This year’s Design Degree Show, “The Milk Has Turned Against Us”, opens to the public on 14 June at Copeland Park in Peckham. In the weeks leading to the show, we’re giving you a peek at the work that will be on display. Today, we’re highlighting the graduation project of Noriyoshi Bernard Hitachi:
“My project began with investigating the question “Why can’t icons last forever?” a supposition predicated on the notion of longevity and tension between iconicity and ephemerality. Contextually belonging to the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (1979), designers investigated how the present would use icons to visually communicate risk and danger to the future. In order to define the boundaries of what an icon is, I initially looked at graffiti as it were an abundant and accessible urban icon. However, over the course of the project, I identified that cultures and rituals are more effective iconic entities, since the vehicle itself implicates the necessity for active maintenance in its preservation, therefore proposing that ways of preserving meaning and communicating ideas over time belong not within objects but in repetition of behaviors and actions.
Iconicity is built from the repetitive behaviors of collective ephemeral actions. Having this as a foundation, I used the graffiti artist as an urban performer, an anonymous character that people play into. In this role, the choices that are made are merely in accordance with how people expect a graffiti artist to act. I created the robe as a catalyst object, a costume that allows users to belong within a larger collective narrative and performance of graffiti. I am interested in this particular relationship between the graffiti and robe as an ephemeral object, and the performance of graffitti-ing as an iconic behaviour. The aim of the project is to unfold this question through creating a series of objects that interact within the space and generate points tension.”