling. Its climbable elements were selected and turned into a new structure. The inspiration for this came from the development of skateboarding from surfing. In the sixties and seventies, surfers used emptied pools and asphalt slopes as land locked waves on which to practice. Through this the act and experience of surfing, which was intrinsically
connected to the sea was removed from its origins and superimposed onto a new location. After redesigning Tower Bridge twice, the process was then applied to St Paul’s Cathedral. It was mapped and analysed; its most interesting features were considered and a climbing route was planned to circumnavigate around its edge. That route was then in turn reduced down to the barest number of movements. Models were made of miniature structures that would only contain the necessary parts of the building to create these movements. The structure of the models were adapted to become more feasible, round edges were abandoned and a square shape structure was adopted. Until this point the aim of the proposed structure was to recreate only the experience of climbing around St Paul’s. However it soon became obvious that to continuously climb around and around the same series of holds would become a boring and fruitless task. It was decided that each of the four faces of the structure would become a section of a different buildings. The buildings selected were all famous churches in London to continue with the precedent set by St Paul’s and included Southwark Cathedral, Westminster Abby and Westminster Cathedral. Each was studied in detail until the designer found the most exciting sections that could be climbable. These sections were then cut and reduced into a series of handholds necessary to climb that stretch. The hand and footholds were carefully sketched and modeled to evaluate their feasibility before being cast in resin and mortar. The main body of the structure is made from scaffolding onto which is attached sections of scaffolding board to hold the handholds. For portability and ease of construction the entire structure can be put up and taken down using only an alan key and a spanner. Ultimately the structure will become more then the four faces it currently has. It can be changed to reflect a variety of different buildings and so can create any number of new experiences. In any of its possible configurations it allows a physical access and a new relationship to a building without needing the architecture to be present.
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Species Neutral WC How can we find overlaps between anthropocentric and natural systems in order to facilitate human to non-human coexistence? Species Neutral WC is a public toilet that facilitates gas and fluid exchange between the human and the non-human for temporary interspecies coexistence.
ith our ever developing technologies and ever expanding population, we humans are separating ourselves from all other species both physically through architecture and mentally through societal hierarchies. Such hierarchies prioritise some species over others, often determined by their value as a resource. This has caused many
detrimental effects on our lives, such as indoor air pollution from the efficient containment of manmade architecture. However, ecosystems without humans often maintain a constant state of environmental equilibrium and health. For example, stable populations of species are sustained by complex hierarchical food webs that have developed over time. These webs are maintained by networks of interspecies symbiotic relationships. This environmental health and stability can, however, be easily disrupted by human interference. A major example of this is the Four Pests Campaign, China’s worst human-caused environmental disaster. Chairman Mao ordered all sparrows to be killed, leading to a rise in crop-eating insects. This resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of the Chinese population by starvation, simply due to a human attempt to remove a species from an ecosystem. This exemplifies how humans force existing ecosystems to adapt to facilitate anthropocentric needs or shape new ecosystems that form as a result of our presence. Adapting our lifestyle to allow ourselves to become a part of existing ecosystems could provide us with a higher state of environmental stability whilst allowing coexistence with, and reducing disturbance to, non-human species. Species Neutral WC does this by facilitating a higher state of species equality through human to non-human interaction. ‘Species Neutral WC’ is a public toilet that facilitates gas and fluid exchange between the human and the non-human for temporary interspecies coexistence. The structure of Species Neutral WC is composed of two main parts: the ‘Gas Exchange Zone’ and the ‘Plumbing & Irrigation System’. Within the Gas Exchange Zone, ‘Species Neutral WC’ houses a complex multi-species ecosystem which is sustained by human bodily waste. The plants within the ecosystem 116 – 117
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are fertilised by the urine and rainwater that is collected. This fuels the conversion via photosynthesis of the carbon dioxide that we humans exhale into oxygen. This oxygen is then re-inhaled, highlighting a mutual dependency between humans and plants. Urine acts as a biological plant fertiliser. The three main elements in urine are the three main macronutrients that plants require for growth: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The ecosystem within the Gas Exchange Zone is positioned at shoulder height to accentuate the exchange of gases from the plant’s leaves to the user’s mouth and vice versa, whilst providing the user with a more engaging and immersive experience. The urine and rainwater are combined in the Plumbing and Irrigation System. The urine is collected using a dry toilet system, which diverts the solid waste from the liquid waste to keep the urine safe and sterile. The solid waste can be dried and removed for other uses, such as a separate fertiliser or fuel. The ecosystem is based around the areca palm and the snake plant, two of the main air purifying plants proven by NASA’s 1989 study entitled ‘Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement’ (Wolverton et al, 1989). Four shoulder-height areca palms and eight waistheight snake plants can provide sufficient clean air for one human to survive. However, despite such studies in the 80s, companies such as Dyson are beginning to design electronic products which remove pollutants from our indoor air electronically rather than biologically. Instead of solving issues such as indoor air pollution electronically, systems such as ‘Species Neutral WC ‘can begin to relieve such problems biologically by involving us in multispecies ecosystems. The aim is that this system will revolutionise the public toilet, with the first projected site of ‘Species Neutral WC’ being Kew Gardens. The ‘Species Neutral WC’ Plumbing and Irrigation System would be integrated into Kew’s existing Palm House, repurposing the structure as the Gas
Exchange Zone. ‘Species Neutral WC’ has been prototyped as an Experience Simulator. The intended use for the simulator is demonstrative; a prototype of the site specific, real-world design. It has been designed to be fully functional, demonstrating the working system and simulating the user experience of ‘Species Neutral WC.’ Species-neutral designs such as ‘Species Neutral WC’ utilise missed opportunities found at the overlaps between anthropocentric and natural systems. These interventions allow for symbiotic coexistence between species, to begin to undo the damaging effects of human and nonhuman separation. Wolverton, BC; Douglas, WL; Bounds, K (July 1989) A study of interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement, United States: NASA.
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The New Old Age What is the future of old age and how might we imagine it?
‘The New Old Age’ seeks to examine and test the ideas of becoming old, through methods of self-reflection and future speculations. The aim is to create a more positive look at ageing, by re-designing clichés of ‘the elderly’, and changing the acceptance of decline towards the end of life’s course.
and face-ageing software. However, through a lack of knowledge and experience, these can in fact have a negative impact. Younger opinions can have the influence and the power to shape the public imagination and in this case, negatively. There is no one universal definition of a ‘typical’ older being, the experience of ageing varies greatly with each person. One cannot create a stable definition. The true anthropologists of old age are the elderly themselves. Ageing is an unimagined territory for younger people and can be used to an advantage by changing the way younger people look at their futures. This is encouraged through personal self-reflection, not one that has been influenced through popular cultural assumptions and preconceived ideas. Establishing the idea that it is not a shared future of simply getting ‘old’, reflecting on the self involves a positive progression. If you look at
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here is a rapid increase in Britain’s ‘ageing’ population, people are living for longer and lead increasingly different lives. Too often, the successful extension of the human lifespan is a burden on the economy and public sectors. We would do better by looking at the favourable aspects of life and the importance of looking positively at extending human life expectancy. With more people in society living longer, there is a larger need for a deeper appreciation for the old, as the stigmas of ageing can have a huge effect on the elderly’s wellbeing. Society has a fundamental fear of ageing. “Ageism is a prejudice against our ‘feared future self ’” (Todd D. Nelson). This means that we despise everything about ageing, creating a negative stereotype and believe that ageing is not going to happen to us and so we try to disassociate ourselves from it as far as possible. Many young people (especially young creatives) have tried to help imagine old age through various forms like film characterisation
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a member of a collective group, you may think everyone looks ‘old’, but if you take notice and look at each person individually you see aspects of them that makes them unique and interesting. A lot of service design concepts like wisdom swaps, fall into the trap of collective grouping, which is exactly what the New Old Age seeks to avoid. The process of development was influenced by ‘Alive Inside’ a documentary by Director, Michael Rossato-Bennett. This was important in showing how elderly people in care homes are
given medicine to numb pain and make them feel better, when all it takes to bring them to life and back to themselves is music. “Music connects people with whom they have been, who they are and their lives. Because what happens when you get old is all the things you’re familiar with, your identity, are all just being peeled away”. Music connects to the heart and soul and reminds us of what it means to be human. To create an ideal future life, one has to reflect first on their core values, finding new mechanisms of reflecting on the narrative of one’s own life, to assist people’s imagination. These mechanisms look at questioning who we were and how we can use objects to remind us of this. These could be things like music and photographs that connect to past memories, tastes and interests. Asked to consider their most personal ideals, values and interests, students responded to a series of questions, imagining their future selves, discussing their music choices, and predicted or hoped-for routines. The answers were then turned into scripts and read out by older voice actors,
will be a huge change. But no one seems to look forward to it, as there is still a generation of older people who are not content with their age and activity. The New Old Age aims to aid our imagination for change â€“ as there are so many positive possibilities in the future.
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portraying their 'future selves'. This activity became a core essential process throughout the project. By finding effective methods of bringing the scripts to life and helping people visualise and imagine their ideal future selves, excitement and interest was shown in what their futures could possibly hold. The end designs are various voice recordings combined with music, images and collage to personalise and help aid imagination. The response of each each younger participant is then tested to see how effective it is for them. This will not become a government policy or a form of service design for a collective group. The idea is to keep it focused on an individual and make it as personal as possible. This could be displayed in an exhibition space or possibly turned into a radio show, with a focus on each guest, and an older voice actor to read scripts live on the show. This will effectively change the way people perceive their futures. The circumstances of old age change with every generation. By the time we are old there
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Anna Louise (lia) Quijano
Wyoming How can an object we find valuable, become expendable? ‘Wyoming’ is a collection derived from one object. The designer, through the figurative explosion of one postcard, proposes a new set of processes and methodologies for the areas of collection, display, experience, ownership and archive.
ia Quijano has lived in eight different countries, in around 12 houses and apartments. Packing became a hobby and asking herself what should be packed and what shouldn’t became instinctive. Throughout each move, there was never hesitation in bringing her collection of postcards and letters received from friends and family, the most valuable of her belongings. Regardless, she questioned: how many times do you interact with the objects you value most? Are they a genuine necessity? The concept of this project was derived through the designer asking if she personally needed her collection of postcards. Each postcard, when received, went through lingering moments of appreciation. Following this, they would be secured in a box, untouched from then onwards. Lia concluded that she simply liked them within reach, stored and kept safe. This project revolves around a postcard one of her best friends, Michael, given to her two years ago after his visit to Wyoming.
diversity of medium enhances the character of this collection. This act of re-interpretation leads to the next main area that this project addresses. Display The methods of display when creating a collection from one artefact, can be re-designed by re-making. This postcard was remade out of wood, replacing the handwritten message with newspaper cutouts, sandblasted a simplified illustration of the front, added dimension and visually translated Michael’s message into a collage. Through the material alteration of the new objects themselves, each re-make changes the way this one postcard can be displayed. Beyond this idea, the technique of reproduction aided the exploration and the understanding of an ordinary object. Experience To re-design the experience of a traditional curation, the artefacts should not be stagnant and instead should present an opportunity for close interaction. In the collection of 'Wyoming' these specific outcomes are sensory — ones that you would be able to smell, touch, listen to, type with and watch. For example, Michael was recorded reading his own message aloud and created scents that smell like nature, reflecting the front of the
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Collection This project redesigns a method of collecting. By definition, a collection is thought of as “something gathered into a mass or pile; accumulation”. If something exists, somebody somewhere collects it. The designer drifts away from this ideology. Instead of acquiring likeobjects over a span of time, she has created a collection from the figurative explosion of a single object. The initial steps taken to form a new collection were to isolate and dissect the postcard’s properties, essentially exploring a reductionist version of a thing. The front of the postcard for example is comprised of a photograph, its colour, and a prominent typeface used for the title. The “explosion” of the photograph went through several stages, the first being its pixelation in order to interrogate the most prominent colours. When physically printed as a poster, the pixelated version of the postcard stands as one outcome on its own. The designer then decided to custom-mix paints which matched the exact colours extracted. The first full and tangible collection produced, therefore, consists of 24 paints. These paints are essentially the front of the postcard in a different format — one that is able to be interacted with and used. From this expansion, we gain an opportunity to closely interrogate the details easily overlooked. Another property "exploded" was the typeface of 'Wyoming'. The designer found the font used on the front of the card and physicalised this by laser cutting the individual letters. She created a type toolkit that again results in the potential of physical interaction and closer attention to this aesthetic property. Taking Michael’s handwriting, a functional font to stand as a collection composed of a set of unique glyphs. The handwritten message is the most unique property of this postcard and to create a useable typeface felt, to some extent, like a replacement. The message can be re-written, or new messages can be created, as Michael. The designer additionally introduced an intentionally vague brief: remake the postcard, front and back, in any way. The re-interpretations formed a collection of their own. One sees how different individuals recreated the same postcard, with some attempting to draw the card as accurately as possible and others deciding to abstract it entirely. Either way, this postcard was interrogated through a simple brief, and the
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The point of ownership unveils a potential user—curators. This project offers alternative methods that challenge an established agency in the idea of curation and collecting. It ultimately serves as a platform for questioning curators on the extent to which an object is actually needed in its original state or form. The new processes that have been developed throughout this project renegotiate the meaning of “ownership”. If museums acquire the objects that compose their collections, would re-making them mean that the designer has a level of ownership over those new artefacts? The materialisations came not from the postcard manufacturer, 'Mountain West Prints', but from the designer's own views.
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Ownership The designer created a booklet, packaging and documenting examples of artefacts within museums that have attracted controversy over the right of ownership. Research shows that the underlying problem is the belief that some items are simply not meant to be owned. Could applying the processes of re-iteration and re-expression within this project challenge how museums and curators in particular own their items?
Archiving Another aim was to test whether or not the original object, throughout its many replications, has become expendable to the designer herself. Archiving, by definition, is “to place or store (something)”. The project toys with traditional methods of preservation by designing a mechanism of display which puts the artefact’s physicality under constant threat instead of safety. With this display, the designer tests the effectiveness of the collection she had created from the original postcard. As stated, Michael’s postcard is valuable to the designer alone, yet the physical object itself is not a necessity. There is a comfort in having, quite literally and figuratively, more than one of this postcard. The creation of these duplicates led her to internalise this object in numerous ways: sensorially, digitally and physically. She no longer feels the need to keep this object within reach, nor does she care if it is physically destroyed.
postcard. In the designer’s own curations, the literal variations were categorised by physical material alterations, sensory re-expressions and digital translations. Curating the collection as a whole was a fundamental part of the experience. This further engaged an audience with the postcard by having a room essentially filled with that one item.
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Insiders and Outsiders How do we become acquainted with the unfamiliar in regenerated areas?
‘Insiders and Outsiders’ gives people an insight into shops they may be unfamiliar with or anxious to enter. For example, a local resident described feeling like a ghost in a bar in Peckham.
in a Nigerian hair salon for a week, as a way of understanding and becoming familiar with the environment. This quote from an article about Botton explains his approach: “There are many places in the modern world that we do not understand because we cannot get inside them” (Visual Editions, 2016). This quote could also apply to the shops that people feel uncomfortable going into. Another influence was the filmmaker Marc Isaacs, who installed himself in a lift in a tower block for a few months and documented his time and interactions with people through film. His method of immersing himself in this space and film techniques inspired the project when making films of the shops in Peckham. The process involved identifying unfamiliar shops or those in which people may feel uncomfortable, and then spending time speaking to the people behind these shop fronts. For example, for one week a chair in a Nigerian hair salon was rented to observe and speak to the women working in and visiting this space. There were ethical issues due to the exchange of money, so from this point on the project focused on other forms of exchange, such as redesigning a menu. Throughout the time spent in these shops a range of methods were utilised to overcome barriers (e.g. language) in order to become an insider in the shops. These methods included 128 – 129
his project explores how and why people feel uncomfortable going to certain places. Unfamiliar places were investigated in the hope of revealing the unknown behind shop fronts. The aim being to design a way for people to gain a better understanding of places that they are unfamiliar with. In regenerated areas, issues arise when increasingly diverse communities are forced to coexist. This is an ongoing problem that is likely to continue. This project aims to change the feelings of discomfort in unfamiliar spaces, with a focus on Peckham, a developing area in South East London. Research was conducted for this project on a range of people and workplaces. The project began by looking at Airbnb, who focus heavily on the idea of people ‘belonging anywhere’. Their case studies communicate videos and photographs of people in such a way that you automatically feel connected to them. This project aims to build upon this. The following quote from Airbnb discusses the changes in our community today: “We used to take belonging for granted. Everyone knew each other, and everyone knew they had a place to call home. But after the mechanisation and industrial revolution of the last century, those feelings of trust and belonging were displaced.” (Airbnb, 2016) The sociologist Doreen Massey, who works in the field, talks of how architecture can both draw some people in and leave others feeling excluded, depending on what we are familiar with. In particular, this relates to the effects aesthetics can have on one’s feelings of comfort. Both these examples and other work in this field have influenced the techniques and thinking behind this project. Other major influences on this project include the anthropologist Alain de Botton, who spent a week in Heathrow airport during which he produced an extraordinary account of life at an airport. Inspired by this, a chair was rented
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getting residents and shop workers to draw the street they were on or the shop they were in. This was a way of looking at the perception of space, comparing the unfamiliar to the familiar. Photography was also an ongoing process throughout the project, it was an effective way of observing and capturing motions and activities on the streets that may not have been noticed otherwise. However, film was the best way of capturing the time spent in these spaces. It was used to reinvestigate and highlight the unique, cultural dynamics of a place. After eight months getting an insight into the behind-the-scenes, a template was designed to be able to do this in other regenerated areas. The template or framework is a booklet containing steps, from how to approach a shop and begin chatting to the shop worker, to how to film and get all the appropriate shots, to making a 1-2 minute film ready to be projected on the walls of that area. The idea is for the template to be a pop-up in different regenerated areas with the aim of projecting everyone’s films around the streets, showing locals what goes on behind the shop fronts. The framework functions by being displayed in newsagents around these areas, free for people to take away. It can be used by people who have always lived in the area or those who have recently moved into it. The idea is that they will follow the steps of the booklet to become an
‘insider’, by spending time and making films in a shop of their choice. These films are then presented at a pop-up installation night, giving people in the area an insight into what is behind the shop fronts by showcasing the films made by other people. The aim of this project is to build bridges for people to move from feeling uncomfortable or anxious to having a better understanding of an unfamiliar environment, which could lead to people to going to shops they may not have otherwise visited. The result of this is the chance for people existing in the same area to integrate with their locality. Airbnb, (n.d.). Belong anywhere [online] available from: http;//blog.airbnb.com/belong-anywhere/ Visual Editions (2016). WRITERS-IN-RESIDENCE [online] available from: http://visual-editions.com/articles/ writers-in-residence-a-short-film
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Generic Sentimental What object is sentimental to you and why?
‘Generic sentimental’ is a memory project that investigates our personal attachment to our most treasured objects. Capturing the narratives behind items, questioning why it’s important and deeply valued, revealing the hidden stories associated with an object that we otherwise are oblivious to.
e don’t carry our memories around in crystal clear format, they’re forever changing, altering and elaborating, all in a bid to retain and continue to make sense of a moment that has impacted us. Memories are what make us human and objects can trigger our thoughts and transport us back to the past where we can relive them. Originally a project that focused on dementia and those with memory impairments, the intention was to test how best to capture and prompt fading memories. The project now focuses on collective memories, exploring the uncanny overlaps we all have and share using particular objects we can all relate too as triggers. Understanding that through personal association, objects gain subjective meaning based on the memories that we have of them, but such memories are generally hidden and intangible. ‘The Generic Sentimental’ displays the links between objects and individuals, it unlocks personal autobiographical stories, conversations and experiences by collecting narratives from participants between the ages of nine to ninety-four years. Making objects come alive, interesting, more relevant and imbued with meaning. Inspired by the work of Forster Huntington, creator of “The Burning House” project, he proposed the question “what would you save if your house was on fire?” People answered his
question by sending a photograph of the items that they cherish enough to want to save during a tragedy due to their personal importance. For instance, some participants sent in a picture of their childhood teddy bear alongside other special objects. “Picture an old teddy bear sitting on someone’s shelf. It is missing an ear, most of its stuffing, and looks more like a rag than a stuffed animal. But it will never be exchanged for a new one, nor thrown out, because of its great sentimental value. It has personal and emotional significance, symbolising someone’s childhood and who they once were.” – Kerstin Dautenhahn Strong notions of object attachment feature in this publication, however it doesn’t explain the reason of why individuals chose to save those items. As Ashley Pickets describes “Be it a piece
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of furniture, an album full of someone else’s memories, or an old obsolete tool; the object itself is irrelevant, it is the impact it has on our lives that we hold onto”. These missing narratives behind why the objects are important to us, prompted the investigation into The Generic Sentimental Project. First came the idea to experiment with collectives, by layering images of the most sentimental objects people cherish, every layer added to the composition generated an average sentimental object. Allowing the audience to relate and see a piece of their own in them. This confirmed the notion, alongside research, that sentimental objects can trigger our memories, directing an exploration into collective memories that we all have and share, in order to make generic forms that we can all relate too. The main outcomes of this project are in the form of two separate books of interest with an aim to trigger discussions and memories. Together both feature over 100 narratives. Printed onto tracing paper to allow the images to layer up and build the average sentimental keepsakes within the books themselves. The first book “The Generic Sentimental”, contains personal anecdotes gathered from members of the public, exploring sentimental stories from person to object. Capturing what people cherish the most along with the inaccuracies and guesses from moments of forgotten details; the beauty of working with memories. Each recollection was told with excitement and eagerness to share and contribute. Together they portray an overlay of society having collective memories based on these objects. The second book “May’s Locket”, is a separate but parallel title that focuses on a specific object that belongs to Clare’s Grandmother, nobody knows what ‘May’s locket’ contains except for her. This publication contains speculations from both family members and the general public as to what the locket might hold. Ranging from the expected, to more unusual predictions and theories like a plastic carrier bag. Together both books complement one another but accomplish different things; one forms a collective by capturing memories and the other questions and speculates. The outcome of ‘May’s locket’ also produced a small metal cutter and wooden handled tool, which when using a hammer to apply force, punches out replicas of the mixed media that could ‘possibly’ be inside the locket. The punches were then framed as a collection to continue the speculations and possibilities.
