dossier Rachel Hernรกndez Pumarejo last update: May 2009
Overview In the recent years, I’ve engaged in professional design practice, including an intership at the Contemporary Art Museum of Puerto Rico, and collaborative work as co-founder of a design group. Simultaneously, I’ve been completing art projects within my MA in Theory and Practice of Transnational Art at Camberwell College of Art and Design, BFA in Image and Design, at Escuela de Artes Plásticas, in Puerto Rico and at the International Exchange Program in Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design. This dossier contains a selection of projects with respective descriptions and documentation.
work in progress
This is an action-based project in which a mobile number (and a blog-type website) were activated in order to explore the possibility of empathy within an everyday basis. The purpose of the mobile number was for everyone to be able to call and have a conversation in which the receiver would maintain an empathic attitude towards the speaker. Examples of propaganda were prototyped, but not produced as of yet.
Left to right: An example of promotion and placement of the propaganda, in a gorrilla style, on the tube stations. A screen of the website (http://07506509271. blogspot.com) which is still active.
newsletter printed application
While working as a designer in the university’s design agency, the creative team redesigned the university’s newsletter into an american classic style newsletter. This design style was meant to appeal to a those who could cooperate financially on the university’s behalf. The newsletter “Artefacto” highlighted the departments within the university, along with institutional news and faculty, student and alumni’s professional accomplishments.
Left to right: The relationship between the cover page and the main spread was one of the major improvements of this redesign.
Caribe China: Ventana a la modernidad (2008) exhibition design
In collaboration with primary designer Arthur Asseo, designers Mayela Mercedes, María Maldonado, and art director María de Mater O’Neill, a Vega Baja based china factory, excelled with its modern designs. Numerous puertorican workers participated in various states of the china production process. The design was parallel to a book presentation about the history of the factory. The exhibition was accessible to deaf and blind individuals.
Left to right: Six wall panels and two table panels designed with Braille were assembled into the exhibition room. Blind people were able ro â€œreadâ€? the paragraphs in each panel.
Left to right: There were three china displays on the exhibition. Each one of them had a specific kind of china, parallel to some of the wall panels, as each of them had a different theme/ concept. People enjoyed the haptic properties of the exhibition, as it was closer to bodily experience than standard exhibitions.
Left to right: The factory workers were able to relive their own history by visiting the exhibition. One of the panels that were designed according to the specific themes covered in the book “Caribe China: Ventana a la modernidad” by José Luis González.
Las Chichudas (2006)
booklet printed application
This project was the start of the excess body mass period, as the colloquial term â€œchichudasâ€? would show. A story about two overweight performers leading a double life: full of confidence and joy on stage, but confusing, frustrated and agitated in real life. The design process approach was to illustrate the story in a clear and simple way. It was also designed to be printed in two colors.
Left to right: The schematic illustration was the one of the main elements of the booklet. An example of a page layout.
Overall: An example of a typography-based layout.
“clasificación de excesos” (2006) digital illustration, 7 - 18” x 24”
This project shows a series of illustrations in which strategic areas within men and women’s bodies who are more prone to excess weight than others are shown in a schematic, blue-print like style. This classification system points out popular terms for those areas, used socially. Some of these names can be offensive or degrading towards overweight and obese people. An example of this could be if a woman has a fat belly, she could be called or asked if she’s pregnant.
Left to right: The classification system symbology consisted of using typographic glyphs to differenciate womenâ€™s and menâ€™s names towards specific areas of their overabundant anatomy.
“communicating the communicaring” (2008) installation, 15’ x 8’ x 8’
The purpose of this installation was for the spectator to empathize with the obese population, and feeling a propotional dimension within a specific space. Three rooms were conceptualized and built in order to fulfill this purpose. Anthropometric measurements of comfort zones and haptic elements, such as the material on the inside walls, were taking in consideration in the production phase of this project.
Left to right: A bundle of wooden frames were built to hold the core structure of the piece. A portion of the structure is risen to try the covering elements (vinyl and styrene).
Left to right: Using the router to make several incisions on wooden sticks so the wood panel â€œribsâ€? would be easily inserted, and at the same time, stable. Cutting masonite boards to create the templates needed to cut wood panels mass-production like.
video documental piece
This documental video piece shows an interview to mexican-puertorican poet Esteban Valdés, who wrote the poem “Soneto de las Estrellas”. He was being asked about Stefane Mallarmé and his contibution to concrete poetry, art and design with the poem “Coup de res”. The purpose of the project was to work with systems within a chance operation. The peak of the project was to discover that Valdés was currently working a piece around Mallarme’s “Coup de res”.
