Bringing film worlds to life: Interview with alumna Elaine Xu, production designer

If you have a UK Netflix or US HBO Max subscription, you may stumble upon a charming short film called “Dolapo is fine”, in which a young Black girl faces pressure to change her natural hair and her name. Goldsmiths alumna Elaine Xu (BA Design 2018) was the production designer for the film,  her second job in cinema and one of her many skills alongside curation, design consulting or marketing. But what is a production designer exactly, what do they do, and what kind of abilities do you need for it? Elaine talks about working in this field and others, and how her Goldsmiths experience helped her career:

Elaine on the set of "Dolapo is fine"
Elaine on the set of “Dolapo is fine”. Photo by Helen Murray, helenmurrayphotos.com

How did you become a production designer for films?

I’ve always liked building sets. My third year project at Goldsmiths was about cultural conservation, how to preserve intangible culture before it disappears completely, and the final presentation at the degree show was a Chinese Tea Ceremony installation. My tutor at the time was Nick Mortimer, who worked a lot in theater and provided me with a lot of knowledge on building sets. Production design for film was a surprise pathway.  When a friend asked me to work on the production design for a short film in Tuscany [Drowned, directed by Daria Kocherova], at first I hesitated because I didn’t have any experience in films, but I decided to give it a go anyway. Continue reading “Bringing film worlds to life: Interview with alumna Elaine Xu, production designer”

Playful communication devices designed by the Interaction Research Studio keep you connected with loved ones

Yo-Yo machines prototypes

The Interaction Research Studio have recently launched Yo-Yo Machines, a project developed with UK Covid 19 research funding to support people separated from friends and family and help them maintain connections while they are physically separated by pandemic restrictions.

The devices are very low cost (around £25 a pair) and people can build them at home by following simple instructions (like a recipe) to assemble off-the-shelf components. They can be made with paper plates, cereal boxes, jam jars and other household items. Continue reading “Playful communication devices designed by the Interaction Research Studio keep you connected with loved ones”

Found in Translation: Yue Qiu

This year’s MA in Design: Expanded Practice degree show, “Found in Translation” is taking place online starting December 7th until the end of the month. The Design blog is taking a closer look at some of the work created by the class of 2020; today, Yue Qiu (Rachel).

A simulation of cutting the cucumber

What’s your project about in a nutshell? 

In brief, this project is about using the cucumber as the primary tool to explore the complexity of the world, especially engaging this element in different dimensions as well as the time and space, and building simulacra in various kinds of ways. Meanwhile, it is about doing unconscious training and exploring the correlated action logic, as well as looking for my methodology of creation, combining the framework of “Orders of Simulacra” by Jean Baudrillard, and designing a website as my outcome to organize the whole process. Continue reading “Found in Translation: Yue Qiu”

Found in Translation: Priscillia Chauveau

This year’s MA in Design: Expanded Practice degree show, “Found in Translation” is taking place online starting December 7th until the end of the month. The Design blog is taking a closer look at some of the work created by the class of 2020; today, Priscillia Chauveau.

Priscillia Chauveau

What’s your project about in a nutshell?

My project is about music, objects and interaction. I called it “From digital to analogue”. It is working on different levels. It is looking at materiality, sound and layers. When I was doing my project, my main common thread was experimentation. My show is about challenging the vision, the hearing and the feelings of my audience. It should be a participative show, performed by spectators. Continue reading “Found in Translation: Priscillia Chauveau”