Like “May’s Locket”, “Generic Sentimental” developed a series of tools in order to provoke interest, start conversations and explore the notion of generic sentimentality: 3D Perfume Bottle This was made by layering 100 bottles digitally from photographs, before finding the average shape of an object, by tracing and then printing, to produce a collaborative abstract that together we treasure. Same Story – Different People A framed and handwritten story from a group of participants, who were asked to read, remember and write their recollections of a given story with specific details. This tool captures errors, memories being worked on; it shows the imperfections and inaccuracies of our minds. The personal touch of their handwriting contributes to a symbolic tool, elaborating that all memory is complex, showing confusion and deterioration in all ages. Communicating that forgetting and working on stories until we reinterpret them to make sense, is a common everyday scenario that affects us all. Postcards A series of 32 ‘Generic Sentimental’ images printed onto postcards. The compositions feature the physical treasures we hold onto. These postcards continue the sentimental factors of the project, by having individuals handwrite personalised messages before sending them on to someone they want to share with. To receive the ghostlike postcard with a message from a good friend or family member would continue the ‘sentimental’ keepsakes. Unlike an ordinary postcard, this series questions what they find sentimental. Changing the intention of the standard postcard into sharing memories, similar to books that share stories in a publication, the postcards aim to continue this on a practical level, working in the real world.
1. Dautenhahn, Kerstin. Human Cognition and Social Agent Technology: John Benjamins publishing, 2000. Accessed Saturday 19th, December 2015. [Chapter 2, introduction] 2. Pickett, Ashley. https://www.behance.net/gallery/12075751/ The-Sentimental-Object published November 12th,2013 Accessed October 25th, 2015.
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Hybrid Teddy Bear This activity disassembled parts of a series of preloved bears, sourced from charity shops and car boot sales, which were then patched together to form a new identity. They are intended to transport people back to their childhood days and to see moments of their childhood within it. This bear is an interactive object and contains many memories, from a variety of different owners; the untold narratives remain a mystery. Together, the books of interest and the collection of tools form an investigation into memories making the project.
Generic Book Sleeve The generic book cover sleeve was designed to continue the exploration into layering sentimentality. This shows the nation’s top 30 books on a dust jacket to transform every book into a more meaningful object.
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Women’s Work On what grounds can one justify waged domestic labour in the twenty-first century?
In the broadest sense, ’[Other] Women’s Work’ aims to elucidate and destabilise the systems which contribute to the invisibility of the domestic cleaner, through the appropriation of gendered crafts and household dust.
aving noticed similarities between the way in which dust collects on the head of a broom and the carders used to stretch wool fibres in preparation for spinning, the project began with a simple action: spinning a thread of yarn from the dust on the floor. This action gave the project two discernible topics: craft, and dirt. Retrospectively, it seemed entirely appropriate to use an historically gendered practice to transform the integral article of a task generally characterised in the same way. Initial research surrounding human notions of dirt and cleanliness included the respective works of Mary Douglas and Julia Kristeva. Douglas identified dirt as “matter out of place”, upon which Kristeva built her potent conceptualisation of the ‘Abject’: “what disturbs systems, identity, and rules”. Both identified dirt as symbolically
representative of social relations, rather than anything being inherently dirty. Initially playing on Douglas’ and Kristeva’s spacial metaphors, the project considers how dust could be made to be “in place”. This was explored through the design of tools, workshops and the collection and transformation of the dust itself. In response to researched experiences of dust and dirt, the understanding of dirt was adjusted as an entirely social construct. Experienced, produced and reproduced in the real world, notions of dirt and cleanliness were evidently both products of, and complicit in, the preservation of social hierarchies. That is, dirt
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Kristeva, J (1982), Powers of Horror, Columbia University Press - pg. 4 Douglas, M (1966), Purity and Danger, Routledge - pg. 36
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Gallery in Deptford Town Hall. Dust used to make the coat was collected by Tracy from the houses she cleans. This ‘performance’, as the culmination of this arrangement, aimed to make the invisible visible, bringing the overlooked into focus. As a platform on which to discuss, question and perhaps destabilise the disparate organisation of power in the client/cleaner relationship, the project hopes to expose the limits of solidarity between women so vividly divided by race and class. It’s still women’s work, but it is not every woman’s work.
could be material and metaphor at the same time. With this, the domestic cleaner was identified as the key figure in the project: she who traversed between the material and the immaterial, unable to choose. Indeed, the domestic labour force acutely reflects the most powerful divides in modern society: gender, class, and race. Tracy, a local domestic cleaner, had mainly female clients. It seemed women too could be complicit in the gendered construction of housework. As such, the project suggests that the greater economic and political agency enjoyed by some women can be directly linked to the growing demand for domestic labour. The conclusion of the project manifested itself in the creation of a dust-felted coat, publicly constructed in the Constance Howard Textiles
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Buried How can a designer bring aspects of the cemetery into the everyday world?
Soil from within grave plots has the potential to become memorials for people who are unable to visit their desired cemetery, and to keep the memorial ongoing rather than forgotten.
fter death, the body is often committed to the ground with a gravestone marking the space. Underneath these cemetery plots, bodies are decomposing within the coffin and soil, a natural process, leaving our skeletons behind as the last parts of the body in the grave. Whilst many grave plots are regularly tended to, there are also incredibly large areas in many cemeteries that have untended plots. Beginning this project with the aim to help the deceased within these forgotten grave plots, the cemetery became the pivotal and prominent site for the project. Where the memorial moved from here would be the ownersâ€™ choice. Ultimately, the main issue was that there are many cemeteries with untended grave plots, and forgotten people buried beneath. Whilst this is still a big part of the project, the reasons for why these grave plots are untended have shifted the concept. From talking to staff at Welford
Road Cemetery, it was noted that many family members move away from the area, and therefore the cemetery. The deceased become forgotten, and thus the grave plot does as well. Talking to people was a prominent influence throughout the project. Whilst professionals helped to give a clinical and forthright opinion about the subject, talking to people that had lost loved ones helped a great deal. Understanding the scientific parameters of decomposition in the grave and the organisms within was important in giving a theoretical account of the soil. However, this information had to be provided in a sensitive way, because of the initial interviews undertaken with mourners. Throughout the project there were various conversations with people that were involved in a cemetery site, including the mourners, several site registrars, council workers, and volunteers working within the cemetery. These all provided
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evident; the user would be collecting their own soil which meant the tools needed to be precise yet sensitive to the activity. The outcome of this project involves the collection of soil at the grave plot and the care taking of the memorial afterwards. The collection of soil can be completed in two ways, and if the bereaved is uncomfortable with the tools, a person not connected to the deceased can complete it. The use of the tool kits can appear strange, though when other people are using the site for other activities such as exercising and photography, it becomes a more comfortable action. The memorial involves a glass pot and a copper ‘holder’ with the deceased’s name, date of birth and death and the co-ordinates to the original cemetery. The user is a mourner that cannot attend a grave plot as regularly as they would like, for example, because they have moved from the area. Ultimately, the major beneficiary has shifted from the deceased that now lies in the grave plot, towards the bereaved that wishes to care for the grave plot but cannot visit it. Several materials have been used within the cemetery, however soil from the grave plot has the potential, depending on how deep the soil is extracted from, to hold a percentage of the decomposed body held within. The use of these memorials is intended to give the untended grave plots relevance again. The social culture of the cemetery as a site has evolved; it has become more accessible. As such, the need for reintroducing relevance to these grave plots is increasingly important.
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different insights into the site and how it was used. Speaking to volunteers was a pivotal moment as it gave a significant reason for why the user would collect the soil. Working within the cemetery enabled research through observation, understanding how people use such a site and the potential this gave to a project and the wider community. These actions became more prominent when different sites were visited and the people with links to that site were spoken to. For example, Highgate cemetery is strict with what it allows to happen within the site and holds guided tours at a price of £12. This is a stark contrast to cemeteries such as Brompton, that operate as part of the Royal Parks and is used freely as a park would be used. The beginning of this project began with trying to deal with the cemetery site from a material level. This resulted in taking actions such as taking soil and impressions from the grave plots. It also led to a period of time working with bone as a material. Conversations with professionals with tangential links to death, such as forensic entomologists, skeletal archive curators, general practitioners and radiologists, helped advance the project, but speaking with mourners had the most impact. Talking to people that have experienced the death of a loved one gave empathy and understanding to the emotional subject. Feeling uncomfortable whilst taking soil samples brought forth the question of whether the soil held something of the deceased beneath, or whether it should be seen as just soil. There was a need to determine whether the soil would be changed because of the deceased’s body buried a few feet below. Whilst there was a continued attempt to get an accurate calculation and formula for the soil samples, there was a realisation that this was not about the formula, but about taking people along with the journey of the soil and their belief in this. The memorials were developed through discussions with potential users after they had cared for them and lived with them for a number of weeks. The use of copper as a material transformed the memorial from a plastic, dull plant pot into an object, which could become a spectacle and treasured item. The need to produce accurate soil collection tools was
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Everyday Pleasures How does domesticity intersect with wellbeing in our current social and economic environment? ‘Everyday Pleasures’ aims to provide new and practical tools to re-interpret domestic actions; it transforms the mundane everyday into a form of practical meditation that is beneficial to our health and well-being inside the home.
ou wake up. Make the bed, go to the kitchen, prepare your coffee, leave for work. Later, you take your clothes from the washing machine and spread them on the airer, smoothing out the creases and making sure they hang evenly. It is a small thing, but you take care in the moment. Life is full of these small moments. Mundane moments that bleed from necessity to necessity. Needs and wants splitting and converging. These are 'Everyday Pleasures'. This work aims to provide new and practical tools to re-interpret domestic actions, transforming the mundane everyday into a form of practical meditation, beneficial to our health and well-being inside the home. Everyday pleasures began as an investigation into the commodification of well-being, exploring how different industries, from business management to advertising, facilitate happiness for their users. The industry of well-being stood out as a strikingly contrived; an absurd reaction to the boom in mental health and well-being. The project critiques this well-being marketing, which sells a picture-perfect lifestyle,
These objects create a surreal facsimile of domestic rituals, becoming new tools for experience and self-reflection in the home. Presented in the form of a short marketing film, the outcome demonstrates the set of objects which explore how practical meditation and mindfulness could be reintroduced into daily life through absurd experiential practices. The film observes an imagined home, presented through the marketing lens. The set takes cues from typical domestic cleaning advertisements, emphasising the role of marketing in the wellness and domestic industries. The set provides a construct in which to display the objects that were designed for these heightened experiences, as if in a show room. Dancer Letizia BindaPartensky demonstrates the objects in use during this surreal, awareness-based performance. Despite the surreal and emphasised nature of the film, these are plausible and real objects that can be used in the real world, and perhaps, not so different from the existing types of wellnessbased objects. These objects may become the norm within the home, as mental health and wellness care trickles into mainstream culture.
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driven by healthy juices, group yoga, and inspirational self-help quotes. Understanding that substantive mental and physical well-being are most often borne out of small quiet moments, where mindfulness takes root in a simple action, or in enjoying a moment of self-reflection. The demand for consumers to be better, well, happy, and to enjoy every possible moment is an intimidating task, an all but aspirational goal in many ways. Everyday Pleasures attempts to renegotiate this climate of positive evolution towards mental and physical well-being into a realm of enjoyable surrealism. The project explores methods of facilitating the improvement of everyday experiences through the senses. This developed through rigorous tracking of everyday actions and experiences. In so doing, Everyday pleasures investigates how to enhance or alter everyday experiences through various methods. Domestic activities like dusting could be re-imagined as a full-body experience in the ‘Duster Suit’; washing machines could be used to create atmospheric music; household ephemera in specific calming colours could elicit a pleasant user experience. Through enhancing the everyday, we could begin to imagine the home as a place of absurd interpretation, not necessarily tied to a strict or rigorous routine of domesticity. Everyday Pleasures ultimately focuses on three domestic activities and rituals, and redevelops them on an extreme level. 1. The Broom. Everyday sweeping and dusting is reimagined as a performance. The Broom has a short handle and one-metre long bristles to encourage the user to imagine the act of sweeping as a dance. 2. The Airer. The Airer invites the user to create a sculptural piece of domestic equipment in a partly improvised performance and meditation. It allows the user to arrange clothing in a more aesthetic method, in order to create a harmonious element within the home environment. 3. The Scourer. The scourer takes the concept and utility of washing-up and makes it hyperbolic. Using dry ice in combination with washing-up liquid, the scourer creates a huge amount of bubbles when used in the agitated motion of washing-up, creating an overflowing and atmospheric experience.
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Helen Lucy Wyatt
Power Plays Can re-interpreting stories from doctors and bouncers help to identify issues around stereotyping and inform new means of tackling wider social conflicts?
'Power Plays' looks at archetypes (in this case doctors and bouncers) as a means of understanding social discourse. The stereotyping around each role provides an insight into the social connotations that have developed each character. Creative translations re-situate their stereotypical portrayal by using artistic mediums to morph their stories into new narratives.
The pieces were created to perform to the public and staff of a nightclub and medical centre, with the aim of re-situating the stereotypical narrative of the authorities. By translating the archetypes into different forms, it may be possible to loosen the bonds of good and evil that constrict social life. By creatively interpreting their stories and using their insights to generate performances, it may be possible to challenge underlying conceptions of social boundaries. Power Plays has been influenced by two fundamental ideas: Žižek’s theory of ‘Social Violence’ and ‘Authors of the Estate’ by Andre Anderson and friends. Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher, culture analyst and Marxist scholar, suggests that normalised conflict is destructive because it encourages systemic violence to become a normal part of everyday life. His term “systemic violence” refers to harmful acts made possible by social acceptance (endorsed by governing bodies or institutions) as opposed to an act of “subjective violence” which is done by an identifiable individual. The second influence, ‘Authors of the Estate’, is a self-published book of poems and prose. The authors grew up in St. Raphael’s Estate, situated in the top 5% of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK and a well-known reputation of high crime. Their mission was to alter the perspective of how they were seen, but more importantly to support the younger generation in realising they didn’t need to follow the path society laid out for them. They posted their book into every letter box on the estate for free, knowing that most people would leave it unread, but hoping that it would
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ower Plays focuses on medical doctors and bouncers as examples of authoritative figures who have regular contact with the public and can expose them to normalised confrontation. The power of a doctor is different from that of a bouncer, and it’s from their apparent differences that the comic book genre laterally connects to the study of their roles. The Superhero genre is used throughout the project to examine the social boundaries of Western culture’s relationship with violence and conflict, by exploiting the sociological traits manifested by the characters. The archetypes of superheroes and villains have often been used to communicate things that happen in the world and the stories and characters have been studied by academics to understand our society. Breaking down archetypes of doctors and bouncers opens up similar insights to superheroes about the values and fears of society. In the project, Batman and Superman are used as comparative superheroes to relate characteristics. The mission, costume and superpowers of each parallel the role, identity and power of the authorities. The links between them helped in understanding how and why they are portrayed as the archetypes we know and recognise. It is not in the question “who is a superhero?” that we find the most violent and confrontational aspects of our society, but in “who is not a superhero?”. It is the people who are missing from the superhero stories that divulge the limitations of our accepted social boundaries, which presents an opportunity for design to intervene. A group of creatives interpreted stories from a professional bouncer and doctor into their individual creative mediums. Through workshops and one to one sessions, the stories were turned into musical samples, sounds and tracks, pieces of fictionalised creative writing, comic strips, poetry, spoken word, dance choreographies, film, theatre and games. Some elements were put together to make an evening of collaborative immersive performance with both pre-composed material and improvised sections.
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serve as a reminder that they did not need to become what society expected them to be. Now, the estate is known as a place of creativity - their efforts has transformed how their neighbourhood is understood. Considering Žižek’s notions of conflict in the context of ‘Authors of the Estate’, it is easy to see the residents are vulnerable to being the victims of systemic violence. Žižek’s philosophy reveals that true agents of violence are not identifiable individuals, but larger invisible systems which cause a social divide. It prompts people to locate each other by using a compass that points to ‘good or evil’, a compass informed by past experiences and accepted social boundaries. Designing archetypes is something that has the power to translate aspects of society. It is important to understand the people we share a city (and a world) with, as more complex beings than heroes or villains. The duality of professional life shows how authority is built from materials that translate social archetypes, providing us with the opportunity to locate their power within a context. This can go awry if we base our judgements on assumptions of the professional’s location, e.g. which deems bouncers as villains rather than people who protect the public from violence. Taking this narrative, breaking it down, fictionalising it and re-working it into society through performance, is what Power Plays has aimed to do. The ideas for the project have been created through drawing, costume making, role play and workshops. Turning interviews and realisations into sketches helped to visualise the archetypes and their connotations. Morphing them into fictionalised comic strips revealed the stereotypes that are applied to people in the roles and the potential conflicts that are reinforced through them. Adapting the drawn characters into 3D costumes prompted new ideas of performance to be investigated, which meant identifying and tapping into creative networks. Workshops were run to share ideas and start collaborations between music, dance and poetry, which moulded into the performance. Meeting people was a really important part of transforming the abstract ideas into something the other creatives and staff could make their own. Sharing creative authority within the work became a critical part of concept.
There are currently two main outcomes. One, an evening of both pre-developed creative materials, alongside audience-generated improvisations. A mix of music, dance and spoken work took place in a bar in Peckham. Audience experiences of doctors and bouncers were collected anonymously on arrival, which generated the improvisations in the performance. The event was performed at the location of a bouncer’s work, with an audience consisting of the NHS and the public, whose stories helped form the events’ narrative. The night co-constructed and co-deconstructed identities based upon notions of stereotyping. The second involved working with the Arts Manager for Greenwich and Lewisham NHS Trust to develop creative interpretations of staff lives. A series of graphic narratives about Hospital life - as told by staff - created to present the daily life of the Hospital, from a humanist rather than clinical perspective. It hopes to provide support for workers to discuss and process their experiences and will be used to help inform methods of conflict resolution training for staff in socially challenging roles. It hopes to do this by giving new narratives and perspectives to situations and encourage the arts to be used as a tool for improving how experiences can be understood. It stands to promote multidisciplinary collaboration, not only in the arts but also with professions and people in the wider world.
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The Rorschach Chicken Jimmy Loizeau
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FILMPUNK What is a film once it has been made and appreciated briefly? ‘FILMPUNK’ is a system for re-appropriating scenes from existing films. It aims to both question the holding of film as private property which cannot be edited, spliced or re-used, and enable films to live a ‘second life’.
hrough splicing and collaging, FILMPUNK demonstrates algorithms used in film. The aim is to see whether a work of film can ever be entirely original. The laws around film as intellectual property are paradoxical. They stipulate that film is not allowed to be copied, broadcast or transmitted to other people, even when a copy is owned. In itself, this seems reasonable - but consider the permissions granted with the ownership of music. Ripping, mixing and burning are all permitted by law; otherwise, DJ-ing would be an illegal profession. So why is film treated differently? FILMPUNK has been inspired by a number of multimedia projects such as the exploration of extreme cinematic censorship in ‘Cinema Paradiso’, as well as the DIY culture of YouTube and similar platforms. Multimedia artist Christian Marclay began to push the project towards splicing. ‘The Clock’, a twenty-four-hour clock constructed from various clips in which a clock visibly tells the time is a perfect example of film being used as raw material, and recycled into another creation. Matthew Irvine Brown’s ‘Music for Shuffle’, a series of short pieces of music, composed to interlock in any order, influenced FILMPUNK's ‘film randomiser’; Using film clips, and shuffling them in iTunes. FILMPUNK involved sound and music from the beginning. Evident in its name, which refers to two definitions of ‘punk’: the cultural movement and music, and ‘to dupe or deceive’, the latter referring to the illusionary qualities of many of the splicing experiments.
The project began at the intersection between film and sound, moving into remaking existing film, and finally considering film as raw material. The aim going forward was to ‘mine’ new creations from existing film. A number of splicing and dissecting processes were developed, beginning with the ‘Film randomiser’. A manual of these processes is available, as well as examples of them in action on the online platform Vimeo. A significant development of FILMPUNK was PULPED, a spliced film which uses Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ as a base, and subverts the narrative through the use of films from varying genres for each scene. There have been a series of showings of PULPED, after which conversations with viewers helped to expose improvements and ideas for furthering the project, leading to a speculative exploration into possible futures involving FILMPUNK.
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HIBA How can we actively engage citizens in the design and production of their own environments?
The project explores participatory design within civic contexts, synthesising the aspirations of communities regarding the evolution of their own environments with the expertise of designers and relevant professionals. It attempts to draw a deeper understanding of the role of the designer in this context, speculating how design facilitates more collaborative decision-making within communities of differently involved qualified design participants.
hrough the processes of the project, citizens are encouraged to speculate upon what they would do if given the opportunity to be in charge of urban developments. The aim of this proposed participation is to inspire and harness the previously unheard ideas and aspirations of these individuals, whilst stimulating more thoughtful and engaged discussions about how our cities perform, take shape and whom they serve. The initial project research challenged existing municipal models of participation. The research identified the current planning application public notice as the primary interface between the planning system and the citizen. This ubiquitous paper interface is essentially the sole attempt to communicate how the physical environment is going to change. It is an attempt to connect with citizens regarding a fundamental local change but is executed very poorly.
The experimentation conducted during the project, within this context, questions whether we can do more in engaging the citizen in the design and evolution of the environments they inhabit and interact with daily. Through the questions raised, the project attempts to reframe our understanding of the current urban planning system, encouraging space for generative input and heightened involvement from actively engaged citizens. The project also intends to reframe our understanding of the citizen’s role in the production of their own urban environments. Of course questions of materiality, form and engineering are correctly left to the architects and engineers and their experience has to be respected. However when considering the purpose of civic spaces or systems, the question of what they do, who they serve, how they impact local communities has to be a part of the conversation with citizens.
Case study 01: The Borough of Deptford Memorial Boat Dodgems KJ Building Supplies, of Lewisham Way, were identified as local stallholders and invited on behalf of HIBA to participate in the project. They were asked the simple question, “Given the opportunity to be in charge of developing this site, what would you do?” They replied with a proposal for a playground for children inspired by local history. The initial ideas expressed by the building suppliers were synthesised with information obtained from the Lewisham Archives along with the aspirations of school children from The Charter School and as a result of this process the Borough of Deptford Memorial Boat Dodgems was created. Based upon the imagination and illustrations of all participants more detailed plans were created. The plans act as a collective representation of the individual aspirations of all actors involved, almost like monuments to their individual aspirations, representing how they believe their local environment could serve them. The drawings provided tangible material that allows new audiences to discuss the imagination of the existing participants, whilst obtaining abstract learning from the content. A town hall meeting was organised on behalf of HIBA where a larger group of local residents were invited to discuss how the Borough of Deptford Memorial Boat Dodgems would be adapted to inform the aspirations they have for their local environments. This resulted in creative adaptations of the existing proposals, even becoming at points detached from the initial aspirations of the participants.
