Musée des Refusés exhibition, MA Design Expanded Practice: Disrupting mass surveillance

2017 was the year the Design department at Goldsmiths launched its new, post-disciplinary MA in Design: Expanded Practice. For their first brief on the programme, students were asked to work in teams and approach museums from a different perspective: Musée des Refusés, a space in which what is rejected by museums, cultural institutions and/or by society as a whole may claim attention.

One of the teams decided to take a deeper look at mass surveillance in public spaces and how it could be disrupted. Fivos Avgerinos, Riya Gokharu, Wonji Jeong, Erin Liu and Anastasiya Vodolagina created masks that can ‘trick’ facial recognition software used in surveillance cameras, and in the process, help us question why we have become so accepting of mass surveillance in the first place.

What does the mask do, exactly?

Erin: “Biometric facial recognition works by mapping certain landmarks onto your face which are called nodal points, measuring the distance between the eyes, the width of the nose, the shape of the cheekbones and the shape of the jawline. The mask tricks facial recognition software into believing those landmarks are elsewhere, which gives them false results.”Read More »

MA alumna writes about her experience as artist in residence in Taipei

Alumna Wendy Lau (MA Design: Critical Practice 2017) recently spent six weeks as artist in residence for the Guandu International Nature Art Festival in Taipei, alongside several international artists. Wendy wrote to us about the experience and its significance to her life and career:

“I have learned and experienced so much in this residency, in both aspects of my profession and personal philosophy. Designing creations for a nature park was a new challenge for me, because I had to consider artwork existing in an outdoor context as well as using on-site materials which should not be harmful to that environment. There were limitations at the beginning, but then I managed to turn them into my inspiration, and re-directed my initial approach to a more explorative one.Read More »

Dewi Uridge on the process of making this year’s Goldsmiths Prize trophy

BA Design student Dewi Uridge, who created this year’s Goldsmiths Prize trophy (eventually won by Nicola Barker), provides us with some insight into his process:

“I was fortunate to be asked to design and make the trophy for this year’s Goldsmiths Prize. I had one guideline to stick by: to ensure the logo of the award was present. The shape of the logo was discovered from an eighteenth century novel by Tristram Shandy, and was created to represent the movement of a wand swaying in the air.

I wanted to transform the shape from its two-dimensional quality to a 3D object. I began by drawing the shape on Rhinoceros (a CAD software) to create it into a 3D form. I extruded and pulled different parts of the original shape to make it more ‘life-like’, and once I had the shape 3D-printed, I was able to visualise what potential the shape had to then turn into a trophy.Read More »

Goldsmiths Design Festival 2017: Refugeoly

At this year’s Goldsmiths Design Festival, alumnus and current studio manager Vinny Montag presented “Refugeoly”, a game based on Monopoly and designed by Vinny and his collaborator Jon Halls. The purpose of the project is to provide the player with a simulation of the difficulties refugees go through in their journey towards a safe haven. You can now watch the full presentation online:

But why Monopoly? What is the purpose of the game and what kind of reactions does it hope to get from its players? Vinny and Jon explain in more detail:

Vinny: The objective of this project is to create awareness about the situation of thousands of people living in a dramatic situation, people that have not chosen to leave their countries of origin, but simply have to flee in order to save their lives. We do not have a specific target audience for this project, in fact we have played Refugeoly with all kinds of people, of all ages and of different status. We have experienced many kinds of reactions. The hardest one is possibly when we have played with children, some of them left the game halfway through, telling us that it is impossible to win and why is this happening…For other people that had not idea of the circumstances that a refugee has to go through, the game was simply the best way to be in the shoes of a refugee.Read More »