On 11 July, MA Design Expanded Practice students displayed in the MA Studios the outcome of their work on the 10 week-long project “Pataphysical Responses to the Most Urgent and Intractable Problems of Our Age”, in a show titled “HA HA! (Hinting At Having Alternatives!)”.
An Ouvroir de Design Potentielle (OuDePO – Laboratory/Workshop of Design Potentiality) was instituted in the Design Department. The OuDePo was formed to initiate a pataphysical curriculum in order to have a playful, yet critical purchase on design and designing- and, in particular, the part design plays in enacting neo-liberal programmes.
The quixotic programme of ‘pataphysical design’ effects deviance, disruption and, ultimately seeks to detour what is deemed the ‘proper’ way to think, imagine and act in design practice; it does so in order to circumvent the blocks (blocs) produced by design orthodoxies, finding ‘alternative’ methods and ‘imaginary solutions’ (of which pataphysics is the science).
The work presented in the show issues from thirteen ouvroirs (laboratories), which were formed to research, explore and propose responses to the most stubborn (intractable) and pressing, urgent (used ironically or seriously) problems and questions of the day.
Here are a few examples of the projects on display:
Ethical Botany and Cultivated Elysiums (Team: Keer Wei, Wei Peng, Yaoyao Tang)
The program of this ouvroir is to explore the increasingly important spiritual-ethical bond between the plant world and the human world. In this instance, the concept of the divine force of nature was used for a pataphysical program tackling the plastic islands of the Atlantic currents. The ouvroir developed an apparatus that afforded the opportunity to mix human breath (chi) and mycellium spores and introduce the mixture into 1) a rubber-duck like float that would take up to a year floating on the ocean currents before reaching the plastic island and/or 2) duck egg-like bombs that could be thrown from a passing ship or dropped from a plane directly on it. In both cases the objects are designed to release the spiritual-botanic mixture so that it may start to grow on and/or attack the plastics that are accumulating in our oceans and which, pose a threat to ocean life forms and, ultimately, humanity.
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The Graduate Design Scheme is an opportunity for Goldsmiths Design graduates to return on campus and work on their own projects: for a fee, they can use a studio space, the workshops, and book machinery. This academic year, Rada Lewis (BA Design 2010) came back to Goldsmiths to develop a personal project based on a Bulgarian folk tale with political connotations about revenge, unity and how we can learn to live with each other.
Rada is bringing to life the “The Wolf and His Victims” through puppets constructed primarily out of paper; the outcome of the project will be a book and, ultimately, a stop-motion animated film. You can read the story and see images from the project on Rada’s website.
On how the project started:
“My work has always been text-based, I’m interested in text – fiction as well as non-fiction. I am from Bulgaria, and my sister sent me some Bulgarian folk stories she found extremely amusing, just for a laugh. I read this and I thought, I need to draw it. So first I started drawing it with pencils, then I started making the characters out of paper. I like making paper sculptures, so this felt natural and comfortable for me.”Read More »
As in previous years, the trophy for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize for fiction was designed and made by Goldsmiths Design students. This year’s designers Maja Nordblom and Samuel Warren describe the process of creating the trophy:
“After being commissioned to design and make the trophy for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize, we began discussing and drawing out possible designs. We realised quite quickly what materials and compositions we could utilise in order for our trophy to stand out and most importantly be unique from previous years. Therefore, we decided to focus on casting, incorporating a metal structure and weight to the trophy. We wanted the final object to not include a base, rather making it unique as a free standing sculptural object. We realised the incorporation of metal dusts into the casting process gave the piece enough weight and stability alone. The form of the object is the official logo of the literary prize, which before this year had only been incorporated as a smaller part of the trophy itself.Read More »
Starting this year, MA students in the Design department have the use of new studio spaces based in the Lewisham & Southwark College (LESOCO) campus at Deptford Bridge, a short walk from the main Goldsmiths campus. (Design students shouldn’t be too worried about missing out on the Goldsmiths vibe and connections: the MFA in Fine Art studios are also based at LESOCO.) On the day these photos were taken, the new studios were already abuzz with activity and work in progress.
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