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HIBA – The Hybrid Institute of Brockley Architecture HIBA was formed in order to bring together the explorations of the project, situating them in a way they can be digested and discussed. It acts as an alternative system, from within which participants are able to gain alternative viewpoints to re-evaluate and reconsider existing systems. The fictional institute paints the picture of what it might be like to be involved in distributed, inclusive and creative decision making systems whilst exploring where these systems and design practices may have relevance and meaningful influence. HIBA acts as a structure or armature that allows speculations or fictions to move into a new kind of reality, maintained within the environments they originated from. The institute celebrates its own incompleteness and malleability, absorbing the innovations and interesting developments that occur during the design process. The major project run by HIBA was located within a disused piece of civic land in Brockley. The space was identified to situate the aspirations and ideas of participants. The participants were asked to superimpose their ideas without any restraint, ignoring the current financial or physical realities of their aspirations. Without physically manipulating the space, HIBA explored how it could be used as a blank
canvas to harness and activate the imagination of participants regarding the evolution of their own environments. Visual material was constructed in connection with the site that acted as apparatus to initiate and facilitate more meaningful discussion, empowering the participant to delve deeper into ideas they might have for the space.
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Taking a step back to form an abstract assessment of what occurred in the meeting, new audiences can be seen coming together to address in depth the ecologies surrounding the imagination of a group of school children. Their imaginations were explored in detail looking at how they will interact within the local environment through gambling, commerce and services. This allowed new relationships to be established within existing communities and power was handed back to its occupants through employing them as visionaries and co-creators of their own environment. Case Study 02: The Brockley Fruit Garden The Brockley Society was invited on behalf of HIBA to participate in the project. Using their own knowledge and expertise they were able to construct a near complete proposal. The proposal represented members of the Brockley society’s aspiration for an idyllic public space that could be collectively maintained and enjoyed. The purpose of the space was informed by their unique skills. The proposal was put through a similar process at the town hall meeting and one of the members of Brockley Society was on hand to act as a steward to guide the other participants through the proposal they had initially created. A secondary meeting was organized to discuss the main themes extrapolated out of the material created at the town hall meeting, these themes being: education, workspace, communal living and family life. The ecologies that had been incorporated into the Brockley Fruit Garden during the town hall meeting were discussed and considered as to how they could be coherently implemented. Conversations here were created regarding the potential of shared multi-family childcare systems, hot-desking and outdoor education within the existing proposal. This is where the process began to progress beyond solely exploring strategic and participatory design to becoming a form of civic ‘R&D’ – expressing the city’s inner latent desires whilst exploring complex civic living patterns of the future. These topics along with material from the initial proposals were then passed onto professional designers from the Goldsmiths Design Department, who were instructed to form a coherent proposal that represented and incorporated these topics into the existing proposal. Elements from within these proposals created by the designers from the Goldsmiths Design Department were abstracted and materialized at a 1:1 scale by HIBA. These
materializations were later exhibited at the Goldsmiths BA Design degree show. This enabled a much wider audience to gain a 1:1 experience and interact with the imagination of the participants who had developed The Brockley Fruit Garden. The Designer’s Role The project does not produce a direct solution to the question outlined at the beginning of the text and nor does the success of the project rely on any of the proposals becoming physically realised. When reflecting upon the participatory processes involved within the project, we see clear evidence of the constructed conditions in which participants’ aspirations and desires have been encouraged and harnessed. We can also observe how the aspirations of the communities involved have been articulated and represented visually and materially, allowing dialogues to be established with new audiences regarding their desires for the evolution of their environments. Existing systems are challenged through the production of alternative systems that define the citizen as a meaningful co-creator. We witness the imagination of participants being transitioned from speculations generated from real life contexts to fictions that begin to resonate within new forms of reality. Within all these processes lies the embedded designer. Through the explorations of the project, new roles for the designer within this context begin to be established. Here we see evidence of the facilitator, with a significant set of skills and expertise to lend, within a flattened decision making environment, an environment in which they designed the conditions for this to be achieved. The artfulness of these carefully designed and constructed conditions, however, lies within the generative qualities of the structures of participation and the consequent creation of strategic outcomes that work towards systemic change.
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The Memory Hoarders Can objects of sentimental value be repurposed to create therapeutic moments of connection between a user and those they have lost? When we become separated from those close to us, it is often the strangest objects which become symbolic of them and help us to feel we are preserving a piece of who they were. This project illuminates these objects, giving them renewed life through repurposing them into functional tools of reflection and remembrance.
s a self-confessed borderline hoarder, Emily has always been fascinated with objects and the relationship between people and their things. It was through exploring the hierarchies within her own possessions that the project began, realising that one of her most valued possessions was a seven year old Polo mint with no monetary value to speak of, given to her by her grandmother shortly before her death. This began to raise questions, how do we form such strong connections with such strange things? How does death and separation affect the perceived value of objects and how do they come to represent those people we have lost and the qualities we wish to remember them by? Entangled with her own personal experience, Emily wanted to understand these processes and find a way to make them into therapeutic moments of connection and reflection. Mundane, everyday things so often provide our most tangible link to those whom we have lost. They act as a reassuring reminder that that person really existed and that a small slither of their life still remains preserved. Some people keep entire rooms untouched for years, as if the person who once inhabited it may stroll back in one day as if nothing had happened. The issue raised when ordinary things, especially those which will deteriorate over time,
gain this momentous value is what on earth to do with them. Should they be preserved or used or discarded? Over the course of her research, various people were interviewed who had kept strange reminders of the people they had lost: hair, cigarette ends, clothing, teabags, pasta makers, the list goes on and on. None of these people knew what to do with these things, unable to find any real use for them but equally unwilling to let them go. Many have never even discussed these squirrelled away objects with anyone. This project aims to address the stigma of keeping too much, of having â€˜clutterâ€™. Shaped by early involvement with hoarding treatment groups and investigations into the nature of memory and its entanglement with objects, the project aims to open up a narrative by using some of the stranger objects people have chosen to keep. Many works have previously explored the nature of our relationships with our things but the project was particularly influenced by the work of
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people such as author Orhan Pamuk who created the ‘Museum of Innocence’ exhibition, which followed the story of his book of the same name, by showing the personal effects of his characters, postcards, toothbrushes, even charting a romance through hundreds of cigarette butts. Equally, projects as simple as ‘Things&People’, a collection of photographs of people with their most valued possessions, confirms that there are hundreds of people out there with strange souvenirs of the past; that this is not just pointless clutter and these things really mean something to someone. The outcome of this is a growing series of objects, each of which are made from a different material, each representing a different person. An hourglass containing a ground-down Polo mint, given to Emily by her Nain (Welsh for Grandmother) before she died and kept untouched for several years, which inspired the whole process. A polishable teapot formed from Werther’s Originals, a reminder of the taste of one woman’s childhood visits to grandparents. A small ornamental bird made from ground-down Pink Panther Wafers. A packet of cigarettes, infused with the dregs of tobacco left in the last cigarettes ever smoked by a friend’s grandma and a dictaphone containing a mother’s voice. All of the objects are made either from original materials that the user has kept, which belonged to the person they wish to commemorate, or simply a material that reminds them of someone, such as a mint imperial. Each provides the user with a method of connection with those that they are separated from and a practical use for the things they have kept, each with the potential to create a moment within which to reflect. These objects can be used whenever and wherever a moment of remembrance or reflection is wanted or needed. Each object has a different context and potential place of use but it is entirely up to the individual user to appropriate it. A packet of cigarettes may be intended for a specific time and place and a teapot may be most at home on a mantelpiece but the intention is to allow each individual to use the objects as they wish. In addition to these objects a website has also been created, in the hope of providing a service to others who have kept such objects. It also creates a space within which such attachments can be discussed and used to open up a narrative about the person behind the object.
This service is available to anyone who wishes for a loved-one’s possessions they have kept to be turned into a more permanent and functional object, whilst also encouraging anyone currently going through a time of separation to keep anything they feel will help them with the grieving process, with the potential to repurpose it in the future, or ‘pre-emptive collecting’. The notion of ‘pre-emptive collecting’ includes items given by or taken from someone while they are still alive. As with the existing final objects, the website allows for an open conversation about the potential uses for each thing on a case by case basis. The user will be offered a number of potential outcomes, over which they can have full creative control within the confines of the material. The intended effect of this project is to find a way to preserve these peculiar objects in a way that provides the user with space to grieve and reflect on their loss in a healthy way, whilst also feeling more connected to those they have lost. Starting a dialogue about what people have kept and why is also an important aspect of the process. Removing the shame or discomfort of keeping and utilising these objects is an ongoing process as many potential users have never discussed the things they have kept with anyone.
Pamuk, O. and Freely, M. (2009). The museum of innocence. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. The Museum of Innocence. (2016). [online] Available at: http://en.masumiyetmuzesi.org/ [Accessed 27 May 2016]. Thingsandpeople.com. (2016). THINGS&PEOPLE. [online] Available at: http://www.thingsandpeople.com/ [Accessed 27 May 2016].
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“I Didn’t Do Anything Political Today” What does political domesticity look like? Situated in the four years between voting, this project is about the relationship between political issues and our everyday lives. It suggests alternative methods for expressing ourselves politically, in our domestic routines.
his is the routine of a habitual, domestic activist:
18:55 You’re in your living room. The News has just ended. There’s a five minute break. You go and make yourself a cup of tea. You pour salt into it. You pour vinegar into it. You spit in it. You think of someone you would give it to. You imagine them drinking it. You chuck it violently down the sink and imagine you’re throwing it in their face. You make another, fresh cup of tea. 19:00 You return to your seat. You enjoy your beverage as [insert programme name here] starts.
‘Political Domesticity’ Underpinning this project is the emotive nature of residency contrasted with political topics. Through speculative modelling and fictional ‘mash-up’ documents like protest TV timetables and political agenda recipes, it is possible to build the narrative of a domestic/ political routine. A process-led investigation, beginning with ‘Front Room Theatre’ (Fig 1). (Assignment: The resident is asked to perform out onto the street from their living room window for 2 minutes.). The house has since been reconsidered as a machine for protest, for example, the repurposing of the social kitchen island as debate space and window, as a ‘Speaker’s Corner’ campaign stage. (Fig 2). A domestic protest system, in use, devised and demonstrated via projection and film. (Assignment: To watch the news and say a comment out loud at least every minute. Try to censor what you say as little as possible.) Residential protest system: TV -> resident (interpreter) -> comment -> projected commentary -> window -> public.
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‘Domestic Realism’ “It’s been a long day, I just want to relax” is political activism in its own right. This project documents, ref lects on and experiments with, domestic/political discourse, whether broadcasting it, writing it down, wearing it, embroidering it, sticking it in your window, sharing it with your parent, colleague, neighbour… Descriptions of protest have included: “pointless”, “self-indulgent” and “inconsiderate to others”. For those who consider protest a failed instrument, what could be an alternative? “Spit in this cup of tea and tell me who you would give it to.” The pivotal moment of the process, this simple question is a method of activation within a domestic setting. Why spitting? Choose whatever material you wish. Spitting, however, stemmed from its demonisation as protest (Hartley-Brewer, 2015). This is about using the negative light of the act to directly investigate wider issues of acceptability and individual boundaries, instead of the judgement overshadowing the reason for protesting. Why a tea? Choose whatever beverage/ food you wish. A ritual engrained in the domestic scene, the act of drinking tea is easy, accessible, frequent and therefore vulnerable to political infiltration.
“Never let anyone interview you in your own home.” The domestic is an extremely relevant context for investigation, because of the openness felt when in the comfort of your own home. “People don’t go to these things because they have to go work. They’re not gonna risk getting fired from their jobs to go to a protest.” ‘Balconism’ states you can do anything in your home; ‘U will not get arrested’ (PAPERS, 2014). The project capitalises on this: “I’ve never been to a protest march and i’m 54.”, “If you could go to a protest from your home, would you do it?”, “In Earl Shilton? Probably, yeah.”
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Archive and Publication: Outcomes This project’s first outcome is a collection of interviews, achieved through public workshops and the domestic interview of individual residents. Through collected opinions, they try to build a sense of the perception of protest and what it means to be politically active. Questions asked include: ‘What is your opinion of spitting as an act of protest?’, ‘How do you express your opinion if you disagree with something politically?’ and ‘Could you ever imagine doing something like spitting in this cup of tea in the name of a cause, in the privacy of your own home, as an act of self-activation, to feel self-empowered?’ (video demonstration optional). “I don’t get that - spitting in that cup - supposed to make me feel better? What’s it achieving?” The second outcome is a publication for the habitual, domestic activist and looks at how political expression can infiltrate the domestic routine. “What can I do from this little house?” It suggests small, symbolic acts of private self-expression that can happen within the home. Although appearing nonsensical, they have a political, protest cause. Example 1: I crack this egg and throw its contents onto my bed. I do so in protest against David Cameron. This act has done nothing against David Cameron. It has, however, activated the ‘protester’. Belle Bethe Cooper ‘started by reading just one page of a book every night before bed’ (Cooper, 2016), adding up to 33 books read by 2015. The publication works under a similar premise; that of ‘slow-release activism’. One small protest a day - spit, in the name of a cause, whilst brushing your teeth every night - and eventually you’ll be comfortable with calling yourself an activist. Example 2: Resident’s domestic protest, filmed on phone (Fig 3.). Residential protest system: newspaper -> bin. The everyday protest is intended for the voter, who doesn’t see the point in protest because we have the right to vote: “If you don’t get who you want [in the election], you put up with it, that’s part of a democracy.”
But also the non-voter, who believes nothing will make a difference so what’s the point?: “I’m not really interested in Politics, I don’t know much about it.” This project defines ‘political’ as anything and everything. You can protest in any way, against any issue. “I guess I protest by not buying certain things, that’s a protest too isn’t it? I am empowered in the choices I make as a consumer.” It is also a reflection, an investigation, but not a criticism; run by someone who has said statements like, “I don’t want to talk about the project anymore, I’m too tired, plus I don’t have a camera to film you.” The Domestic, Political Routine: A Conclusion At the end of the day, all of these actions fall flat. You make a protest tea, and then make another you can drink. But that is why the residential setting is such an emotive one. It is unavoidable. The feminist might still find themselves in the kitchen, the revolutionary brushes his teeth and the Queen ‘goes to the loo’ (Jackson, 2003). Your political activity is not just what happens when you’re consciously activated, it’s also what happens in the subconscious meantime. archive: ididntdoanythingpoliticaltoday.tumblr.com/ (All text in double quotation marks taken from project discussions or archive.)
“I Didn’t Do Anything Political Today”
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Animated Politics Can a public speech be ‘Disneyized’? This project aims to investigate Disneyization as a process to simplify modern politics into a more consumable product, providing politically alienated people the opportunity to explore politics and create their own political scripts.
isneyization is a method generally applied to Disney’s own f ilm production and its theme parks. It simplifies and sanitises an idea into a more understandable and consumable product. Now Disneyization has expanded to business and politics, to create something the designer refers to as “idealised propaganda”, which constructs a character based on the preferences of its target audience. Its public image does not necessarily
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match with its true intention and it works well for politicians. A good example can be found in the United States presidential election of 2016. The presentation of the election is more performative and entertaining than ever before, including the Republican candidate Donald Trump, whose public image is the most animated of any of the other candidates in the election. Many Disneyizational methodologies can be found in his speech. This project intends to help people to better understand this social and political phenomenon. ‘Real Snow White’ is a project by Pivil Takala, 2009 that aims to question and reveal the mechanism used by Disney, to maintain the illusion of joviality in its theme parks. Takala dressed up as Snow White, hijacking one of the Disney characters in order to enter the institution as an outsider and test the effect. What was revealed was that the Disneyland mechanism is designed to prevent disguise. Disney’s slogan is “Dreams Come True”, but any slight appearance of ‘out of control’ behaviour could turn that dream into a dark and perverse one. The book ‘Disneyization of Society’ by Alan Bryman argues that the contemporary world is increasingly converging towards the characteristics of the Disney theme parks. This process of convergence is revealed in many sites of consumerism. The idea of performative labour is embodied in the increased prominence of work that require employees to display certain emotions and convey impressions as if they were working in a theatrical event. Onkar Kular’s project ‘Elvis Was Here’ focused on the process of remaking a character. Workshops were hosted at primary schools throughout the UK, aiming to train children to a level that could qualify them as official Elvis impersonators. In doing so it addressed and investigated questions concerning the legal definition of impersonation, legacy, identity, and authenticity in an alternative context. The children were provided a chance to dress up as Elvis but remain in their own character, thereby turning ‘Elvis’ into a tool for people to communicate.
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This project started from investigations in Disneyland Paris. Insight was gained into how they use these themes and characters to maintain an illusion of what they believe to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. A Mickey Mouse costume was then made out of cardboard and gaffer tape. It shares the most iconic similarities of Disney’s Mickey Mouse, the ears and mannerisms, but through changes in the smaller details and it’s lack of sophistication, it remained a separate entity to Disney’s own Mickey Mouse. The similarities were used to create a point to navigate and disrupt the system that Disney enforces and abides by in its theme parks. This version of Disneyization and Mickey Mouse had the aim to interact with, and potentially expand the pre-existing narratives of Disney’s own, classified version of Disneyization, and to break their illusion within a short amount of time. The costume was worn on a visit to the Alice In Wonderland maze, to test how the introduction of an irrelevant character decreases the illusion, and the maze acted as protection from the surveillance of security. Inspired by Takala, the public image of Disney’s production was questioned, as ‘Mickey’ met with different identities, challenging him into forbidden body movements and to answer forbidden questions. After the investigations in Disneyland, the focus moved into other subjects outside of entertainment, to find how this could affect more serious matters. The 2016 United States presidential election is one of the most important events taking part this year, yet appears to be more performative than ever before, with Donald Trump’s speeches becoming a focal point of the election. Like the capitalist salesman Mickey mouse, Trump designed his speeches based on the preferences of the repressed, native working class. From building a wall at the US/Mexican border, to banning Muslims from entering the states, he has spread hatred through the media in his quest for political victory. In order to analyse Trump’s identity as a Disney character, the character’s public image is categorised into visual signifiers; hair style, language, mannerism, accent and dress. Making and adopting these signifiers can reproduce this character, with the addition of two Voice
Coaches, a Barber and Politics students, for professional training. ‘Animated Politics’ is a workshop that provides people who are politically alienated and offended by certain politicians a chance to explore politics and recreate their own political speech. There are five sections to the workshop; contextual assembly, manufacturing of the identical object, rewriting of Trump’s script & disneyization of the input, the kinesics and the final performance. Operating the workshop requires a lecture room, a screen and a professional voice coach to direct performance. By completing each session respectively, the participants in the workshop will gain a comprehension of how an idealised propaganda is constructed. They will also learn how to speak and act in a Disneyized way. This workshop exists to raise social awareness in a very politically charged time.
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Napoleonâ€™s Book of Fate Dash Macdonald
hen skimming through ‘The Complete Book of Fortune’ (1936) that I came across amongst boxes of old books at a jumble sale recently, I was charmed to learn of ‘Napoleon’s Book of Fate’, in which it is described as follows: “This Oraculum, discovered in one of the royal tombs of Egypt during the French military expedition of 1801, had been translated, at the order of the emperor into the German language by a celebrated German scholar and antiquarian. From that time forth it remained one of the most treasured possessions of Napoleon. He never failed to consult it upon every important occasion, and it is said that it formed a stimulus to his most speculative and most successful enterprises.” To explore the design of this esoteric system for providing political foresight, that starkly contrasts the feedback loops and big data analysis of political forecasting today. I will now consult the Oraculum on the outcome of the upcoming referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.
As instructed, with a pencil I start making four lines of marks; | | | | | | | | | | | |, being sure to exceed nine marks in each line but moving quickly so as not to keep count. Next I tally the number of marks in each line; if the number of marks after the first nine is odd, I mark one star * and if even two stars * *. To obtain the answer I now refer to the table called the Oraculum. As someone who backs the “Britain Stronger in Europe” campaign, I choose question number 1; shall I obtain my wish? Then I scan along the column of stars to find the matching constellation, which gives me the letter I. I turn to the page with the same letter at the top and find the symbol corresponding with mine. I now have the answer to my question.
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Project Pledge How can using different forms of technology change the way in which young citizens volunteer?
This projects explores new approaches using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, social media and crowd-funding, to change the way in which young citizens look at volunteering. Using gamification as a tool, it can create a structured system for individuals, where their voluntary actions can be logged. The aim is to create a new way to inspire a young generation, as well as providing a platform to learn and develop new skills for their future.
ur nation ranks in the top 10 for the most giving countries. (Charities Aid Foundation, World Giving Index, 2015, p11). Although charities have had a tough year due to bad publicity, these statistics give hope as the nation still keeps on giving. Using this as a starting point, this led to the exploration into current problems, solutions and innovations in regards to charitable fundraising, thus questioning, what makes a good citizen? Through further investigation the decision was made to explore one main area: volunteering. When investigating who this project could be for, the decision was made to look at the young citizens of the UK. Today’s youth has spent years chasing qualifications. They are told that education is the ticket to employment, though experience is just as important to employers, as
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it can help show commitment, skills, team work and other qualities. There are schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award which can make skills shine in an individual, but is that enough? The overall focus has been to design a system that could help young people with future employability. This led to the idea of designing a service which makes the whole process easier and more appealing to the users. Crowd-funding was a large inspiration, looking at current online platforms such as ‘Kickstarter’ and ‘Goteo’. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects, giving people the opportunity to back imaginative schemes. The creator of a project has the chance to share their work to a wide online audience, and also have complete control over their work. From this, the concept of pledge based volunteering started to develop. Spanish crowd funding collaboration Goteo, is similar to Kickstarter. The organisation helps expedite crowd funding projects, but the main criteria for the supported projects is that they should contribute to the common good. Goteo particularly inspired ‘Project Pledge’, particularly their focus to change and improve communities economically, politically, and even environmentally. The Chinese Government intends to use a social credit system, which monitors citizens’ finances and also their political views. ‘Sesame Credit’ is a system that rates trustworthiness through a point system, by pulling data from online purchases and social media accounts. By applying the concept of gamification to the new system, the process of volunteering becomes more competitive and easily traceable. It is apparent that the Sesame Credit is a dystopian concept, therefore when applying this idea of gamification, it is important to ensure that it remains ethical whilst being inspirational and enjoyable. RFID is a technology that is being used more frequently, the small electronic device consists of a small chip and an antenna, with an appearance similar to a barcode or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card. By creating a link between social media profiles and an RFID device, a brand can be promoted to the wider digital world. The aim was to create an interaction and engagement with the system and its users. The device enables its users to check in
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automatically and create status updates. It could also be used to track the number of hours that the user has volunteered. To get a better understanding of RFID technology and how it works, a prototype was built. Connecting the user to WIFI and a laptop via a USB cable, it was ready to test. A test status was used, inputting the time used and a personal message. At first, this was successful through Facebook, however after 15 taps it was stopped, as Facebook thought the account was sending spam statuses. The prototype continued to work through further tests including Twitter. The next step was to create a brand identity. Starting with the name and logo, designs were drawn up until Project Pledge was decided on. By creating an online presence, it becomes easier to market an organisation. Continuing with the colours from the new logo, a website also started to develop. It was also important to consider an easy, simple way of explaining how Project Pledge worked and an infographic animation proved most appropriate, which can be seen on the ‘how it works’ page located on the website. When looking into what the RFID chip should be placed into, many elements were considered, such as the material, how it would look visually and whether it was something to wear or carry in your bag. It was decided that it would be best to wear on the wrist, so the chip was implanted in a bracelet. This started at first as a watch strap, with the face 3D printed and strap cut from leather, but upon reflection it was clear that it would be more appropriate for the branding, to be made from silicon. The silicon makes the bracelet waterproof, easy to clean, and comfortable to be worn throughout the day. Project Pledge is a non-profit organisation, built around imagination and innovation within volunteering projects. It gives people the opportunity to give back, or create local, national or international community projects. Users can create any type of project, a unique attribute to Project Pledge. There are typical categories such as green cleaning and community work and more distinctive categories to Project Pledge such as teaching, volunteering at festivals and protesting. For example, a user can join, to meet at a rally in London or fight for something they believe should change in their local community. The aim is to help a young generation, giving them the opportunity to discover projects, in order to develop and support their skills for the future.
