Thank you to shed 10 for hosting such a fine show. There is a show catalogue that is well work the $25 price tag.
Arriving all in good order we were treated to a really well humored visual feast that culturally could only be eclipsed by our school end of year graduation exhibition. The exhibition though is best described though the words of the organisers themselves, courtesy of http://www.ifa.de
The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa) and curator Volker Albus have prepared the exhibition somewhat different. Contemporary Design and the Power of Convention which shows selected examples of this design phenomenon. The great diversity of designs diverging from the conventional is illustrated by 106 different items and a total of one hundred and forty-eight objects by sixty-seven individual designers and studios, forty-seven of them based in Germany and twenty in other European countries. The exhibition discusses the objects in terms of function, materials, construction and content references.
The bookshelf, the Persian rug, the easy chair: these generic terms alone trigger associations relating to the structural, decorative and configurative aspects of the objects. This is why designers deliberately subvert their general, conventional understanding to reveal their absurdity. The designs do not only provoke astonishment, but challenge one to reflect on general expectations, codes of behaviour as well as the referential context of firmly established notions, and to review traditional fixations. For it is these ‘breaks with the power of convention’ that in their causality document the far-reaching socio-cultural changes which we currently witness in all areas of our daily lives and which manifest themselves in key phenomena such as mobility, migration, changing nutritional habits and many more.
The exhibition illustrates the international aspect of this discourse on contemporary design in two respects. First, it complements the works of the forty-seven German designers and design partnerships with examples by twenty foreign designers from Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. And second, ifa invites every institution wishing to host the exhibition to add objects by designers from its own country who have approached ‘conventional’ design tasks in a somewhat different way.
Each work was minimally presented on black plinths with hand writing in white chalk crediting the designer, the title, and most importantly the expected intent and the difference created by designer. The show is on until the end of next week, if you are in Auckland, it would be your loss to miss it. Each caption for the images encompasses the designers name and the difference that each object provokes.
As the anticipation builds with Katrin, Simon, and myself so too our students sense of uncertainty. Our groups after having a night to stew in their own juices became more cautious. Further ideas have been work-shopped spanning a range of materials from mirrors to thermite, ready-made furniture to a heady mix of philosophical discourse.
Where does that leave the students, Katrin, and the facilitators? By the time for lunch easy it could be stated that all were on the cusp and therefore ready for a break-through.
Luckily after lunch we had a wee outing to Shed 10 in the city…..
It went so fast! Although our afternoon session went from 3 to 4.30 there was plenty of speaking to be done from the groups. There were a few times when Katrin asked the workshop participants to think their ideas over some more this evening. So in respect of that at the moment here is what happened on paper collaboratively. At this ideation phase we believe that there are no bad ideas. What is shown thus is ideas in their raw form; the afternoon in pictures (pitches).
After a deserved coffee break, our groups presented their first findings and two sentence central proposition. Each of the groups devised some interesting points of view which we see as following. Apologies for the lack of creativity for the group names.
Group A: Ben, Tamsin, Christine, Mark.
Definition: A label for that which is outside perception. A label of the mind rather than a real thing.
Group B: Jonathan L, Nikkel, Guy, Ruben.
Definition: The Antipodes are opposite to, and derived from an other. the Antipodes are defined by the expanse between.
Group C: Jonathan C, Ratema, Nick, Alisha
Definition: A definition of opposites that requires a shared context between two elements. One foot in both camps.
Group D: James, Campbell, Marcel, Haley
Definition: Unfamiliarities either drawing curiosity or indifference. Presenting a situation of adoption or rejection.
After a gradually warming discussion about the merits and challenges surrounding these definitions we broke for lunch. During that time the students were directed to further develop these ideas and to start to map ideas that could manifest from these statements.
Comfortably the students sorted themselves into 4 groups, as planned with each group consisting of Graphic, Product and Contemporary Craft students. After a brief introduction from Mr. Kim Meek, Katrin presented her single word idea to the students and spoke of the structure for the upcoming week. From today until thursday our time-table looks like this:
Monday am: Introduction and framing of the territory
pm: Development toward physical artifacts
Location Building 1: Room 1052
Tuesday am: Further Development of ideas feedback from afternoon session
pm: Site visit the Somewhat Different Show in Shed 10 in the city.
late: Shared meal.
Locations: Building 1, Shed 10, Albert Street
Wednesday am: Workshop on developments.
pm: Discussions on work in progress.
late: Shared meal
Location: Building 76, workshops and Karangahape Road.
Thursday am: Pin-up and preparation for exhibition opening, finalization of work.
pm: Final critique of work.
5.30: Exhibition opening
After defining the tasks ahead, the students set about discovering their shared meanings of the word Antipodes and from that based of shared knowledge then developing a two sentence group definition of where their work will progress from.
This is a collaborative project with German product designer Kristin Sonnleitner. She is currently here at Unitec in Auckland thanks to the Semi-Permanent conference that was held on the 20th and 21st of August. Considering herself as an artist|designer (she stipulates it being a single word) Katrin is here to work with a limited selection of students from the design department to produce a cross-discipline approach to a set brief.
The brief? One word. Antipodes.
Our first piece of fun (with the lecturers at least) is the pronunciation of the word. Firstly as two words, anti and podes (latin: meaning different feet), or with stress on the ‘tip’ to take a colonial point of view. We have had 16 students sign up to this workshop distributed between 3 path ways. Our student mix per group is: 2 Graphic Design Students 1 Product Design Student 1 Contemporary Craft Student
Still in our first morning session, our students are developing what their definition of Anti-pode | Antipode is, what it means, how they fit into within that matrix. First presentation is 12.00 this afternoon…