Left to right: Both poems, Sonnet of the Stars and a Cup of Dice, converge into this “constellation & stars” mix that’s visually and conceptually compelling. Valdés shows his current work, where he takes Mallarme’s Cup of Dice into a three-dimensional phase.
This video piece is a phenomenological exercise and exploration of the embodiment by an inanimate element such as dirt. The imagery in the video would be looked from the “eyes” of dirt itself, in an attempt to identify and understand that particular position.
video art project
Left to right: The two stills show different scenarios in which dirt would live and carry itself upon.
“Joyce says Eithou” (2009) poster design
The design social network Design21 launched a competition for UNESCO, in which a poster will be chosen for the International Mother Language Day, held in France on 21 February 2009. The theme for this year was “Languages matter”. Taking Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake” and Jorge Luis Borges’ “Joyce y los neologismos”, in which the neologism “Eithou” is a combination of Either, I and Thou, in which these words are derived, like sons from their mother.
Hotel Excelsior Typeface (2007-09) work in progress
Ernie Potvin designed the logo for the Hotel Excelsior in the 1960s. He just designed the letters the name of the hotel is composed of. María de Mater O’Neill was authorised by the hotel’s owner to complete the alphabet, and asked Arthur Asseo, María Maldonado, Mayela Mercedes, and myself, to work with her in this project and to aboard this duty bringing the look and feel (spirit as well) of Excelsior to our present time.
Left to right: The completed alphabet of the regular version of Hotel Excelsior. Trying how the typeface responds to upper and lowercase with The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog. Below: A comparison of the original logo and the contemporary outlook on Hotel Excelsior typeface (in opacity, cyan).
Ivonne MarĂa Marcial (2007-08) work in progress
Ivonne MarĂa Marcial is an architect and photographer, besides doing architectural photography as well. She needed her own website to show her work. The design approach was to design a showcase, editorial visual tone to portrait the work, within a minimalistic style.
Left to right: A color coded menu is placed to accentuate the monochromatic palette of the website. A breadcrumbs system was used as an accesibility tool.
“Lee Thomas Carpenter” (2008-09) video art project collaboration
This video piece is an example of how the notion of empathy can be applied in a specific narrative. The woman with a tragic story is shown with an “empathic gaze” from the producer of the video, who uses the camera as a tool for acknowledging the empathy felt for the woman. This is an example of my current thesis, in which the personal ethical position of the producer (artist, designer, architect) has key importance in the methods and processes of the work.
Left to right: The real grave of a Lee Thomas Carpenter was the catalyst for the development of the story. The use of objects, atmosphere and colour to present the emotion as an aim for the spectator to empathise with the character was pivotal in the production of this video.
“la libreta blanca” (2007)
intervention, 9” x 12”
This project served as an intervention on a white sketchbook in which my thoughts about drawing were reflected in an emotional state of mind. It was also a diary of an alternated state of consciousness, visceral and spontaneous. The name of white notebook or libreta blanca serves its purpose just as a black canvas does, without noise, the “thing” that Heidegger states comes across.
The Office of Marvel and Marchand Architects (2008) accessible website
In collaboration with primary designers Mayela Mercedes and María Maldonado, designer Arthur Asseo, and art director María de Mater O’Neill, an accessible website was designed and programmed for the architectural office of Marvel and Marchand. The website was meant to portrait the legacy of Thomas Marvel, the renowned architect of the municipality of Bayamón’s Hall House, among others. The Office recently restored La Concha Hotel.
Left to right: A timeline was designed and programmed to show numerous examples of The Officeâ€™s various types of projects. The metaphor to show each project was to enhance the builing, giving it a starring role with its conceptualization, hence the sketch as a first view of each one of the projects.
video art project
Plural was triggered as an exercise in which a narrative was prompt to surge within a specific environment. London was the most available setting for the development of this piece, which deals with the notion of empathy in a conceptual way. Using everyday, non-staged events, while contrasting with a semiautobiographical narrative, the clash of caring and noncaring become visible in this piece.
Left to right: The phrase “I’m with you” goes back to the notion of empathy, of putting oneself in the position of the other. The character who seems to lack empathy demonstrates so with her body language.
â€œtestimonials of excessâ€? (2007) video art project
This video piece shows different lectures on being uncomfortable with excess body mass in a social environment. The visual and auditory elements of this four-minute video reflect this state with fake sign language, spanish-language testimonies translated with unprecise and incomplete english captions to an english-speaking public. But the most uncomfortable situation resided in the fact that these testimonies presented by models without excess body mass.
Left to right: In order to promote confusion and, therefore, uncomfortableness to the spectator, fake sign language was presented. The modelâ€™s expressions were very contrasted from the audio testimonials.
Printed versions of this dossier may be available upon request. ÂŠ 2006-2009