By signing up online and connecting social media accounts to the bracelet, the individual has access to explore multiple projects. The hours participated are calculated from each project and added to an overall total of hours dedicated to volunteering in projects through ‘Project Pledge’. These hours are then visible on an online account and can be viewed by employers through the Project Pledge web link provided on their CV. When a participant arrives at the location of a project, they tap in by placing the wristband on a reader provided by the project creator. This will automatically check them in online with a personalised status and location and time of check in: the volunteering will then begin.
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Shifting Parliamentary Motion Should architecture play a bigger role in parliamentary procedures?
A ‘pop-up’ House of Commons chamber is being considered to replace the current one while maintenance work takes place in the Palace of Westminster. This project aims to challenge the design of the temporary structure by allowing the infrastructure to influence parliamentary procedures.
he oldest parts of the Palace of Westminster date back to the eleventh century. Over time, the building underwent destruction and reconstruction due to fire and war, making the current building a mixture of old and new. Conservation work has been carried out since the latest reconstruction of the palace in 1840 but a study commissioned in 2012 indicated that, unless significant restoration work was undertaken, major irreversible damage may be done to the building. One of the proposals presented the possibility of transferring the Commons’ chamber sessions into a ‘pop-up’ House of Commons outside the palace, during the six years that maintenance work takes place. This proposal opened up a discussion about the design of such buildings; should the traditional layout be kept or changed? However, the focus should not only be on the design of the space; possible changes should be accompanied by changes in parliamentary procedures as many have agreed that they are in need of a change. This project focuses on the design of the popup chamber, paying special attention to the architecture and elements within the space and
how these can influence or dictate the changes in parliamentary procedures. Shifting parliamentary motion proposes a 6 year plan where, after specific time intervals (every month, parliamentary term, year, etc), a new structure should be built that challenges the way the British parliament works. This results in 6 years of experimenting with politics and a source of tested ideas that can be used to change or modernise the permanent parliamentary procedures. To achieve this, historical and current examples of architectural and infrastructural conditioning, and nudge theory were explored. For example, architecture has been used by Hitler, to intimidate and induce fear, and by Daniel Libeskind in the design of Berlin’s Jewish museum to allow visitors to experience some of the feelings that the Jewish community went through in the 20th century. Infrastructure in
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Pop-up House of Commons
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our cities can be used to control citizens without the need of signs, from spikes on the floor to prevent homeless people from lying down, to the use of big concrete plant pots at the entrance of important buildings to protect it from potential motorised terrorist attacks. The nudge theory consists of elements in our environment that act as hidden incentives. For example, in several American school canteens, the healthy food was situated such that it was easier to access than unhealthy food. Another example of nudge theory can be seen in the Crossrail Bridge in Canary Wharf where the lighting on the ceiling projects a straight line that divides the space into two lanes and successfully organises the flow of people going through. The elements from the current House of Commons that were chosen to change in this project have been influenced mostly by the comments of several MPs presented in the BBC documentary ‘Inside the Commons’. The way in which these have changed has been determined by the infrastructure of the space and vice versa. Crossrail bridge
Pop-up House of Commons proposed layout
Layout “When people say to me ‘rebuild it and have a semicircular chamber’, I would hate it.” - David Cameron, Conservative. The design of the current House of Commons sets the winning party in opposition to the others. This design encourages confrontation. Regardless of what party each politician belongs to, they say they are working for the good of the country. When it comes to passing a law, the vote for each Member of Parliament has the same values and, even though there is a winning party, there are still a great number of people who are being represented by MPs from other parties. Therefore, why encourage confrontation when there should be an environment of collaboration? The layout proposed for the first term is one of concentric circles which is supposed to promote inclusion without making a clear distinction between government and opposition; everyone is working towards the same main goal.
Good proposals or arguments can be dismissed by the fact that they are coming from the opposition. The idea of the voice debate is to keep members anonymous through the isolating structures while debating and voting for a motion. This way individuals are able to judge an argument by the ideas rather than by who is voicing them. At the same time, the way speeches are prepared is influenced by the fact that anonymity needs to be kept. As such, MPs are not allowed to make any references that will reveal their identity or the party that they represent. With these changes, there is a possibility of reducing the number of unnecessary accusations that can be heard across the House.
All quotes taken from BBC Documentary ‘Inside the Commons’ (2015)
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Currently, to cast a vote, MPs need to walk down the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ lobbies. At the entrance of such lobbies, party whips are on the lookout for those members who may have not voted according to the party guidelines. This encourages MPs to vote according to what the party whip mandates rather than what their constituents request. For this reason, this project proposes to locate the public in front of the entrance and exit of the lobbies. This way, MPs will not only have the pressure from being watched by their whips but also from constituents that may have attended the debate. These are only three examples of a wide range of proposals that have been collated in a book aimed to be presented to the Restoration and Renewal committee who is in charge of the Palace of Westminster reform. This book contains one full proposal for the first term of the 6 years of experimentation. The other proposals should only be designed after the previous one has been studied in order to learn from previous experiments. This project also hopes to inspire others to scrutinise their government’s procedures and come up with experimental ways to make the system more fair, transparent, and democratic.
Shifting Parliamentary Motion
Private/Voice Debate “I would have loved the Minister to say ‘yes, we’ ll adopt them, we’ ll put them straight into the bill’ but that was never going to happen because I am on the opposition.” - Sarah Champion, Labour.
Division “When there is a division […] most MPs have no idea what is being debated in the House […] and they turn up and the whip tells them which lobby to go for.” - Peter Bone, Conservative.
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God is Dead, Long Live God Can you use design to have a religious experience?
The God is Dead, Long Live God project aims to remove the Religious Experience event from within the context of the religious establishment and in doing so dissect what it really is and how it can be reproduced without the need for faith.
“I have always been scared of ghosts. Not because I believe that the deceased live on as ethereal apparitions but that there is a perfectly good chance that one day I will see a ghost despite my disbelief, due to a freak phenomena or a glitch in the complicated circuitry of my brain. In my experiencing this I will be forced to consider the fragility of my perception of reality and forever fear a repetition of whatever irregularity caused the haunting. In the same way, I have always been jealous of those people who have been in contact with The Divine. Not because I believe in God, but because due to some chemical reaction in the brain, certain people are able to experience something which they would label The Divine.”
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hat contact with divinity is called a religious experience and, by its very nomenclature, is something inherently situated within the institutional dogma of religion. The God is Dead, Long Live God project is essentially a sort of metaphysical Grand Designs, applying a process of active investigation and responsive material design to lay bare the mechanics that constitute the religious experience event, removing it from its native culture and opening it up for examination and re-appropriation. This is design as investigatory journalism; forensic design, applied to metaphysical architecture. This project is documentary in its structure, a journey taken on by the designer, but it is in no way sold as experience design. But neither are the objects produced something to be bought for entertainment or novelty. The user is one who partakes in the conversation, and is interested to do so, about the questions that this project raises; facilitating a space for informed opinion and discussion. But it is also documentary, which has become our primary form of citizen education, and so it is educational; in the way Question Time, and not a preacher, might be. And now a short story. In the Bible, there is a man called Paul. You’ve likely heard of his letters to the Corinthians, but before that he was Saul. The story goes that he travelled 130 miles from Jerusalem to Damascus and, upon arriving at the
gates, saw the light of God, was thrown from his horse and had a religious experience. This event changed him from one of the most pertinent persecutors of Christianity at the time, to one of its greatest advocates. This is the power and impact of the religious experience event. The God is Dead, Long Live God project is currently working on building a system for recreating the events of such an experience in order to understand what took place, empirically, and how that can be repeated in a controlled system. When the designer says forensic design, this is what they mean; picture this as a grandiose version of that scene from The Martian, where they rebuild Matt Damon’s proto-communication-device; understanding through recreating. That controlled system is a combination of technology and contextual activity, designed to put the user in a mind state that allows them to experience a physiological sensation similar to what Saul would have felt at the end of his journey to Damascus. The technology uses such techniques as the ganzfeld method of sensory deprivation and transcranial direct current stimulation to essentially prime the user for a religious experience, putting them into something similar to a hypnogogic state, using a headset made from red light and magnetic fields. These technologies, when combined, achieved peculiar effects.
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The following is taken from the designer’s notes:
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But that on its own is not enough; we can cock the gun but there is no trigger. That provocation comes in the form of an extended piece of legitimacy theatre, which is the use of fiction to invest someone in a certain idea by having them behave as though the idea is true. By acting as though one was to have a religious
God is Dead, Long Live God
“Almost immediately after turning on the magnets and the red light and putting on the goggles, someone or something was beside me. No, not just beside me but rather moving behind me, as though trying to get a look at both sides of my face; leaning in near my shoulder with intent to whisper in my ear. Shadows moved on the edges of my vision and I could feel it moving, watching. And then the shadows moved inward, the thing waving some appendage in front of my face, between me and the red light – testing whether I would respond or perhaps looking for a response; a child trying to get the attention of a parent lost in thought. Then the sense of some very large pitch black thing moving just beyond this small boiler room that I’ve set my equipment up in. And it was gone.” “If there was one moment when I had a religious experience, one moment where I felt I had come in contact with The Divine, it would be this moment. That leaning figure, the something incomprehensibly huge outside my makeshift lab; this is the closest I have come to facing God.”
experience, then it might be possible to have one; a seemingly redundant concept but which can have remarkable effects. This theatre breaks down and rebuilds the mechanics in play during Saul/ Paul’s journey to Damascus in order to enable the participant to identify as Saul, the man about to have a religious experience. What was for him a 130 mile horse ride becomes a cycle of a similar distance, and what was being thrown from his horse due to the light of God, becomes being thrown from a 1.5 meter tall structure. The cycle looks to exhaust the subject to a similar degree as Saul would have been after a journey that has been described by people in the know as ‘insane’. By doing this it helps to mitigate the ‘self tickle syndrome’ that hampers the technological side of the system, as well as the effects that exhaustion has in relation to the religious experience event; essentially, in your exhaustion you are more Saul and less yourself. The fall from the horse is the real trigger, combined with the technology of the headset, so long as you have told yourself that this is the case. Now this didn’t work, as such. The designer didn’t have a religious experience when they fell from the horse; They have not seen the divine. But neither is this project finished. This is the tragic step one; this is WD-01, thirty nine attempts away from the legendary WD-40. And even when God is Dead, Long Live God is finished, and the designer has had a religious experience, it still will not be finished, because this is just one use of this process. This is metaphysical architecture, but the investigations are not finished.
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Building the Cinematic Should cinema be architecturally dependent? There is a problem with cinema; it is shamelessly anthropocentric (centred around human affairs). By translating buildings and spaces into cinematic moments, this project asks how architecture can, both conceptually and materially, become an intrinsic factor in the production of cinema. Simultaneously, it suggests how filmmaking can provide alternate representations of architecture.
‘‘ During a heavy rainstorm — one of the many overobvious horror clichés despite the fact that there are neither thunder or lightning, only near-silence, rain, headlights, and windshield wipers — Marion is attracted by a neon sign showing ‘Bates Motel — Vacancy.’ The motel office is deserted, so she walks around the corner where she finds an old, grey, Victorian house at the top of a rise.” ¹
he intersection of architecture and film provides important opportunities; a space can be reprogrammed with a new narrative, but also as a cultural totem - a point through which to materially engage with cinematic narratives. Upon analysis of existing cinematic work, it becomes clear very quickly that there is a strong emphasis on anthropocentric events. Architecture exists in the background. Even Children of Men (2006), which does some interesting things with architectural splicing, remains anthropocentric. Why is architecture demoted to being the diegetic backdrop or container and simply looked at?
There are a few exceptions however; from the effects of Inception (2010) to the use of the steadicam in The Shining (1980), architecture has been given outlets to ‘perform’. Alfred Hitchcock used architecture in very interesting ways; one of his more interesting applications of architecture is found in Psycho (1960). As Stephen Jacobs describes, Norman Bates’ frail mental state is “a direct result of ‘his inability to locate himself between the anonymous modernist box of the motel and his mother’s Gothic house.’ ”² Hitchcock allowed architecture to have contextual importance and directly influence cinematic
helped to enhance it in two important ways. First, architects tend to work in models and drawings. These are static mediums. Filming architecture exposes it to the temporal dimension, liberating it. Secondly these regulations are not limitations on the project, but a framework in which the project functions. The city is deconstructed and becomes a filming mechanism to navigate in a similar fashion to Russolo’s The Art of Noise manifesto. Building the Cinematic has three aims: to challenge the current presence of architecture on and behind the camera, to highlight the potential
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narratives. This began a journey to make architecture an intrinsic component of cinematic production; architectural input defines cinematic output. In the pursuit of ‘architecturally dependent cinema’ in the city of London, the project was halted by a list of filming regulations dictating how and how not to film. Upon further enquiry into these regulations, it became evident that they were just as anthropocentric as the current cinematic landscape, with buildings expected to be used as “unaltered background only.”³ Involving an architect in the project
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of architecturally driven films, and to incorporate the city and its architecture into each element of production. It does this through three outputs: a collection of rigs, a series of protocols and films. Starting with the first one; to capture his film The Boss of It All (2008), Lars Von Trier invented a process called ‘Automavision�. A computer algorithm determines when to zoom, pan, and tilt the camera - no cinematographer required. If a large proportion of directorship can be forfeited to a machine, can the same be done with architecture? Beginning with some crude prototyping, a door became a moment wherein the notion of architectural input directing cinematic output was explored. The output video clip formed a lovely moment. It not only captured a point of human-architectural interaction in a cinematically engaging way, but the camera and the door work in tandem to transition between the room, to the corridor, and back to the room - displaying how the simplest of architectural actions could direct a narrative. Shortly afterwards, objects were produced which could facilitate door shots, stabilised stationary shots and a variety of tracking shots, each being architecturally dependent. These objects are bolted together with supplies from hardware stores. They are not beautiful objects. What is important is that these rigs depended as much on the architecture as possible. They are not tripods; tripods are not architecturally dependent, they are imposing and require a filming application. Through the production of these objects, the project has an outlet to materially navigate London’s filming regulations. Alongside the creation of these rigs, a series of protocols developed which contextualised these objects, offering an understanding of how to work with architecture as a filming resource, both materially and conceptually. These acted as snapshots of the project at various stages and exist to outline the intentions of the project and communicate these to a wider audience. The most important function of the protocols, however, was reflection. The early versions were purely personal objects; an iteration process to actively test the protocols. Through investigation of what worked, what didn’t and what was interesting, these protocols become a materialisation of the reflective framework of the project — which can
then be used to isolate what is currently missing and address it appropriately. Lastly the films, the translation of the protocols into cinematic output. These materially demonstrate two things. First, how architecture can direct engaging narratives without the interference of anthropocentric elements. Second, how filming with architecture is a collaborative process; architecture (whether onscreen or offscreen) must be depended on to provide the framing, audio and narrative components of a film. This collaboration can yield a wide variety of results; from creating a futurist narrative with reflective surfaces to brutalism directing a thriller genre of film. One of the project’s biggest resolutions came from using the aforementioned filming regulations to craft a politically motivated film; the project material managed to use the cities own resources to challenge the system that had been so much of a burden early in the project.
Alfred Hitchcock. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. p. 121. ² Ibid. p. 134. ³ Excerpt from correspondence with London Borough Film Services (2016). ⁴ Excerpt from correspondence with David Pimm (2016).
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¹ Jacobs, S. (2007) The Wrong House: The Architecture of
Building the Cinematic
These three elements come together to form a system of architecturally dependent cinema. Intended for architects, filmmakers, cinematographers, and artists, this system aims to challenge the current idea of what cinema is and how it is produced whilst encouraging them to produce films which offer interesting representations of buildings and spaces. It is also a system that exists to be expanded by these multiple voices; what would version 20 of the manifesto look and sound like? Feeding the project back to those who informed its development further justified the hypothesis of the project; one cinematographer commented that his work is driven mainly by “story and character” and that architecture is “very rarely what drives photographic decisions”.⁴ Building the Cinematic exists to validate why it should be.
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Shaping Moments How do we establish meaningful connections with loved ones who have been diagnosed with dementia?
‘Shaping Moments’ offers an enjoyable way of engaging with loved ones diagnosed with dementia. The kit provides an avenue for conversing with them through the creation of sounds from any domestic setting. The sounds generated will transport conversations into exciting, imaginative worlds that create a meaningful connection between individuals in the moment.
n the fall of 2013, Evanne’s grandmother was hospitalised for low salt levels in her body. During this time of observation, the doctors recognised a distinct symptom of memory loss. She struggled with recollecting present moments yet spoke of past events with fluidity and detail, as if they had occurred the day before. During subsequent visits back home, there were drastic changes in her behaviour and interests; she did not do the things she loved and struggled to follow through a conversation. There was a sudden disconnection between them. Like Evanne’s grandmother, many of those experiencing dementia face various difficulties in connecting with others; problems with their memory causes a reduced awareness of time and place. Living in their own world, it becomes increasingly difficult to engage with others. As a result, a disconnection occurs between them and their loved ones. There is little medicine can do to alleviate the condition, much less encourage an engagement with others. In efforts to connect with dementia patients, care homes have turned to using theatre methods. We can see this in documentaries like ‘Extreme
Through analysing the correlation between light, sound and narrative in various theatre productions, it became clear how balancing familiarity with these elements contributes to the effectiveness of engaging audiences. Familiarity allows viewers to relate to elements within the fictional world, drawing out an emotional response from them, while the unfamiliar elements create intrigue that captivate viewers. The balance between familiarity and unfamiliarity heightens the curiosity and engagement with audiences. That being said, elements within the kit would require the ability to craft fictions that differ with every use; so as to be able to constantly intrigue and engage with the users. After explorations and experimentation with a variety of theatre techniques such as lighting filters and stencils, narrative models and storytelling cards, two narrative models and foley sound art formed the basis of the project’s theatre techniques. One of the narrative models adopted was the structure of beat sheets. They are narrative charts commonly used by writers to plan plots in reality television. Beat sheets break down the story-line into three acts; within each, there are smaller and manageable sections with a specific goal of progressing the story. The second model adopted was that of improvisation theatre, which encourages free flow narrative where each new reality is accepted and expanded based on interactions between individuals. However, with such flexibility, prior training is essential to maintain the flow of the improvisation. With beat sheets forming the structural approach to creating narratives and improvisation theatre allowing the focus to be on interactions between users, these two narrative models come together to create a new narrative structure (after a rigorous iteration and experimentation process). The opening introduces the environment through sounds created by the user; the subsequent events are prompted by these sounds, establishing a change in the previous environment. This encourages a response from the user, defining what happens next. Consequently, the ending is left open for users to determine,
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Love’, where staff in care homes are encouraged to go along with the fictions of residents. Books like ‘Reminiscence Theatre’ encourage improvisation workshops to increase interactions through re-enacting past memories. Productions like ‘Greenhive Green’ use life-sized sets to immerse residents in fictional times and places. What is it about theatre that has the ability to spark these engagements? During interviews with theatre audiences, many associated scenes that included a turningpoint in the narrative with high intensity sounds or lights. The collective use of elements of light, sound and narrative creates an immersive experience that has the ability to transport people into different times and places, creating emotional responses from its audience. There is no doubt that theatrical elements can enhance and aid the engagement of people. While there are many services run by organisations at care homes, there are few systems that encourage interactions in settings, where the absence of a trained professional does not hinder the engagement with the elderly. Set in a domestic context with the help of theatre techniques, Shaping Moments aims to transport conversations into imaginative worlds, where a meaningful connection between people diagnosed with dementia and their loved ones can be formed. While theatre involves quick changes within a short time span, the equipment and skills that support the fluidity of theatre productions often have to be specific and well rehearsed. A single production may involve many skilled professionals, with equipment and sets that are often large in scale. These skills and equipment are things that domestic environments lack. The project was envisioned in the form of a kit requiring minimal set up, in order to seize opportunities for engagement in a variety of contexts. Thus it becomes crucial to begin by understanding various techniques used, and exploring how some could be scaled down for use within households or in care homes.
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equipment and appliances commonly available in a domestic environment. Alternative suggestions for different sound effects are also provided within this guide, encouraging users to create and improvise sounds with the tools available. The starter audio narrative gives users a starting point for using the toolkit and inspiration to begin creating their own narratives. Lastly, the audio recorder provides the possibility of creating audio loops with environmental sounds created, while caregivers and their loved ones embark on this experience together. Shaping Moments provides a safe and common ground for the caregiver and people diagnosed with dementia in order to create imaginative worlds that will engage and connect individuals in the moment.
depending on their reaction to the new situation. Prompts are provided in the form of an audio guide to stimulate a conversational flow. Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects that are layered over films; this is done through the use of different tools; from everyday objects to specific instruments created to replicate certain sound effects. Thus foley encourages an increased immersion in the narrative. Through working with a foley artist, a set of formulas for creating environmental and action sounds have been derived. Shaping Moments therefore offers an enjoyable way of engaging with loved ones who are experiencing problems with their memory. Whether in care or at home, the toolkit provides an easy and immersive way of engaging with them through the creation of sounds from any domestic setting. These sounds, in turn transport conversations into exciting, imaginative worlds that can spark memories and fictional stories. The kit contains an instructional booklet, a starting audio narrative and an audio recorder. The instruction booklet provides easy-to-follow instructions to create various sound effects, using
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High Tides and Low Rates How can design be used to make economics accessible?
High Tides and Low Rates is a set of educational resources designed to facilitate a wider understanding and critique of contemporary political-economic problems. Using a mixture of historical case-studies, props, musical performance, and live workshop activities, students gain insight into pivotal concerns around inequality, ownership and power.
he greatest taboo in Britain is not sex, but money. This is because money, perhaps even more so in England than anywhere else, is about class and belonging. Economic anxiety is running higher than it has in decades, with some experts comparing the current incendiary political mood to that of the 1930s. Radical political movements across the spectrum — from Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders on the left to Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign on the right — are speaking to the frustrations of large demographics who feel left behind by the shift towards corporate neoliberalism and belittled by the political class that pushed for it. Inequality, housing prices, EU instability, declining job security, environmental degradation, cuts to public services and popular resentment of ‘economic migrants’ represent serious challenges that reach to the core ideologies of capitalist society.
hoped that by teaching art and design, the local population may be more empowered to fight back with their own cultural capital against property developers’ cynical attempts to re-brand (and eventually replace) communities through the act of ‘place-making’. However community art alone seemed to be an ineffective tool against the international economic forces driving the gentrification process. Discovering Deptford’s historic past as a dockyard used by the famous East India Company revealed some interesting parallels between 17th-century merchant colonialism and our present economic problems. Perhaps the East India Company, the first true multinational corporation which came to control India for private profit before its eventual collapse and government bailout, could give some tangible lessons for what’s going on in the world economy today? The first resource made was an ‘economic weather forecast’, an imitation of the Shipping Forecast substituting economic forecast data instead of the weather. Likening the flows of the market to the shifting of weather patterns, the hypnotic format of the shipping forecast gives a sense of the restless and impersonal forces of the global economy. Inspired by the Horrible Histories TV series, which uses an entertaining mix of history, costume and contemporary themes to engage kids, a song was then made which teaches about the history and recent scandals of HSBC bank. Set to the catchy sea-shanty tune of ’Drunken Sailor’, the story of the bank’s recent moneylaundering illustrates the leverage the financial industry has over our government, in much the same way as the East India Company could
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Yet most of us receive no education in economic or political theory, making us feel powerless and disenfranchised. In school we learn more about the wives of Henry VIII than we do about the economic factors influencing our present reality. During the 2008 crash most of us struggled to understand the abstract and complex interactions between the banks and governments that were playing out, and nearly a decade later the fallout still hasn’t been resolved. In the aftermath our economic illiteracy meant that the Conservative party could win two terms in government through the reductive simplicity of their ‘scrimp and save’ rhetoric, despite condemnation from professional economists and the IMF (International Monetary Fund). This illiteracy is dangerous; as in the 1930s, popular pushes towards nationalist protectionism in Europe and the US risk greater suffering and conflict. This project attempts to address this imbalance and provides a range of educational tools that present economic problems in more easily digestible formats, so that we can better understand our world and the challenges we face. Initial research for the project focused on the state of school education, and how teaching systems could be improved to encourage both individual creativity and broader social development. Elite private schools were investigated and compared to alternative teaching methods that use playful learning and creative exploration to investigate how a person’s success can be influenced by personal characteristics (both developed and innate) as well as family background. The original aim of the project was to provide more enriching and socially progressive alternatives to prescriptive mainstream education. After researching several projects that could provide deeper and more direct learning experiences, such as the Østerskov Live-Action Role-Playing school in Denmark, the project needed a subject to which these methods could be applied. This led to a new focus: gentrification in the Deptford area and the London property market more generally. An attempt was made to establish a free art and design course within the Deptford Market. It was hoped that by freely sharing the educational capital received over the Goldsmiths design course he could stand against the shift towards educational privatisation. It was also
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inf luence government policy during their time. The ‘Accountancy Shanty’ sketch at the beginning of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life also informed this piece. Returning to the issue of housing, a kit was designed which combined board-game elements with a demonstration set to provide a physicalised representation of abstract financial transactions. Containers of different sizes are placed on a grid, and can be filled or ‘purchased’ using a set of different-sized beakers in varying sizes. Used in different configurations according to the scripted instructions, this set can be used to demonstrate the basic principles of the buy-to-let property market, tax havens, fractional reserve banking, a Ponzi Scheme, and other financial mechanisms. This instructional set was inspired by Open University teaching videos, and is intended to be used as an in-class teaching aid to make complex financial issues easier to understand.
A workshop programme has been designed in addition to these resources that uses class discussion, creative contribution, and active role-playing as teaching devices to boost the retention of information. In the workshop (which is framed as a workshop on game design to make it more appealing) the students are shown how games like Monopoly can reflect real economic situations and make them simpler and more fun to understand. From there the students are guided through making an economic version of Snakes and Ladders. They collect current newspaper and magazine clippings of multiple issues related to money, and discuss how these different circumstances can make a person richer or poorer. They are then assembled onto the game board to make a playable game. Through this they can discuss and appreciate challenging political topics in a more creative way. The workshop’s second half is a role-playing activity. Students act out roles representing important actors in the history of the East India Company: the Queen of England Elizabeth I, the Company, the Sailor/Soldiers, and the Silk Sellers. The students are given simple rules and character motivations, and then get to experience events as they played out in history - the rise of the company and its eventual occupation of India, its corporate mismanagement and the famine that starved an estimated ten million Indian citizens, and finally the company’s collapse and its bailout by the over-invested British government. In doing so they learn what can go wrong when a private company, motivated only by shareholder profit, misuses its power. The combination of teaching aids and workshop activities aims to bring greater political understanding, debate and insight into the classroom, together with a stronger appreciation of the problems of economic inequality and injustice. Using design to encourage critical citizenship, it is hoped that we can move towards a balanced and more progressive world.
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Interspecies Intersections â€˜Designing legal visibilityâ€™ What does legal visibility for a termite look like? This project reveals the inherently anthropomorphic* policies that inform certain societal approaches when regarding interspecies relationships.
nterspecies intersections occur when liminal÷ animals invade, transgress, disrupt and occupy human designated infrastructure; sites that Wolch and Emel consider “borderlands”, where “humans and animals share space, however uneasily” (Wolch and Emel, 1998: xiv). These sites of ‘unease’ result in ‘Parasitic’ species; minor categories of animals that are “neglected” by social studies (Jerolmack, 2007). This neglect is reflective of a moral and cultural void that ultimately makes for a more interesting point of investigation; a space where design can intervene. “We do not see liminal animals when thinking and talking about design and governing our societies. For example urban design, if ever gives consideration of human decisions on liminal animals, and urban planners are rarely trained to consider these issues.” (Donaldson and Kymlicka, 2011: 211) * “ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing, which is not human” ÷ “the non-domesticated free-living animals who live amongst us, rather than on their own sovereign territory.” (Kymlicka, 2014)
Parasitic Outcome - redesigning interspecies relationships Termites, like rats and pigeons, are considered pests, vermin and parasites. Their inconvenience and out of placeness rationalizes their mistreatment within the context of urban space. To combat this human violence, animal theorists call for denizenship; a term used for humans, (usually refugees or immigrants) when entering a new community. Denizenship re-conceptualises liminal species to “belong here among us, but are not one of us”; a looser relationship, that preserves some distrust whilst still legally legitimising their existence (Donaldson and Kymlicka, 2011: 214). Applying this understanding this project sets out to create the best possible case for a termite to gain legal residency through UK planning laws. In doing so it uses architectural processes as a visual language to communicate the mutations in form and function the termite’s natural habitat would have to comply to. 1. Kymlicka, W. (2014) Will Kymlicka on animal denizens and foreigners in the wilderness – interview part 2 – GBS Schweiz. Available at: http://gbs-schweiz.org/blog/ will-kymlicka-on-animal-denizens-and-foreigners-in-thewilderness-interview-part-2/ (Accessed: 5 June 2016). 2. Wolch, J.R. and Emel, J. (eds.) (1998) Animal geographies: Place, politics, and identity in the nature-culture borderlands. London: Verso Books. 3. Jerolmack, C. (2007) How pigeons became rats: The cultural-spatial logic of problem animals. Available at: http:// www.environment.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/8744/socialproblems. pdf (Accessed: 7 January 2016).
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Email response outlining advice from southwark council
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Filtering system to underground termite nest that allows humans to dispose of leaves and unwanted dirt on the streets. A system that speeds up the decomposing process, promoting sanitation
Architectural render of natural termite’s habitat
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Modelled response to Southwark Council letter - how the termite structure might mutate Architectural render of natural termite’s habitat
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The Smell of Surveillance How do you know you are crossing a border when the border is invisible? The project highlights the invisible London borders set by CCTV surveillance by releasing a constructed ‘smell of a CCTV camera’ alongside them.
here are issues in our lives that are naturally hard to capture, hard to grasp, hard to talk about. Their impact on our lives is not direct and immediate, but rather prolonged in time, which makes them less obvious but more powerful. In most cases those issues do not have a direct impact on the majority of the population. They stretch their effect on some minor groups, rare cases or far away countries. Such a subtle impact lets them grow in power without causing a universal discontent, but at the end we find ourselves living in a society that we never wished to. Our contemporary world is a world of great freedom, but also it is the world of monitoring,
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tracking, tracing, sorting, checking and systematic watching. The theme of surveillance has been raised so many times that by now it has become part of some country’s identity. We are surrounded by hundreds of CCTV cameras to provide, so called, national security. However, it appears that security and the number of CCTV cameras are not in the direct dependance. Governments are increasingly structuring our urban environments around the idea of the panopticon. We now live in a society in which we are unwittingly ordered and controlled; where technologies allow us to do things at a distance, when no one person is ‘responsible’ for them. The contemporary character of CCTV surveillance is multifaceted. Although primarily looking like solid plastic pieces, cameras represent one of the most ‘liquid’ phenomenons of our times. This term has been introduced by Bauman and Lyon and it highlights the ubiquitous nature of surveillance and those technologies that are allowed to trace anyone wherever and whenever. Those methods of security have generated a strong feeling of insecurity as a by product. Contemporary surveillance is trying to predict threats coming from individuals by separating the population to ‘safe’ and ‘suspicious’ categories. This inevitably leads to social sorting what results in affecting civil liberties and human rights. Even though CCTV surveillance is highly common, it can not cover all the fields, yet even this rule has its exceptions… One of them is The Ring of Steel which is another name for surveillance cordon built around the City of London. It controls everyone who is entering its territory and everyone who is leaving it. Thousands of faces are being traced every day, judged and checked on the borders of The Ring but this information rarely reaches public. The Smell of Surveillance, aims to highlight the invisible surveillance border and to raise debates about the issue. The process of releasing a special smell around the Ring of Steel acts as a protest against hidden systems and as invitation for further conversations with city citizens. This project uses the power of a smell to highlight the presence of surveillance in our lives. From a physiological point of view, smell significantly differs from the others senses, as it is the only one that directly connects to the parts of the brain responsible for processing emotions. The human olfactory system is an ancient ‘device’, which means it has relatively less
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The process of designing the smell included experiments with various materials, debates with people about their feelings about CCTV control, and collaboration with smell production
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1. designing the smell 2. designing the way to release a smell 3. the actual process of smell distribution
The Smell of Surveillance
connections with ‘recently’ developed parts of the brain and stronger connections with the ‘older’ structures responsible for emotions. Thus, once a smell is captured, it directly links with emotions, without the need to be consciously proceed first (Barbara, A. and Perliss, A. (2006). Invisible architecture. Milano: Skira) This means smells have a power to instantly catch humans attention and unlike other senses the information gained with this sense cannot be intentionally ignored. The project consisted of three main processes:
companies. It resulted in three different smells that were most often named, when people were asked to imagine the smell of a CCTV camera. Those smells included the smell of a clean metal; the smell of a dirty, oily, burnt resin; the smell of a sanitised clean environment. Designing the method to release a smell had two aspects to it: finding a reliable way to transport smells over long distances in a city environment and creating an aesthetically pleasant, eye-catching device that would spark conversations just with its appearance. The final outcome is a device made of steel that releases bubbles filled with a flavoured vapour. Bubbles allowed the smell to travel around streets, while the cold metallic construction was ‘speaking the same language’ as city CCTV cameras do. Designing the process of distribution involved considerations about the outfit during the walk, the structure of the questions to ask, and the overall approach to people. The outcome of the project is a tall rolling device, made of steel. It is constructed to release a smell and to distribute it alongside the city streets. It is also designed to attract attention and invite passers for a conversation. It acts as a movable lab allowing people to mix their own smell of surveillance and thus to feel the impact of CCTV cameras rather then just think about it. The outcome was made to be rolled alongside the border of Ring of Steel turning making this border visible; making this unseen border into the real, tangible line. The smell this device aims to instantly catch peoples attention and build emotional connections between the passerby and the Issue of Surveillance. The project can be read in two different ways. The first, is the poetical walk around the Ring of Steel, the smell of The Ring that appeared and immediately disappeared to f leetingly highlight the border for a couple of minutes. This walk was filmed and is now available online as a reference to an alternative way of working with invisible issues. The second part of the outcome is a designed process of using a smell to involve people into really deep debates about various subjects. While smelling a scent people are unconsciously open for a further discussion, what in other situations could be hard to achieve.
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Phobia Navigation Can design be used to create an alternative therapy for phobias? Phobia Navigation is a method of navigating spaces of display in order to avoid phobia triggers to reduce fear, stress and anxiety. The tools allow for comfortable access to museums and galleries. Furthermore, these tools aim to create discussion around phobias to reduce existing stigma.
that phobia induced anxiety could be controlled through censorship of objects, cabinets and of the interior space. In order to avoid facing further uncomfortable situations the designer changed her focus from medical museums and environments to look at different phobias in other museums. The idea of creating a therapy service was then eliminated in order to not interact with medical professionals. By excluding her phobia from further focus in her work, her anxiety reduced and with a clear mind she was able to get her ears pierced for the first time to face her fear. With this new found confidence, many non-medical museums were mapped such as the V&A Museum of Childhood which focuses on clowns and dolls. Each of these newly mapped museums were contacted with the question of collaboration and further development with the idea of controlling fear in exhibition spaces. From all the responses, the Grant Museum of Zoology offered to help in the most open way. After initial mapping of the space, the designer was able to create individual maps of each anxiety trigger such as snakes, spiders or rodents. Through experimenting in the space she decided to create interactive methods for navigation through the museum. Thus, different prototypes for hand-held pop-ups were created. These developments lead to the final creation of pop-up tools which, when aligned with the exhibition cabinets, will show you where to look and where to go in order to avoid anxiety triggers. Each page of the book corresponds to a different spot in the museum, and allows for a positive and interactive method to experience the museum. These tools will exist as artefacts to spread awareness and understanding between phobics, spaces of display and the public.
Svendsen, Lars Fr. H. A Philosophy of Fear. London: Reaktion, 2008. Print.
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ear is a source of creativity”(Svendsen, 15). It motivates people to find new solutions to problems that otherwise would be avoided and neglected. Creativity through fear is a method of finding new prospective projects that respond to the direct need of individuals. These problems may be big or small but it is astonishing how much fear directs our lives. It becomes difficult when the fear develops from a traumatising event and encompasses the mind. At this point the fear can be classified as a phobia. The designer decided to utilise her own phobia of needles as a point of interest in regards to her project. Throughout her life she has dealt with the stigma of phobias and the everyday struggle. Through fainting in fear more than ten times, her phobia began affecting her physically. This inner conflict with logic and rationality got out of control until the use of therapy was required. By undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy she was able to pinpoint the problems in her phobias. The impersonal, disconnected and controlled experience caused her to step away from therapy and make it her goal to create an alternative method that would create acceptance, empathy, accessibility and understanding. To fully understand the phobia she undertook self-ethnographic research. She created a report which included the origins of the needle phobia, the physical and mental response to the trigger and analysed the daily interventions created to decrease anxiety. The next step was to explore the physical aspect of the needle and why it created such fear. By experimenting with needles she understood that it was the lack of control over the needle that created discomfort. Hence, when researching the history of needles, there was a lot of anxiety involved during visits to the museum. Despite not being able to focus on the exhibits, she was able to draw on to the museum maps where she felt anxiety. These maps led to an interest in how the curation of spaces could affect phobics and what could be done to reduce that. A workshop at the Wellcome Collection was conducted with other needle phobics to investigate how the space and the objects affected physical and mental reactions. It was important to note that each of the participants reacted to different aspects of the museum. The outcome of this workshop led to the conclusion
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Mythology Accelerated How do you understand the meaning of your experience?
‘Mythology Accelerated’ aims to help individuals gain control against ideologies, by developing their awareness of the limitations imposed by the actual ‘Democracy Capitalist: the ability to think and resist for an individual’.
his project aims to design a guide for people in transformation, in particular agnostics. The self is developed as a material for the performer that has to be applied to the external world following an order of activities to reach a non-space (where the influences of ideologies are limited) and its moments of non-beings. ‘Mythology Accelerated’ has to be translated from its Greek origin as ‘lies of the reason - logic’. The problem underpinning this interpretation involve through the most ancient tellings and their repetitions the conception of truth in our everyday life. In other words what our beliefs are made of and what do they involve about us in the present. The systems embedded into social psyche and collective thoughts of these ideologies are explored and accounted by research on the human condition and its telling. The research began with the theatrical performance by Beaumarchais called ‘Figaro’s Wedding’. This play had been recognised as one of the influences upon the French Revolution. In this play, Beaumarchais subtly criticised the absurdness of being human and the unfairness of being born into a particular social class and being expected to abide by the behaviour expected of it.
The methods employed to navigate the project resulted in a series of visual and analytical documents such as videos, collages, sound, and mini-projects. The main method that helped to shape the project followed the logic of it: the repetition creates truth, the repetition is the pattern of truth. How exploring the materiality of truth if reproducing the materiality of it known by all: the book. The outcome is a first ride against the pain caused by ideologies on the right to the difference. A set of activities reside in a book borrowing the mechanisms of a person mythologised (an individual that had been disappearing to let place at a persona answering an expectation of ideal). In the past, present and future, human beings promise to develop means of control that give back the ability to think and resist to the one oppressed and regressed. Fighting against the domestication of minds and the banalisation, and conformism imposed to billion of life.
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I The Machine “I automated my own degree” An emergent state of economic strategy and assessment in higher education is beginning to alter the role and practice of both the student and the institution. Machine and algorithmic automation is used as a lens with which to investigate those effects, by prototyping an “ultra-efficient” model of student participation.
his body of work began by broadly investigating how automation [in every sense] is currently affecting society, moving past the direct implications of labour relations, and into the far reaching consequences of those shifts. The climate of modern productivity escalation is causing labour relations and strategies to be applied in diverse areas such as education and wider public policy. Aside from personal productivity decisions which could be seen as derivative of business practice, the economics and management of higher education in a broader sense are important to the discussion. The tuition fee increase, introduced in the 2012/13 academic year, saw fees rise from a previous cap of £3,375 to £9,000 per year for undergraduate courses. Beside many other socio-economic implications, what this enabled was the accelerated shift of funding from the public to the private sector. This process invariably frames students as consumers, and subsequently reinforces the notion that education is being delivered as a product. Within the context of the project, pushing this conflation of business and education practice investigates how a speculative “ultra efficient” model of education participation would behave en-situ. Automation as a methodological tool is therefore applied to education as a critical research device. Initially focused on the degree as a system, observations were made of existing marking procedures and examples of current automation
techniques in the sector, before moving onto linguistic analysis and algorithmic reproduction of student / tutor communications. By u si ng forma l feedback f rom formative student presentations, an automated incarnation of a tutor in a tutorial context was constructed. The responses in the feedback form were decontextualised, leaving the structural linguistic framework for feedback that would include generic advice, hypothetically pertinent to any student who may need it. A natural language processing algorithm is called upon, that “learns” the feedback text and adopts it as its vocabulary. What this constructs is a user interface that essentially allows a student to ask a robotised version of a tutor for advice. A certain authenticity that enables genuine interaction with the machine on a level that approximates the original inputs and outputs is provided, but critically, not the experience of it. In refocusing on the students’ input into the system, at its core, the project offers a set of tools which a student may use to automate their own assessment submission. In doing so, those tools critically reflect on the structural nature of the “project” and if design can essentially be performed to fulfil marking criteria.
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Room 441 of The Millennium Hotel, Mayfair. Part of the Automated Project, “Things Theatre Power”
Project Management Algorithm
A “Project Management A lgorithm” distributes time and activity within the user defined length of a project, with variable weighting given to selected aspects of the assessment criteria. “Performative Design Instructor” gives the user a list of materials, specifications and actions, to make an object without a final goal, but moreover to learn by doing, and produce without planning and foresight. “Spaghetti Hoops Action Generator” instructs the user to use certain processes, insert designed artefacts in specific locations, and gather research is a variety of ways, with the intention of creating tension within the narrative of the work. The project produced by these tools is entitled “Things Theatre Power”. The nine month Third Year Studio Practice course at Goldsmiths BA Design was compressed into four weeks of work, when blind marked in a preliminary viva voce, it was awarded a 2:2.
In the conclusion of the final assessment a slide reads “I was the machine all along”.
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It is important to acknowledge that this exercise is not suggesting that automating design education is a categorically good thing to do, but moreover a good experiment to undertake. To take a step back, the project as a whole becomes a way of using the reductive techniques and market ideologies of automation by repurposing those problematic tools as methods of research and modern design thinking within the wider framework of design education, practice, and theory. In their use, and by constructing visions of their permeation, complex insight and critique is formed. W hile demonstrating the possibility of achieving the aforementioned “ultra efficiency”, in many ways this outcome is in fact a fallacy. It is noted that the production of the para- project would likely have been impossible without also engaging at a consistent level throughout the rest of the program. If value is to be scrutinised, there is as much to be derived from factors such as unaccountable opportunities for learning and relationships with peers as there is for raw production of work.
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State of Play A critique of media distortion. Using football as a test subject, this project seeks to exploreÂ how media formats both distort and dictate our interpretation of information.
rawing inspiration both from peer conversations and existing texts notably Marshall McLuhan’s 1967 book ‘The Medium is the Massage’ - and James Bridle’s currently active blog ‘The New Aesthetic’, this project seeks to debunk and address concepts that are otherwise overlooked by large parts of society. More than ever the world is interpreted through technologies designed to record and communicate - media technologies. As both product and producer of dynamic cultural landscapes, the media dictates not only what information is created, but how we perceive and interact with that information. As subjects are recorded, transmitted and consumed, information is susceptible to loss, contortion and even addition, meaning that subjects are liable to distorted translation. Both knowingly and unknowingly these distortions are tolerated, accepted and even celebrated, resulting in a situation in which the ‘mediation’ of a subject begins to inform its on going reality and our perception of its origin. Using football and video games as an example of this, the project explores the potential for utilising this kind of relationship, through a number of ‘conversion’ based experiments, which identify distortions in the game and materialise or re-enact them in reality. Through this process a number speculative football extractions have been generated. These facilitate distortions, in both the game itself and its surrounding praxis. The extractions are designed to stimulate a critical analysis of current media and content relations, whilst remaining intelligible and accessible through the medium of football.
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1m 3.50m 9.50m
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The Power of Narrative How can new structures be implemented to continue the act of storytelling through interesting objects? By piecing together fragmented pictures and descriptions of objects, the project aids in the understanding of unusual and spectacular artefacts within a family. This project allows key aspects of each story to be highlighted to maintain the presence of the stories within the family network without fully re-telling them thus allowing the story to continually evolve.
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nteresting stories are part of a family’s history, but they seem to get lost overtime. Some are about spectacular objects and by being retold through generations they gradually evolve as each individual tells the story in their own way. However, over time the story can disappear and this then devalues the object because its story is what makes it unique. In some families, such as the Sethi family these artefacts are not talked about because it can cause debates about their ownership - due to their material value and history - which is why the stories are ignored. The Sethi family was an influential family in Indore a city in Central India who were keen collectors of artefacts from around the world. This allowed them to acquire a unique collection of mysterious objects. These were the motivations for the project, to look at how to maintain the presence of each story in the family network. Research was conducted using old family photographs: examining how they are kept and handled to be able to analyse how they differ from other types of photography. Interviews were conducted with different generations from the Sethi family, in order to understand the purpose and meaning of certain objects within the photographs. This highlighted how the stories around the objects had evolved, listening to a new narrative each time but still retaining their purpose and meaning, with some changing materially.
To understand the significance of the objects, two were quickly modelled in gaffa tape, the Holkar turban and the sword. The wearing of a Holkar turban, portrayed the family’s connection to the Holkar dynasty, which was the ruling state at the time. These models still showed the sense of power and authority even though they were made out of common material and seemed like fragments of the event. Understanding the objects made it easier to relate to, such as ‘The Gold Cowrie’. A cowrie is a shell that was originally used as a form of currency and later on used as a dice in traditional games. Seth Saab was the great great grandfather to the youngest generation and was friends with very important people such as The King of Gwalior. As friends they placed a bet and decided the winner would get one cowrie. Seth Saab lost and felt embarrassed just sending one cowrie so he got a gold cowrie made approximately 2530mm in length with diamonds placed at the bottom. The King returned it because the bet was only a normal cowrie, so The Gold Cowrie still remains in the family. Other artefacts also signify connections with important people such as Mahatma Gandhi and The Sheikh of Afghanistan. It was vital to try and find as much evidence behind each one and understand the importance of the objects outside the family network in order to analyse the original narratives. This included a medal company that backed up the story involving the Knighthood medal, along with friends of the family who also knew the stories. The main focus of the project became to maintain the connection between both the object and its narrative. Through materialising the objects, it helped understand the objects in the story and the
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context around them. The focus was then directed on four objects, The Peanut Oil Tin, The Gold Cowrie, The Gold Enamel Chess Set and The Emerald Necklace. There was no physical presence of the objects from the stories or visual references, therefore to understand each form simple prototypes were made out of clay. These started a new family ritual through which the original stories could be re-told. This still restricted interaction with the object, as a narrator was still required. This shifted the project from materialising the objects, to making each one more interactive to allow a stronger connection between the object and its story. The new artefacts would then be used as a set of tools, to help continue the act of story telling for generations around lost and hidden artefacts within the family. Whilst modelling the objects in different materials it became obvious that it was essential to have aspects of the original heirloom to help in the re-telling of the stories. The objects were redesigned multiple times to ensure that whoever interacted with the objects, could create their own story around the key elements from the original story. To capture Seth Saabs story about how he cornered all the peanut oil in the market, the story was split onto separate pieces and placed within the tin. These would be poured out to allow one to create their own narration, to develop their own understanding of the object. The same way that each bead from the Emerald necklace was collected separately from the Sheikh of Afghanistan, the story now evolves due to the order in which you place the beads. Each bead is engraved with different parts of the story so that they are then handled in a similar way to show how precious beads are evaluated. To build a narrative of ‘The Gold Enamel Chess set’ the story was split and pieced together
on a chess board. The act of playing chess created the story, following the same rules as the traditional game of chess but each player can only make a move if it makes sense in the story. As the cowrie was used in a dice game similar to Ludo, the board was redesigned so that words could be placed on it. Magnets are placed at the base of the cowrie, which is then used to pick words from the centre randomly. Players would take this in turn and follow on from each other until they get to the other end of the board. The artefacts designed are a set of tools, which will continue the act of story telling, throughout generations around the lost and hidden family artefacts. Although these objects have been designed specifically for current and future generations in the family, the same principles can be applied to other families that have objects with a complex and opposed history. In order to do this, the first stage would be to investigate the family’s history along with finding alternative narratives around the given object and then create a tool for them to continue the act of story telling. This could also move beyond family heirlooms to other important and ‘lost' cultural artefacts, which are not publicly accessible.
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A Space for Play How can we create a space for playful politics within the British Parliament? ‘A Space for Play’ explores playful politics through three domestic debate objects. Each object is based on an element of debate in the House of Commons. The objects heighten the political space of the home whilst reframing and prototyping the material infrastructure of parliamentary debate.
hildren bring the realities of their world into a fictional context using play. It is in this space of play where the realities are safe to confront. Play creates a fictional space to test ideas without implication. At first, a child uses play to understand the world around them. Then to further their understanding, they twist and warp the conventions to deconstruct and then reshape reality. This can be seen in child’s play in the Holocaust. They played games of war, blowing up bunkers and seizing the clothes of the dead. Reality bleeds into play and, just as play in the Holocaust was influenced by violence,
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our reality is heavily saturated with politics. When observing child’s play, as soon as it starts to involve social attitudes we as adults can no longer afford to ignore it. ‘A Space for Play’ uses this space to explore playful politics: an adult play that is so heavily saturated it is impossible to ignore. Although, some may ask who has time to play? Play could merely be another problematic appropriation of space, a form of unnecessary entertainment colonisation. There is a need to show play as a progressive prototyping tool, rather than something to be ignored and dismissed. This project aims to use the potentials of play to test and prototype politics. This project investigated ways of creating a successful and progressive space for play. Roleplaying and acting within a fiction provide a safe space to investigate. For example, a prototype role-playing game was designed to see how game techniques could be used to initiate political opinion. Players were able to develop critical thought about fictional situations in order to evolve their own political thought. The game itself camouflaged the seriousness of politics and developed a playful re-imagination of our society. The game successfully created a space for play to reimagine conventions by blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Playful politics attempts to unpack the rigidities and rituals of the House of Commons within a comfortable, liberated space. It could be argued that democracy does not extend past just one vote per person, and even this happens rarely. This project provides three objects that politically activate homes. Each object provides a platform for political opinion and debate. Together, they aim to provide an agency of political autonomy and desire. The debate objects take elements of the known structures of the House of Commons into the known space of the home. Combining the two, and framing them within a politically heightened space, the project is lead into the known unknown territory of playful politics. Objects are subconsciously defined to have their own embedded home rules. Walk into a living room. The perfectly manicured mantelpiece, every adornment pristine; they are not to be touched. Yet, Wood and Beck state, “the presence of children forces these rules to disrobe” (Beck, R. J. and Wood, D,1994) and the home rules are wiped clean allowing space for play. The introduction of play, whether adult
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or child, strips the rules from a space. And the initial conventional defined order of the space is redefined, allowing space in the home for playing, testing and prototyping. ‘A Space for Play’ introduces three objects that derive from the material infrastructure of debate in the House of Commons. The Filibuster Phone derives from the scripted language of the House of Commons.BBC documentary ‘In the Commons’ shows that the Prime Minister’s questions are usually prompted via email before the broadcast. The Prime Minister provides a list of suggested phrases and terms that will enhance his success in answering questions. This informed the creation of an object that allows a platform for interrupting scripts, in the hope of encouraging a more organic form of debate. The Filibuster Phone is attached to the home phone and any telesales or cold calls will be amplified. This then allows the user the opportunity to disrupt the script of a telesales call and use it as a platform for political debate: thus reframing the context of the language of the House of Commons to discover how the scripted rigid debates could be done differently. The Lobby Clock is derived from the amount of floortime backbenchers have compared to party leaders, arguably resulting in an unequal debate. The timer is intended to create an intense and personal debate between two users. Both players have eight minutes to argue their side, batting their statements to and fro until the argument is resolved or time runs out. The specification of eight minutes is based on the time given to vote n bills in the voting lobby. This is projected onto the egg-timer, a familiar initiator of action as dictated by time, within the domestic environment. The timer becomes a subtle intervenor that facilitates debate at a personal level, unobtainable within the infrastructure of the House of Commons. The Bobbing Chair materialises the movement within the debate chamber. Currently, politicians will ‘bob’ to catch the speaker’s eye in order to be called upon to speak. Again, this movement restates the inequality of speech, as backbenchers rarely get called upon, yet they continue their bobbing in the hope of having their moment. As it is rare to be chosen, their continuous bobbing seems odd. Yet, one interpretation is that their movement proves their willingness for involvement. So, the Bobbing Chair captures this movement within a domestic environment. The uses of these objects begin to create
a space to realise and explore the material framework and architecture of politics. Once these change, so does the framing of the debate at hand. The set of objects aims to liberate those outside the Westminster walls to act in a fiction of play and to consider alternatives and not just accept the rigidity of politics. “Perhaps the problem is not that people don’t want to get involved in politics, but rather that they don’t want to take part in a professionalised politics so interested in efficiency that there is no space for them, or they don’t want to spend time in a political world so cramped that there’s no freedom to explore and discover, to know or master.” (Duncombe, 2007) Beck, R. J. and Wood, D (1994) Home Rules, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press Duncombe, S (2007) Dream New York: The New Press
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Gurkha’s Identity How can Gurkhas feel more British? The Gurkhas have fought for the British Army for more than 300 years and possess their own unique place within Britain's colonial history. This project questions some of the borader issues of the Gurkhas’ British identity amongst those communities living in London. Many Gurkha veterans have settled in the UK and research has revealed an acute detachment from British culture.
different design ideas, sparking interesting discussions and debates, adding an additional dimension to the workshop and the process of developing the final Gurkha tartan. The final design was used to create traditiona l items associated with the community: a Gurkha hat called a ‘Topi’ and a women’s purse, ‘Thaili’. These items have a deep and long-running significance for the Gurkhas as they are very much a part of their national identity. Because of this, the realisation of their personally designed Gurkha tartan within these symbolic objects instil a strong sense of pride and honour, one that has always been associated with the wearing of these objects. The combining of these two strongly cultural indicators, the Scottish tartan and the Gurkha Topi and Thaili, via the collaborative activities of the discussion, development of a unique Gurkha-British cultural object has helped bridge these two cultures for this Gurkha community living in South London.
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eena is a member of the South East London Gurkha community, and it is from this that the project concept grew. The objects and clothes belonging to the rich material culture of the Gurkha veterans and their families living in the UK provided a wealth of evidence of their colonial history and its development as emigrants to Britain. Initial research and experimentation contributed to an improved understanding of Gurkha cultural and national identity, and began to convey why this community felt so disconnected from contemporary British culture, despite the deep significance of their place in the British Army for the culture and history of this people. Beliefs systems - perhaps better described as common mythologies - generated in the era of British colonialism revealed the way officers attempted to exoticise the Gurkhas for the benefit of the public. Such ‘beliefs’ include the Martial Race Theory. However, the Gurkhas have also suffered many negative stereotypes, aiding their segregation from the rest of the public. There can be seen a direct correlation between these damaging prejudices of the community and the current issues confronting the Gurkhas, from unfair pensions and inadequate health care, to common language and communication barriers, creating further obstacles for cultural assimilation. Investigations and observations were undertaken to find objects and ideas that linked the Gurkhas more strongly with British culture. One of the things discovered was the Gurkha community’s love of tartan. They have a special interest and fondness for Scottish tartans, for the quality of the material and its inherent Britishness; it is a fondness that appears to run throughout the Gurkha community, especially those who cherish the fabric and have worn it for a very long time. Leena developed a workshop for the community to design and make their own unique Gurkha tartan. The workshop brought together community leaders and professional seamstresses who were interested in the concept of creating a tartan, unique to this group of Gurkhas. The creative process of the workshops allowed members of the community to generate
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Film Photography and the City Are inanimate objects capable of looking back at us?
This project explores the perspective of inanimate objects that have been discarded and have become part of the city. Can objects see? What do objects see? How do we see what these objects see? Through pinhole photography these questions are explored and the perspective of objects are brought to life visually.
he objects include a beer can, cigarette box, and public telephone booth. The reason for choices are that these objects are often forgotten or discarded by society. Beer cans and cigarettes can be found littered in the streets throughout the city. They can also be seen as the cities vices, as they are harmful to us and the cityscape. This project attempts to separate these objects from their perceived negativity by, firstly, presenting these objects in a camera form, and secondly by personifying them and giving them a perspective. These perspectives have been explored through pinhole photography, eluding to a unique visual culture where we can have an insight into what these particular objects see wherever they may lie within the city. The telephone booth can be considered a piece of forgotten street furniture due to its decline in demand. This is due to the affordability of mobile phones which are far more convenient. As a result, the telephone booth has suffered and are now frequently being used as a bin or toilet but predominantly a place to advertise. Throughout the city, a large number of telephone boxes can be found in a state of disrepair, which made it an ideal object to explore.
A major influence and inspiration for this project was Steven Pippen particularly because of his own pinhole photography work. He made use of old washing machines, and even a house, in order to capture his self-portraits. While Pippen uses objects to capture selfportraits, this project has aimed to use them to gain a different perspective. The project began as an exploration of the forgotten and derelict city with the help of digital photography. Pinhole photography became the primary medium, as it was identified as much more appropriate within the context of things that have been forgotten. The process of film photography can be considered an art form in decline. Compared with digital photography, pinhole photography is a more fragile process consisting of a lot more variables. Timing is key when it comes to pinhole photography,
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from shooting all the way to the development process. Each picture is something new and its imperfections are what make each one unique. Pinhole cameras adopting the form of objects becomes a fascinating way to represent these pieces of litter within the city, and inspires a new way of looking through them. “On the surface of the sea are pieces of Flotsam, in particular a sardine can, to which one of the men reacts by saying to Lacan: “You see that can? Do you see it? Well, it doesn’t see you!” The remark disturbs Lacan because he can sense a perspective in which it is untrue: the world of inanimate objects to some extent always looks back on the perceiver.” (Foster, 1998) This piece of text, originating from the literary work ‘Visions and Visuality’ by Hal Foster, inspired the identification of the final territory for the project. In order to capture what these objects see, each picture was captured only where a beer can, cigarette box/butts had been discarded or in telephone boxes around the areas of South London. This was in order to get a view of the surroundings and the environment the object had become a part of. This was done using premade beer can and cigarette box cameras. The telephone box was transformed into a pinhole camera by blacking out each window and the picture being captured from inside the camera. This has resulted in an outcome of numerous pinhole cameras used throughout the course of the project, as well as a number of photobooks and prints that document and capture the perspectives of the three objects in question. With a project relying so heavily on photography, its purpose, besides bringing to life the perspective of inanimate objects, is to be determined by the spectator. Viewers form their own narrative of what the photographer may have intended. However, the photobooks and the collection of photos give an insight into the inhabitants of the city. This has been done by documenting the beer can and cigarette cameras and including the location where each photo was captured, exposing the areas where drinking and smoking become more popular.
This project could change the way we see litter and allow us to see the city through litter. It reimagines and gives new purpose to things that have fallen into the backdrop of the city, becoming objects and street furniture we frequently overlook. It could serve as a political statement about litter or one that highlights these things we consume that are harmful to our health and the environment. The aim of the project is to capture what objects see, and in doing so it answers the question of whether the city, through these objects, looks back at us. Although this has been achieved, the underlying message is highly dependent on the interpretation of the individual. Foster, H. (1998) Vision and Visuality: Discussions in contemporary culture. New York: The New Press.
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Runner, Psyche, Space. What are the psychological effects of the urban landscape on a runner’s thought process?
This project proposes that beneath the physical architecture of the city lies a more intangible ‘cognitive city’ comprised of the emotions, encounters and philosophies of its inhabitants. Using running as a mode of experimental travel, it aims to map these psychological cartographies to promote a more mindful relationship with space.
he current sports market is saturated with GPS trackers, pedometers, heart rate monitors, power meters, sports watches and applications that quantify corporeal movements. Primarily emerging as a critique of contemporary modes of self-tracking, this project aims to challenge and subvert the fixation with numeric data and the act of quantify the self. Guy Debord (1955) defines psychogeography as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals”. This understanding of the city as an emotionally charged, human-centric space has informed the project’s exploration of how to define data and experiment with its uses in the spatial practices of culture. Practical experiments were undertaken to interpret, redefine and subvert the use of various architectural spaces within the city. An initial experiment focusing on ‘experience mapping’ asked runners to recall, note and sketch their individual thought processes postrun. This task promoted an alternative type of self-tracking, shifting the focus from running as a physical pursuit, to being an introspective, mentally-focused practice. In positioning the mind as a device for data collection, these maps become alternative souvenirs to the uniform data sets provided by many of today's activity-tracking devices.
From a psycho-geographic perspective, the experience maps are a qualitative information source for understanding the influence of city architecture on the runners’ experience. Experience mapping revelas particular urban spaces provike pattern - similarities - in the interpretations of those individuals moving through those spcaes. We might therefore ask, if it is possible to purposefully induce particular psychological states? To investigate this, a series of speculative reconstructions of urban infrastructureas developed, aimed at producing specific mental states and psychological challenges The mental states included: the fear of falling, the challenge of extreme weather conditions, nostalgia and the feeling of vulnerability. The final research experiment aimed to answer the following question: what are the psychological effects of the urban landscape on runners’ thought processes? The methodology comprised of a control route designed to include a diverse range of environmental conditions and a ‘thinkaloud’ protocol (Ericsson & Simon, 1980) in
A model depicting lines of hidden energy in the city.
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Psychogeographic maps documenting various running experiences around the city of London
subjective data sets in the form of user diaries (including text and audio), photographs and videos, such as GoPro footage. This data is stored in the user’s personal profile, but is also seen on the larger map, which aggregates data from all users who run in that particular city. Here the element of social fitness networks comes into play. Users create personal profiles and can follow each other, react to, and comment on posts, just like other online social media sites. This is a citizen-led, participatory platform that encourages the creative communication of open data and aims to develop the next generation of urban running culture. The software can be used by anyone to gather data to study their own psychological trends and potentially those of entire cities. The project focuses on, and designs for, the urban running community. It aims to provide an opportunity for more mindful running and a more conscious relationship with the immediate environment. You may ask why we should be mindful. Perhaps it is better to ask what happens when we are not mindful. When are we not conscious of our environment and our place within it? If we are not conscious, we are switched off to the world around us, and become unconsciously susceptible to it. To be funnelled, herded and directed through life robs us of any personal choice, liberty or freedom. After all, isn’t that what running is about? Isn’t that what life is about?
Runner, Psyche, Space.
Debord, G., 1955. Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography. [online] Bureau of Public Secrets. Available at: <http://bopsecrets.org/ SI/urbgeog.htm> [Accessed 02 November 2015]. Ericsson, K. A., and Simon, H.A. 1980. Verbal Reports as Data.[pdf] Carnegie-Mellon University. Available at: <http://www.psy.cmu.edu/~siegler/Ericsson-Simon80.pdf> [Accessed 26 May 2016]
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order to cross profile thought processes with specific spaces. In order to answer the research question and find patterns in thought, a coding system for the thematic analysis of the data was devised in consulation with Georgina Hosang, a psychologist at Goldsmiths University, whose work primarily examines the relationship between city living and mental health and wellbeing. The thought processes recorded in each space were categorised into themes and sub-themes. For example, ‘Environment> Physical > Obstacles’ when someone verbalised a thought about being blocked, and ‘Personal > Mind-Wandering [P.M.W]’ when someone verbalised thoughts that were very much personally intrinsic and not obviously linked to a space. It is the aggregation of this qualitative ‘human’ data that identified lines of ‘hidden energy’ that f low through the city which informed the project outcome. The outcome is a proposal for a digital service known as ‘Forest’. ‘Forest’ is comprised of a website and mobile application that documents runners’ subjective experiences of the city and, in turn, plots bespoke routes for the user. The service tracks the psychological cartographies of runners and views the urban landscape as an emotionally-charged, human-centric space. Running routes are plotted to the users’ individual qualitative preferences. This includes choices of terrains, architectural forms and features, and environments that induce feelings of nostalgia, well-being, aspiration and fantasy. In summary, this service will map experiences by sensory, visceral and psychological data. The service concept centralises around alternative mapping. This is not a map that has been created by a corporation or government, who have chosen what should be included and left out, but a highly personal one that morphs and changes according to the resonance particular places have for that person. The mapping interface is created using two main information sources. Firstly, it is mapped from imports of data from open-licensed sources. This data includes the more tangible aspects of the living city, such as OS OpenData, elevation profiles, weather forecasts, traffic updates, population densities, crime rates and pollution levels. The second is a community of keen urban runners, contributing the more intangible,
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Forensic Cycle Planning What updates are necessary to architectural practice to shift our realities to include the public, in a more democratic framework, for the construction of the city?
This project pays attention to present human/machine relationships, in context of the architectures of the smart city. A city filled with sensors and interconnected digital objects. It analyses the tools of production we use, to design and fabricate the urban environment. How do you shift authority to citizens through collective planning strategies for cyclists, subverting the hierarchal systems that revolve around vast datasets?
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ersonal computing has dominated recent shifts in architectural sophistication. Meta-data and big-data models of urban life, have imposed systems, that are changing the way we navigate and perceive urban space. These models associate mass quantities of collated individual data, which is extracted from devices such as smartphones, to generate digitally informed architectures and street furnishings in pursuit of a more sophisticated, dynamic urban habitat. These data-collecting technological tools construct an assumptious digital representation of public actions that construct lifestyle. They group sets of people using algorithms. These interwoven nodes, which contain artificially intelligent sensors, are the beginning of the machine-architecture discourse. Models such as this visualise the city and inhabitant as one machine; it links the design of spaces, to the behaviour of its inhabitants via technological tools such as the smartphone.
The Citymapper app has begun to degrade our connection with ‘place.’ It has automated the thought process in navigating transport systems, removing an aspect of cognition from daily life. Applications like this are placing more reliance and authority in our everyday digital tools, which are clearly affecting our physical spaces. Parametric Architecture is a movement pioneered by architects such as Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry. It is the practice of algorithmically defined architectural form, determined by a set of digitally editable parameters. The resultant forms of this process are disassociated with culture or place. They are globalised architectures uploaded into reality, via interconnected manufacture regimes that are becoming standardised currently. Building Information Modelling (BIM) are a firm that set global standards for computerideated architectures and their implementation. These extrusions into reality, exhibit what Bridle denotes as “drop down architectural defaults” (Bridle, 2013), simple pre-defined selections of material swatches and standardised manufacture tolerances. It provides a path of least resistance for default architectures to manifest. This computer aided design (CAD) default world is easily identifiable by engineers, some can even tell you what version of AutoCAD an environment was designed in. These architectures are designed in studios, on computers in a virtual environment. This is a process that fails to completely acknowledge social requirements; the scales of human engagement along the lifespan of a building, from its visualisation and construction, and through its use.
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In response to the heavily machined vernacular in Broadgate circle, East Central London, a film was produced to explore the style of architectural fly-through, used to depict new architectures and how that visual language could manifest in reality. This developed process aids a transparent outlook on the production of architectural imagery. Tools were produced to play in the mutual space between the physical and virtual through the practice of film and editing. This identified specific possibilities in each realm. It mimics a digitally owned language of moving image in reality. Defining an overlapping mutual space in each realm allows an understanding of what is lost and gained, through the interplay of the physical and digital. Hawk-eye is the ball tracking technology used in tennis to over-rule questionable human judgment. It is an accurate technology - more accurate than human judgment - but it is still not always right. It has a perceived level of precision that turns its greater knowledge into objective truth. It is an objective opinion. This visualisation of sporting spectacle acts as an effective vehicle for debate, media attention and democracy. The replay function opens the platform for debate, which actively engages the crowd. This immerses them in the decision making process. It highlights the absence of such systemic protocol in the public realm. To further investigate digital representations of reality, a shot was placed from the film into a render engine, re-creating virtually the actual flight path of the camera. The process visually defines a common denominator in the production of moving image by situating human
anthropometric filming constraints in the digital model for digital visualisation. To produce the animation a process of spatial data aggregation was required. Various datasets were combined, calibrating them to attain legitimacy in the information they provide. This is a technique employed by the Forensic Architecture Organisation who use accurate 3D models as a tool for political prosecution. By using compositions of spatial media to build factually referenced narratives, their post production practice uses foraged fragments of video, audio and imagery that produce 3D models ‘synced in time and space,’ to define a truth of public actions. The new narratives of video evidence have socio-political purpose. Dash-cam footage from Beijing regularly captures insurance fraud attempts. The camera is a pre-defined tool, necessary for legislative defence when driving in China. Re-appropriated as a defensive tool, it defines truths applicable to disputes involving law. The nature of personal computers facilitates the documentation of everyday activity and spectacle. The project’s outcome focuses on the high rate of cycle injuries and deaths in London - looking to design strategies to capture more legitimate data before a public incident happens. By updating the protocols of the planning application process, the project proposes new plans for cycle infrastructure, informed by evidence constructions of spatial media. It defines areas of poor and dangerous infrastructure for cyclists in specific cases, which visually report near misses, minor incidents or bike anxiety using various sources. The produced evidence base includes; experiential bike-cam video, forensic video and photographic data attained on site and narratives. The information was compiled via detailed interviews and footage collated from London cyclists. Referencing hawk-eye, and the methodology of the Forensic Architecture Organisation, spatial models containing collated fragments of evidence are used to visualise narratives for specific spectacles. This is inherently less accurate, but its documentation and accessibility allow for more discussion to take place on the functionality of a public space.
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This alternative planning application is contained on a memory stick or as a shareable file. It is the product of research and use. The meta-data shows how the site functions for cyclists. This information is used to propose new infrastructural redesigns for the specific hazardous locations. The project also produced devices intended to produce more effective footage. A third person, bike-cam rig designed to place the rider in context with their surroundings increases the validity of the data collected. It captures the physical and sensory abuse a cyclist receives on Londonâ€™s roads. This new experiential evidence format provides a stronger argument for infrastructural improvements. Speculating on future technologies, the project asks; could the sensors and processing data from self-driving cars, also be used for other issues, such as cycle safety, and would this data be released? It would exist as a surrogate system for this project to attach to, allowing it to materialise as a legitimate collective planning technology, defined by use.
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Spectre of Past Futures How do you retain an element of what is lost, when designing for the future? Thamesmead, a failed utopian project, is undergoing major regeneration as it has fallen into a state of ruination; stalactites and stalagmites can be found all over the estate warping bits of the architecture. Using the rubble from some of the original buildings, this project incorporates a parasitic structure to create a ‘ghost’ of Thamesmead by slowly re-forming the geological process alongside new developments.
ecay is an inevitable natural process, which leads to change and loss. The built environment is no different. London is a palimpsest, revealing centuries of erasure and overwriting. The rapid pace of regeneration in our neoliberal modernising times nmeans that ruins are getting younger, which lends to the question of how to respond: whether to demolish, to restore or to commemorate. In particular, the commodification of space and the soaring costs of land (especially in major cities) have impacted on the provision of civic public spaces, and contributed to the current housing crisis. The iconic, brutalist post-war housing projects (of which Thamesmead is one) are faced with demolition as local councils can no longer afford to restore and maintain them. There is a lack of political will to provide mass public housing of the kind built by socialist-leaning councils, architects and designers, during the post war period. Along with the government policy of selling off council homes, this has unfortunately led to a shortage of affordable housing for working people and represents a betrayal of their future. The theories which have contributed to
this project are derived from Michel Foucault’s concept of a Heterotopia and Jacques Derrida’s Hauntology. Ruins, ancient or modern, can be categorised under Foucault’s concept of a heteroptopia. Heterotopias are coined from the term ‘utopia’ and are therefore distinct from both utopias and dystopias as they are not unreal fictitious places but somewhere in between, a “place that is both real and unreal” (Foucault. 1967). There are six principles which formulate heterotopias: they are places of crisis; they have undergone drastic changes they juxtapose different elements; they accumulate periods of time; they hold an illusion within them; and finally, they are not freely accessible. This concept of inaccessible spaces developed into the idea of developing a mechanism to expose the reality of them. This located the project in Thamesmead: a modern day ruin in the process of being demolished in order to make way for rendered
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plastic-panelled future homes, to accommodate the opening of the new Cross Rail line in 2018. Derrida’s hauntology is a complex philosophical theory, concerning the nature of being and existence, which has been appropriated by many cultural theorists across a wide range of phenonema. It claims that the priority of being and presence is invalid, since the present always implies a past and future existence. This theory has been applied to brutalist architecture, a vehicle for Modernism and a utopian vision, which failed to manifest. For example, Mark Fisher’s 'Ghosts of My Life' refers to the gentrification of the built environment and contributes to a “finance friendly sim city” (Fisher, 2014). For some, the future has failed. Existing in both presence and absence, many cultural artefacts behave like ghosts, being neither dead or alive. One of the other features that symbolise its ghost-like presence is that it embodies what is missing or lost, and is charged with a certain strangeness; it has the capacity to bother us over a matter which is unjust. As such, the focus of the project became to create a ghost for Thamesmead. In order to navigate these theories in the field, the project expanded by interrogating the estate, using methods which would measure the space in order to determine its value within a social, cultural, economic and historical matrix. Over multiple visits, the estate was documented through castings, measurements, interviews and personal observations, to create an alternative archive of the area. This archive proved challenging to create due to the inescapable internet age, where infinite data and information is widely accessible, making it difficult to bring to light unknown forms of data. To overcome this issue, this archive had to be materialised as a physical entity, which would cultivate the ‘spirit’ of Thamesmead. Replicating the geological process that causes stalactites and stalagmites to form, seemed to represent the decline of the housing estate as well as the inevitable effects of decay and transformation. Moreover, ‘Haunting’ can be seen as “intrinsically resistant to the contraction and homogenisation of space and time. It happens when a place is stained by time, or when a particular place becomes the site for an encounter with broken time.” Fisher, (2012). The stalactites which form in real time and in a specific space where the chemical process naturally occurs, will create a vertical spectre
amidst the regenerated estate. They will be like ‘inorganic demons’ and are parasitic by nature. The outcome of this project is a machine that will produce stalactites over a period of time. Rain water will collect in the two hoppers and flow down the pipes: filtering through concrete rubble collected from Thamesmead and slowly dripping down to re-create the growth of stalactites. The machine can be attached to a building, or be used as a free-standing installation, a living memorial to remind us of our own transience as well as the decline of the social economic conditions which made housing projects like Thamesmead possible. The stalactites and stalagmites are intriguing natural transformations, possessing the potential to encourage us to imagine new and even strange futures to replace those that are lost. 1. Foucault, Michel. “Of Other Spaces,” Diacritics 16 (1986). 2. Fisher, Mark Ghosts of My Life, Zero Books p184, 2014 3. Fisher, Mark. “What Is Hauntology?” Film Quarterly 66.1 (2012) p19
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’ve only just noticed it and I’m trying to track it back to its beginning. 29 June 2015? I think it must’ve been around then. The moment I turned 30 my internet changed. No longer did I get adverts for clothing, coke, cars, condoms and whatever other crap 20-somethings like. Now 85% of the adverts I get slapped around the face with are about pregnancy. Pregnancy tests, nappies, baby food. I don’t even get elevated to expensive clothes, cars and the other good stuff associated with getting older. In the eyes of the internet I am ostensibly a 30 year old women, with not much money, screaming out for someone to knock me up… “Someone? Anyone? Please…” When my partner borrowed my computer, he was visibly freaked out by this internet-portrait of me (“It must be the things she’s searching…”). IT’S FUCKING NOT – not once have I looked up anything baby related God Damn it. I used to think the internet was full of unknown unknowns, but now it offers me some fucked up version of my future that some dickhead algorithm is trying to push towards me. Fucking Bush, fucking Rumsfeld, fucking faceless analyst/statistician/coder. I want to have my unknown unknowns back. I want them back from country-bombers, from border-closers, from internetoverlords. Shit. If I only knew where to find you I’d drown your motherfucking motherboard in the menstrual blood of childless 30-somethings. So, hear this and fuck off you pissed-on-power-eye-of-Sauron. I’m disorganized, self-centered and untidy. I drink too much, watch too much, avoid washing dishes and my hair, I don’t answer emails fast enough and I still need contraception. Give me those adverts back.
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Pixel Perfect Dating A playful critique and proposal for future dating systems and the way in which we navigate them.
Encouraging people to address and question their dating habits, through re-imagining existing forms of online dating. Pixel Perfect Dating gives an encompassing image of the self by eradicating ‘the pose’ on dating profiles and suggesting new ways of navigating the vast potential of sexual partners.
representing yourself, that replicates the same experience as physically being in front of that person – a concept that pushes the boundaries of the online profile as we know it. How can this concept be situated in the world of online dating? To explore the user experience, the skeleton of an app was created, speculating how the eradication of the pose and the pose of data can be presented. This acts as a prototype of a product that can be used and tested by others: “This is a breakthrough in the dating industry, even though many posers may not actually like the concept of genuinely posing!” Through the creation of this speculative app for a future world where online representation is completely unconscious and comfortable by the user; the intention is for current users of dating websites to use this app in the present day, to question their own representations of self on various online platforms, as well as how they view and judge others.
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nline dating has become the new and infectious trend in our society where communication technology has become the architect of our interpersonal relationships and connections. It was estimated that by the end of 2015, there were 91 million people around the world using dating apps, resulting in 33% of couples meeting online, and a prediction that by 2040 this number will rise to 70% (Online dating statistics and facts, 2016). Online dating is here to stay. The anonymity of online dating makes rejection easier but simultaneously provides spaces for deception and misrepresentation. Fictionalising yourself as an ‘acceptable’ commodity online has become increasingly common as the use of communication in online dating has increased, resulting in an unauthentic construction of the self. “It is time we start thinking about how to design social interactions in the social media environment to safeguard and protect social media users from unforeseen consequences of online deception” (Tsikerdkis & Zeadally, 2014) A relationship between the profile maker and online platform is addressed through capturing one’s true self within a dating profile, removing ‘the pose’ and ‘the pose of data’. A continuous photo capturing and emotion tracking method through facial recognition was developed giving an opportunity for an alternative way of
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Contents: Temperature sensor: Increase in palm temperature = Light changing Gherkin building. Temperature sensor: Increase in palm temperature = increase in volume of the song “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye. Heart rate sensor: Rate of heart = Rate at which LED anatomical heart object flashes. Rocking chair: Indicates interest when person leans forward = Causes mannequin lamp to switch on. These two outcomes encourage an encompassing image of the self by eradicating ‘the pose’ on dating profiles and suggests new ways of navigating the vast potential of sexual partners. The possibility of online profile deception is reduced and the complacency of online dating is eradicated. These are people. We are people. We need reminders that we are not shopping for people.
Tsikerdekis, M. & Zeadally, S. (2014) Online Deception in Social Media [Online Document]
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What is attraction? How can we test and detect our involuntary responses when attracted to something? Attraction is mainly subconscious. Some of the main signifiers of attraction are through subconscious bodily functions. When attracted to someone we experience an increased pulse rate, elevated sweat levels, a change in voice tone and pupil dilation, as well as having the ability to subconsciously decide our attraction through pheromones. Even the attraction to large buttocks, also referred to as the waist/hip ratio, serves as an indicator of reproductive health in both men and women. The ‘pickup’ industry have particularly exploited this research, and have used it to their advantage by further developing subconscious sexual indications of interests. An interesting finding from a small experiment conducted with a participant wearing an oximeter, showed that their heart rate after one minute of exercise and their heart rate during the anticipation of seeing someone that they were attracted to, were almost at equal levels. With this discovery, and through a process of technological and material exploration, objects were created to signify and exploit these subconscious moments of attraction. Constructing a relationship between sensors that measure elevated heart rate and an increase in palm temperature allowed an uncomfortable environment to emerge. Through the exploitation of the subconscious signs of attraction and a public display of sexually symbolic objects, an interactive piece was created that provokes discussion. These visual and sound outputs use symbols and objects in a playful way to make the user consider the way in which they navigate online profiles. Using real dating profiles as triggers, this forces the user to question their behaviour and interaction with each individual profile.
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Transformative Aesthetic Culture How often do you find yourself judging another person on the way they look, dress or wear their hair? Would you ever actually voice those opinions to them?
This projectâ€™s objective was to explore, question and position the role of aesthetics and how it interferes with our judgment, perception and preference in everyday life. As a culture we are increasingly aware of the way we look and the comparison of ourselves with others. This project is an opportunity to present alternative perceptions of beauty, desirability and aesthetic identity.
ransformative Aesthetic Culture originated from an interest in the things we find attractive, appealing and intriguing. This started by looking at aesthetics that we are drawn to in everyday life and the reasons why we are drawn to them. There are numerous psychological factors that affect the type of aesthetics we are attracted to and those that we choose to portray in ourselves. When reviewing transformative aesthetics in Western culture, there are many avenues available for us to explore and therefore many different and alternative forms of body modifications to experiment with. From hair, makeup, and cosmetic surgery, tattoos and piercings to clothes and accessories. However, there are still some beauty trends and treatments that would be considered too new, weird or uncomfortable for many to accept. We are in an age where we should continue to feel free to express our personalities, feelings,
sexuality, and individuality through the way we look. This concept considers how, in a Westernised culture, we are affected and influenced by the social pressures of looking and conforming to a certain standard of beauty; feeling restricted in the clothes, makeup and accessories we wear for fear of unsolicited judgment from those around us. Although it is hard not to instantly form judgments on others from what we see, we should strive to still accept and respect each person as an individual, who is entitled to look the way they want, even if it does not conform to the norm or our own personal taste. The project looks at opening up a conversation about what we allow ourselves to accept when looking at the aesthetic decisions of others, and also the natural appearances of their bodies, whether this be an insecurity in the shape of their stomach, the size of their nose, or even a disability.
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The intention behind the concept is to raise and increase awareness among those who may not have realised that we conform to a specific standard of beauty, that media coverage and cosmetic brands reinforce and encourage a type of thinking where we instinctively judge others on their appearance. Research was conducted into current and ongoing evidence on social media that promotes an unhealthy approach to body image. With children gaining increasingly unrestricted access to social media both online and in the consumer culture advertised around them, they are exposed to content that can be very damaging to their self-esteem, body image, and the way they are taught to respond to the how others look.
Analysis was conducted on past and present trends that quickly gained popularity among celebrities, beauty vloggers, and followers alike. With the ability to share and encourage the emulation of new techniques and materials, the result can be a new craze or obsession adopted by younger audiences whom are easily susceptible to mentally destructive behaviour. Public figures such as Aimee Mullins were used as inspiration. Mullins uses her own body as an example of a non-conforming, innovative and transformative aesthetic to challenge archetypal perceptions of â€˜acceptableâ€™ beauty. Appealing, unusual, and exciting designs allow her to confront and challenge common misconceptions on the relationship between body image and capability. Utilising the power of aesthetics could allow us to redesign opinion and perception to positive effect. Cross-cultural comparison has been a useful tool when putting the techniques and regimes we are familiar with into context. It was interesting to discover the types of beauty rituals elected as necessary practices, in order to uphold a specific standard of beauty and status, but also the way different cultures as well as individuals have formed opinions and perceptions on what they believe to be extreme or distasteful. These designs not only reflect how these practises differ from our own, but how they are fundamentally the same in principle exposing a level of hypocrisy that we may or may not have been aware of. Personal research was undertaken by the designer into the reception, reactions, and opinions on transformative aesthetics posted online that challenge the boundaries of current trends and provoke viewers to consider whether they would accept or dismiss certain beauty modifications. The process began with the adaptation and redesigning of existing trends and transformative techniques such as visible contouring, corset trainers for the neck, and westernised body painting. Experimenting with accessorising the body, beauty regimes and clothing were fun ways of showcasing transformative aesthetics and showing the potential they can have in creating a conversation about our boundaries. Several workshops were designed to engage with outside perspectives that
other’s body image and to consider why they have these opinions. By asking participants to experiment with and redesign the ‘normal’ aesthetic, conversation can begin about what they allow themselves to accept, rather than dismiss, in their own personal appearance as well as someone else’s choices of makeup, clothing, hair, etc. The desired effect of ‘Transformative Aesthetic Culture’ would be to produce a culture more at peace with their natural reflection, feeling less of a need to reach for an unattainable body image and also feel less moderated and fearful to experiment with new and imaginative aesthetics. It hopes to instigate freedom of creativity and expression of personality, feelings, sexuality, and individuality.
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provoked conversations between designer and participants about beauty trends, standards and their personal opinions. This provides further understanding as to where this project was situated and what steps could be made to take the project further. By modelling and remodelling existing designs in clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and tools, the design and critique could be situated in real world and in social behaviour. Through the examination and imitation of the behaviour and language used in online tutorial videos that showcase and encourage certain techniques, equipment and popular trends, a new platform was developed that a younger audience could find relatable and familiar, allowing them to feel relaxed and engaged in a mundane environment such as the classroom. With the application of existing beauty rituals onto parts of the body that are often deemed too ugly or unstimulating to showcase, it was important to encourage others to take a lighter hearted, unrestricted approach to their aesthetics. If we are able to take ourselves less seriously, maybe we will be less inclined to negatively judge others on personal appearance. The ‘Elbow Makeover’ workshop helped to realise the potential of the project and how similar workshops could be structured and performed to encourage participants to openly engage and consider how the aesthetic culture we live in today affects personal and social body image. The workshops target young adults and children at school, an audience most susceptible to the negative and unrealistic body image portrayed in culture and media and increasingly indulged in self-improvement and transformation. It will operate and engage in current, real life situations and examples of the types of beauty treatments, regimes and media reports that augment negative and discriminatory judgement on others. This will occur through the encouragement of playful, imaginative, and extravagant transformations applied to our own bodies that aim to disparage the habit and thought process of instantaneous judgment on the way others look. Using the familiar and popular platform of online video tutorials to engage with a classroom-sized group of students, this will encourage discussion of opinions on each
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This exploration encompasses theory around what self-legitimacy and control mean after the introduction of the internet. This includes ways in which the perceived boundary between humans and the machine can be disturbed by relationships of cis-women, webbased technologies, and the social construction of gender.
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detected in the digital disembodiment of selfies. They act in retaliation to the way that women in art history have only been looked at or acted upon. Always the object and never the subject. Audrey Wollen believes that the objectification of girls can be re-staged and read differently. This motivated the design of the project’s selfie to focus its gaze instead on an unattractive body property, determined by social beauty standards such as cellulite. The artificial cellulite has been engineered through the use of 3D scanning and printing methods. Casting into different materials symbolises the mediation of our own body and how it can be represented through technology. It is therefore used as a front cover for a book of text posts on Tumblr: a place (predominantly led by teenage girls) which possesses the highest number of public online feminist discourses. It became clear, however, that the cellulite selfie was just a materialisation of art and feminist theory and did not actually achieve liberation; there was still a need for a cyberfeminism that responded to modern structures of control channelled through gender that are stated as factually “natural” and “given”. The Xenofeminist manifesto states that “anyone who’s been deemed ‘unnatural’ in the face of reigning biological norms, anyone who’s experienced injustices wrought in the name of natural order, will realise that the glorification of ‘nature’ has nothing to
offer us - the queer and trans among us, the differently-abled, as well as those who have suffered discrimination due to pregnancy or duties connected to child-rearing.” This guided an exploration of how “denaturalisation” can reveal cognitive and social developments, shifting the investigation to the curious feminine portrayal of Intelligent Personal Assistants online.
Helen Hester Reference: Fridericianum, 2015, 01 Inhuman Symposium - Helen Hester, Cate Accessed: 21/12/2015, Available from: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=ZSBefHq7C_o Donna Haraway Reference: Haraway, D., 1991, A Cyborg Manifesto, Sceince, Technology, and Socialist-feminist In the Late Twentieth Century, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, Date Accessed: 21/12/2015, Available from: http://www.egs.edu/faculty/donna-haraway/articles/ donna-haraway-a-cyborg-manifesto/ Audrey Wollen Reference: Watson, L., 2016, How girls are finding empowerment through being sad online, Dazed and Confused, Date Accessed: 21/12/2015, Available from: http:// www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/28463/1/girlsare-finding-empowerment-through-internet-sadness Xenofeminism Reference: Cuboniks, L., Date Unknown, Xenofeminism: A politics for Alienation, Laboria Cuboniks, Date Accessed 03/01/2016, Available from: http://www. laboriacuboniks.net
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Fluid Learning How will the educator-learner relationship respond to the age of digital natives? The imperially-rooted state education system in the UK has reached a point where a paradigm shift is necessary. Fluid Learning addresses the need for a new approach to the educator-learner relationship, and is implemented at a primary school in London to offer a format of new learning. Todayâ€™s digital natives are presented with an opportunity to direct their own learning in a school environment.
ontemporary education in Britain is based upon empirical foundations which focus on crystallised intelligence, however today’s world requires a shift in the approach. The futurist Jamias Cascio has dubbed the next stage of human thinking as fluid intelligence - the ability to navigate in the age of constant connectivity. Fluid intelligence goes hand-in-hand with the independent nature of the digital native learner; one with the freedom and ability to navigate the information of the internet and direct their own personal path.
Digital natives in education today show that the value of fluid intelligence requires greater emphasis. The ability to effectively sift through the information and opinion available, and then act upon this, is relevant to the evolution of the educator-learner relationship of the future. Fluid Learning is a format of learning which presents today’s digital natives with an opportunity to direct their own learning in a school environment, with their teachers taking on the role of a facilitator of individual learning. It is inspired by the work of Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology, whose initiative ‘Self Organised Learning Environments’ takes a step towards the future of learning. The National Curriculum was initially created in 1988 with a very prescriptive nature; its reform in 2014 allows more freedom for teachers to apply their own ideas for structuring and organising learning in their classrooms. This transition allows for the introduction of the Fluid Learning concept which is outlined by these core aims: • To give children ownership of their learning by allowing them to choose from a list of topics and response mediums. • To provide an opportunity to use the internet to gather information as research. • To respond to their research by producing an outcome in a medium which exercises their creative, fluid thinking.
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A topic selector is available online and provides a teacher with three topics for a session; the materials used are based around any lowbudget resources that are available. This session structure is versatile, easily transferable and allows independent learning, reflecting the personalised nature of the information age. Fluid Learning is being piloted at Barham Primary School in north-west London. The introduction of this concept to state primary schools is a step towards the future of education, and in turn, the future of learning. It has the potential to open young minds to the possibilities of their future through access to the vast amount of information that is available to them.
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Alicia (Lissi) Simpson-Watt
Careoke How can the act of karaoke be used to navigate mental health and therapeutic practices? ‘Careoke’ situates itself between two previously contrasting worlds, karaoke and therapeutic practice. ‘Careoke’ reimagines therapeutic practice through karaoke, highlighting the crossover found in profiling moods to music choices and the cathartic properties that singing these songs can provide.
n order to understand a users’ mood, the interface to the ‘Careoke booth’ asks questions based on first-hand advice gained from two Person Centred Counsellors (Ros Sewell and Ruth Watt), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques and the CORE evaluation forms (2007). Using the responses given and based on first hand research and experiments into how people make musical decisions and judgments, the booth provides the perfect karaoke song to sing in that mood.
Observing karaoke, regardless of the user, there appears to be a moment beyond which people become more free in their movement, expression and style of singing. They become comfortable with their act and allow something much more poignant to be shown. Karaoke holds a freedom of improvisation unlike other modes of performance - which typically mould efforts around a predefined version of perfection. In comparison, Karaoke is largely improvised using existing work, which allows people to explore their emotions to personify the performance, giving insight into who they are. Careoke has defined a set of steps for performing karaoke that can be related back to the desired procedure to therapy: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Persuasion and Embarrassment or, Persuasion and Referral; Silence from the crowd or, Silence from the Therapist; Acceptance from the crowd or, Acceptance from the Therapist; Love across the floor or, Warmth from the therapist; Success and stardom or, Stress release and freedom.
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These steps come together to create a sense of momentum in the act of karaoke and, once finished, a sense of release. Within these performances, there are common song themes, most prominently: ‘feminism’, ‘empowerment’, and ‘happiness after long periods of unhappiness’. This led to the following questions: is there something psychological behind the theme of these songs? Do users exhibit a rare side of their personality they otherwise cannot? Or, do users take on the persona of someone they wished they could be? Careoke forces the participant and any viewers to consider the validity of these questions. In 2014, the charity ‘Help Musicians UK’ released a paper stating 60% of musicians have mental illnesses. During the last eight months, interviews were conducted with two musicians and one woman who used karaoke during a hospital stay to help her mentally escape her environment. One musician in particular mentioned the alter-ego persona one becomes when performing and how that alter-ego helps to address Depression. Another musician spoke about how performing music had helped to understand a period of miscarriages.
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Alicia (Lissi) Simpson-Watt
From their musical abilities, the musicians were able to use the therapeutic qualities within singing. With this observation in mind, many more people can benefit through karaoke because of the endless wealth of existing music that people can relate to, thus creating the idea of song profiling. The purpose of the Careoke booth is to create physical crossovers between karaoke and therapy and to present any correlations found between mood and music. Although people often differ in opinion on various songs, there appeared to be songs among certain generations which unanimously represented certain emotions. A playlist aimed at observing peoples’ political, economic, social and technological viewpoints was separated into provocative categories such as ‘gender roles’, ‘war’ and ‘protest’ based on Alicia’s own opinions. Physical copies of this playlist were distributed and a variety of people were asked to edit and change the playlist over multiple occasions, frequently updating the playlist to include these additions or changes. Upon receiving feedback, an insight into a community was gained. For example, ‘Killing in the Name of’, always represented anger amongst young people. Bob Marley, although singing very specifically about Jamaican class and politics, for people of varying backgrounds, represented protest and standing up for your rights. In an attempt to profile song choice via mood, Alicia tracked her own moods to musical choices using facial tracking software, an oximeter to measure heart rate and evaluated expressions at an hourly rate. Immediately after taking readings, the first song which came to mind or that had been chosen to listen to was written down. At the same time, others were asked to track their emotions and song choices in the same manner, expanding this activity beyond Alicia’s own decisions. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy teaches that through externalising an emotion as a separate entity from ourselves, we can begin to see it for what it truly is, change our responses in various situations and improve upon our emotions. Because of the ties which were emerging between music choices and moods, a desire grew to manifest these findings into a physical structure to which participants could be helped in expressing their emotions. Referring to classic Freudian architecture, with the sofa you lie on
and the unseen therapist evaluating what you say, the booth’s structure allows the stage to become your couch and the karaoke machine to become your therapist. Retaining the intimacy of therapy with its hanging curtains, and the aesthetics of karaoke that allow comfort in singing. Careoke reflects Person Centred practice by giving the user space to focus on understanding their feelings and their connection to others. The booth’s interface - or karaoke machine - uses research into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This teaches that in every situation there is a certain procedure one takes which determines how you perceive the consequences of the situation. In each situation, your physical symptoms, thoughts, behaviours and feelings rely on each other. Through changing the way you think, you can not only change the outcome of that given situation but gradually change any situation. The therapy focuses on trying to make the client become introspective on how they deal with issues in their life. As karaoke is largely improvisation on pre-existing work, users are allowed to explore their own emotions in order to personify their performance, giving insight into themselves as people. Careoke uses the theory of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with the findings found from karaoke to help participants externalise emotions through song and in this way reflect on their own emotions. By giving people this space to address their issues, Careoke addresses the pressure applied on institutions like the NHS, Mind, the Cassel Centre and other therapists and counsellors. Often, people who need mental health attention for issues such as mild depression, anxiety or stress are turned away because of insufficient resources to help them. This booth has the potential to provide people with outlets for their emotions. In addition to the Careoke booth, an exploration into the potential of Careoke in the home - a micro version of the booth has been developed. Editing plug sockets through the use
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of an Arduino board and coding, the experience and atmosphere of making a cup of tea in a kitchen was transformed into that of a karaoke space. By allowing only objects connected to these plugs to turn on when certain frequencies and pitches are met, they became an audience, encouraging the performance to continue. The experience of ‘karaoke-fying’ such small acts felt cathartic towards other more stressful issues and became a fun activity which dramatically changed the perspective of such simple household acts, like making a cup of tea. Speaking to many people created an understanding of the view on karaoke as a bonding experience between performer and those performed to. However, Careoke suggests there are unexplored benefits to be realised if we take karaoke further and make it a bonding performance with yourself.
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Private Cartography Neoliberal architecture or the architecture of neoliberalism? The internal architecture of privately owned public space More London is forensically interrogated by surveying and deconstructing the territorial layers that constitute it.
[Fig. 6] More London Models. Made in collaboration with Dean Pankhurst and Andrew Weatherhead, 2016
Three architectural models of the same site have been created: The first is defined by privately owned data from morelondon.com. The second is publicly owned data from the Ordinance Survey. The third model is the manifestation of an empirical reading of the site; using data gathered through first hand surveying. The fragmented outcome is directly indicative of the siteâ€™s rules, regulations and access.
“The city is man’s most consistent and on the whole his most successful attempt to remake the world that he lives in more after his hearts desire, but if the city is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the city, man has remade himself.” Robert Park, The City, 1967
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ark implies that through the process of building our city we are inadvertently building ourselves. Framed in this context, the notion of privately owned public space becomes alarming. Privately owned public space [PoPS] is physical space within the urban realm that, although privately owned, remains publicly accessible [Figure 2]. With the application of a neoliberal model to the public realm the state abandons agency in ‘remaking’ its citizens, relieving this responsibility to scattered unelected forces. London’s 2011 Occupy movement acted as a mechanism through which the democratic deficit, imposed by PoPS, became visible. The occupation of Paternoster Square outside the London stock exchange, revealed private ownership as a regulatory barrier for the civic appropriation of publicly accessible space as a forum for protest. Aware of this democratic deficit and acknowledging that critical citizenship cannot flourish without the reality of a space to demonstrate this practice, Private Cartography investigates the less linear, less tangible implications of PoPS. In Private Cartography, the internal architecture of the privately owned public space More London is forensically interrogated, by methodologically deconstructing the layers that constitute it. In turn, exploring how the built environment of PoPS is ordered to manufacture a specific perception of space. A domain through which PoPS can be analysed for how they wish to be understood, is within the digital dimension [Figure 3]. More London’s website is a mechanism of projection, to attract clients, tourists and occupants of office space: a domain of fully curated perception. Alongside empty spiel there are f leeting moments of objectivity; quantifiable data that provide parameters to methodically interrogate the projection of a fictional identity. An aerial vector map is accompanied by the internal square footage provided for each building, providing the necessary variables to pull the data out of the digital dimension and render the space in three dimensions; exploring how this constructed understanding of space would physically manifest, if material. To provide means of direct comparison this work sits alongside the equivalent publicly available data set, provided by Ordinance Survey [Figure 4]. Cartography is an inevitably subjective practice, a distilled representation of 1:1 data, masquerading under the pretense of objectivity.
[Fig. 1] Surveying Broadgate, using a bike and a long exposure shot. Image made in collaboration with Matt Williams, 2016.
268 â€“ 269 Tom Wagstaff
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“Maps are neither mirrors of nature nor neutral transmitters of universal truths. They are narratives with a purpose, stories with an agenda. They contain silences as well as articulations. They are biased, partial, and selective” . Through comparison, discrepancies are revealed, providing insight to the agendas that inform the process of mapping More London. A number are immediately obvious – the size of the central public space has been exaggerated and the size of various buildings reduced as a consequence [the scoop, 7 More London Place]. The data sets also reveal a dispute as to where the estate’s ownership ends and begins. Figure 3 makes these discrepancies legible within two dimensions, revealing the problematic notion of privately owned publicly accessible data and how this, much like the filtering of users, projects a fictional alternate vision of reality. To better comprehend the realities represented in these initial two models, a third was needed. The third architectural model is the manifestation of an empirical reading of the site. It is an architectural visualisation of the intangible spatial systems, which permeate the physical matter of More London. Rules, regulations, access, security, political connotations, fear of terrorism, behavioural determinism: these variables of the space directly define the surveying and extraction of data, as well as the physical outcome: [Figure 5]. • When half of a building is inaccessible, one can only assume the other half does not exist. • When regulations prohibit certain methods of data collection, one must find another, less regulated action to acquire it. • When regulations are not written, but verbally communicated (and ostensibly fluxional) one must adapt, amend and collect data, by any means available.
When the third model is placed adjacent to the models of privately owned and publicly owned data, the freeing and manifestation of empirical data into the public realm becomes pertinent. The models demonstrate how between the privately-owned projection of the site and the experienceable reality of the site, lies a gaping void. This work provides perhaps the most pure, tragic understanding of More London. The estate, through its publicly owned data, and contrary to the empirical data, so wishes to perceive itself as an agent for public good that it is hyperbolic in its self-portrayal. It is so deeply rooted in the neoliberal reality that it exists within, that More London cannot comprehend the problematic actuality of the space outside of the post 2007 governmental definition of ‘public good’. At its core, and materialised in the third model, it is no more than a highly regulated, highly filtered slate smoking area for financial consultants that, through its material existence, promotes a deceitful societal reality [Figure 6]. Robert Park’s understanding of the city as a factory that fabricates its citizens alludes to a broader, more profound, significance of Private Cartography; the built environment can be applied as a lens to interrogate the implications of neoliberalism on society as a whole. A critical analysis of the city inevitably and inadvertently examines those that inhibit it; “what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kinds of people we want to be”.
Jacob, C. and Conley, T. (2006) The sovereign map:
Theoretical approaches in Cartography through history. Edited by dward H. Dahl. United States: University of Chicago
In order to survey these heavily regulated spaces, a methodology of surveying tools and techniques, informed by the embedded legislation of the site, had to be developed. These methods evolved from the need to be inconspicuous to the regulations enforced by security and CCTV. Four regulatory-inconspicuous methods were developed to survey and extract data from the site. They utilised anthropometrics, bikes for measuring distances and angles [Figure 1], hidden cameras on long exposure, rolling balls to measure gradients, and when all else failed, the covert casting of publicly accessible architectural models.
Press: Page xiii. 2
It is important to note that the ordinance survey data is a
cartographic act and as such is not wholly objective. However there is little conceivable reason for an impartial third party to actively manipulate the data. 3
As the two data sets vary in composition and geometry they
are anchored on 6 More London Place [corrugated building in bottom left corner]. 4
As stated in the preface, in 2007 the definition of public good
in the context of the public realm moved from a community centric emphasis to a definition informed by economic benefaction. 5
Harvey, D. (2013) Rebel cities: From the right to the city to
the urban revolution. London: Verso Books: Page 4
More London data Ordinance Survey data [Fig. 4] More London data-set comparison. Image made in collaboration withMore DeanLondon Pankhurst, 2015. data Ordinance Survey data
[Fig. 5] More London, empirical data-set. Data and image made in collaboration with Matt Williams, Michael Price and Dean Pankhurst, 2016.
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[Fig. 2] Threshold of private and public space, More London. Image: Tom Wagstaff, 2015.
[Fig. 3] CGI image and photograph of 5 Broadgate, 2015.
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Known Unknowns Exhibition
very year Goldsmiths BA Design manages to craft a degree show that continually questions the notion of design, and they do so in a viscerally physical way, with care, beauty and fearlessness. We were incredibly fortunate this year to have been given the opportunity and support to build upon what has come before and to navigate into uncharted waters, to take risks and be brave with the decisions that we made throughout the process. The original concept is woven into every aspect of the show, from the core rationale behind its constituent parts, to the tiny details. It is compartmentalised in many ways, but it is also a whole. The sheer size of the exhibition space allowed for a distinct shift in scale of the work, enabling a greater proportion of installations, interactive exhibits, performances and site specific work to be produced. The space includes a library, where the designersâ€™ contextual reports were exhibited, and were intended to be read; as well as a large cinema space that showed a selection of process films and feature length final outcomes throughout the duration of the exhibition. Navigation was facilitated by a printed guide which acted as a map when stamped with the location of projects upon entry. Also acting as an invite, this essentially replaces the traditional catalogue, which has been split into the aforementioned guide, and this book, both of which become far more useful when separated into distinct publications. When presented alongside our website, which catalogues a comprehensive body of process for each student, all of these elements combine to create a show that feels inherently different from what has come before. In keeping with the broader concept of knowledge transfer, scales of access to the projects was considered on various levels: the visual appeal of the objects themselves; a one hundred word summary of the project and concept provided context; and the opportunity to talk to the designer throughout the exhibition. We are incredibly passionate about the importance of exhibiting our work in this way. Alongside the book and website, the degree show bridges the gap between isolated academic research and the wider world. It is the only place we can have conversations about our work to industry professionals and our grandparents simultaneously. Being able to communicate to both of those demographics is strangely difficult, but essential to extracting value from what we do here. We would like to endlessly thank those who believed in what we were trying to achieve and worked tirelessly to fulfil our plans that we laid out at the beginning of the year. This list is long and populated with fantastic people, without them this would have been impossible. Dean Pankhurst
Images courtesy of Stuart Bannocks, Nicola Charlotte Bradley, Ada Cable, Evanne Kok, Tom Wicks.
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Expanded Reading, Giang An
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Species Neutral WC, Dan Hay
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Spectre of Past Futures, Issy Wright
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Forensic Cycle Planning, Matt Williams
Shifting Parliamentary Motion, Lucrecia Camiletti
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The Interconnective Skyline, Signe Greve
Women’s Work, Eve Nightingale Architectural Dictation, Elena Terrones-Huet
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Smithfeld Market: The Human Factory, Lena Asai
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HIBA, Joe Mckenzie
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I The Machine, Dean Pankhurst
Paper-Valued Politics, Justine Kusuma
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Designing Gender, Ada Cable
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Interspecies Intersections, Clare Thompson
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The Warrior Inside A Turkmen Women Revealed, Humay Meredova
After the Welcome, Alaa Alsaraji
Placebo Authortiy, Emily Sayers
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Dogs, Picnics, And Property Developers, Mark Sutherland
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Transformative Aesthetic Culture, Chloe Hooker
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State of Play, Michael Price
South Korean Superhero, Hyeongseob (Young) Shin
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More questions answered,
more questions asked.
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Material Everything Ada Cable
No design futures, design utopia now.
peculative Everything begins with a quote on the power of dreams from Stephen Duncan. Stephen Duncan, in turn, draws from George Bush, discussing his administration’s tendency to create reality. Stephen’s entire proposal, echoed in Speculative Everything, is that the “left” must create dreams of our own, alternate realities to rival those of Bush (and Trump): “we need new dreams for the twenty-first century” (Dunne and Raby, 2013). Indeed, while it is certain that the right is better at creating these fantasies than we are: walls can be built which ignore the most powerful rhetorical tools, long-standing legal tenets destroyed in the space of an interview. And when the right fails to create a dream (in the tradition of dreams, let us stick with American politics) as with Romney, Cruz, or any number of failed right-wing hopefuls, they fail. A battle of dreams is certainly taking place in our politics, and the left’s continued appeals to reality are evidently failing.
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Carving our politics into obelisks isn’t working. Insisting that “yes we can”, no basis more than words and a shepard fairey painting, is. Conjuring up Momentum is: a mythology of competence, elbow patches and a return to the golden days of Old Labour. These competing dreams are still not actually progressive. The building blocks of fantasies and futures are the past: in this, return is key. The mythologies of the right consist of xenophobic fantasies of the 50s, taken out and given a polish. Those of the left consist of the new deal, labour movements - admittedly we’ve gotten better at it since Neil Kinnock. Speculative Everything, and the design futures world in general, however proposes potential for new dreams, truly progressive ones. Weird, unanchored and free of the reaction of the past, they create utopian dreams. To my mind, few projects actually imagine new worlds, improvements or iterations worth propagandising. But the techniques and practices certainly describe possibilities that progressive designers can follow.
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However, these dreams, while useful, do not have a mechanism of action. The mechanism(s) proposed by Duncan have a specific use case: they’re great tools if you’re trying to get elected. But the situations that design fictions demand are not well suited for electoral efforts. This is an issue that’s beside the point - the work of design fiction has “little desire to become ‘real’” (Dunne and Raby, 2013). It’s a mechanism for thinking about the future, and a contribution to the public conversation. Propaganda is valuable, and a simple revolutionary argument for design fiction as a tool exists in the idea that a mass movement could be formed around a fiction, and indeed as I argued above that fictions are a non-reactionary method of creating a world to fight for. However, there has quite simply not been any evidence of fictions with this level of public appeal. The larger-scale fictions imagined by dream have a tendency to reaction, and few fictions of a large-scale progressive nature exist. None of these fictions have spread further than a lot of views on youtube. Certainly none have budding revolutionary movements. Current progressive design fiction, then, lacks a mechanism for large-scale social change. It either resorts to regressive dreaming, winning pyrrhic victories (c.f. Obama) at the ballot box, or to ineffectual posturing over abstract futures (c.f. Dunne and Raby). “Design” non-fictions There exist smaller-scale works, however, and it is in these resistance fictions that some hope can be found. These projects build on the practices of design fictions, futures and critical design, and yet go further. While some systems are happy to produce critique and let other mechanisms change the world, these projects reach out and shape reality to bring their enquiries full circle.
Liberation from dysfunction. Don’t mourn, organise. Joe Hill. I will only point to one project here - these are not arguments based on successful projects, but based on the failures of “design futures”. The work on this course of Williams and Wagstaff in their project 'Liberation from Dysfunction' (2015) shows us a way forwards. Their intervention is superficially a critical design piece. A video about the horrors of street furniture that has a second, more interesting outcome: the act of taking street furniture and subverting it. Actually changing the world, in a material way (admittedly for a small change) is not what design futures, or critical design are meant to be about: this project is all desire to become real. Nothing is more interesting in this video than the actual act of change, and it begs for more people to follow it, to change their architectures. The act is essential to the project, not incidental. Positioning of the designer With this piece, we should consider something that is not known as design, but is arguably an example of what I’m discussing: the actions of London Black Revs against similar architectures in London. While these actions lack for the sketchbooks of above, they are fundamentally similar, and indeed the actions of LBR inspired liberation from dysfunction. What then, can a designer offer the world that an activist can’t? Designers, in short, have training (or experience) in a set of skills that are perfect for changing the world. This is why we are of value to capital, and why it has trained us: for money, we make changes in society.
These skills are of course optimised for the work of capital: dark interface patterns for tricking users, dark business models for the advertising studios, sterilised and ineffectual ones for the critical studios. But they are still useful tools. With work, we can remove the master’s biases from them, and use them to destroy his house.
Thanks & cites Thanks to Milena Popova for proofreading and discussions,
Material everything Go forwards, work backwards. There are, of course, projects that have been directly changing the world by designers for decades, from novel water pumps and user interfaces on medical equipment to poster campaigns informing people of their rights. And while all design is design futures (Ward, 2014) - you’re designing a world and then creating it - these work with a fundamentally different toolkit to that of “design futures”. The tools of design futures are speculative, imaginary and open. Imagine a world, as if you don’t have to worry about making it. You then document it. If, in place of the documentation step, we remove documentation and instead insert the radicalised product design toolkit described above, we can see a circle beginning to form: from reality to fiction to reality, from present to imagined future to real present.
Dunne, A., Raby, F., 2013. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts ; London. Henley, J., 2014. London Black Revs: the radical black and Asian group that concreted over Tesco’s “anti-homeless spikes” [WWW Document]. the Guardian. URL http://www. theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/jun/13/london-blackrevs-target-tesco-anti-homeless-spikes (accessed 6.5.16). Tom, W., Matt, W., n.d. Liberation from Dysfunction. Ward, M., n.d. Lecture, goldsmiths design.
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Utopia now. Our studio (for want of a better collective noun) has had an uncomfortable reminder of how hostile this world is. It is not something that can be imagined or argued with. To do so is to give into the cloying dream of progress, slow and steady, eventually reformed, softened, so that fewer die tomorrow than died yesterday. One is too many. The quiet calm debate of design futures will not save us. We have the tools to change reality, and using these in a sandbox is complicity in the current reality. No design futures, built utopias now.
and my coursemates for three years.
We do not know everything.
Art College Degree Show Printing.
EX WHY ZED a refreshing outlook on printing
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Our practice explores the unfamiliar and complex elds of Known Unknowns. Here, design is not rigid and knowledge is unstable. The more we...
Published on Jun 29, 2016
Our practice explores the unfamiliar and complex elds of Known Unknowns. Here, design is not rigid and knowledge is unstable. The more we...