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 year, the Design department awarded two bursary places on the scheme to 2018 graduates; one of the winners is Ash Baigent, who will use her time in the workshops to continue her work designing and making unique skateboards.
Ash has been skateboarding since she was ten, and is now part of an all girl skate crew called Nefarious, who she met three years ago. There are few skateboarding women in the media, and even fewer (if any) are manufacturing their own skateboard decks. In fact, as Ash explains, skaters in England usually use decks imported from China or the US, and the designs can often be offensive or degrading towards women. The Goldsmiths graduate is keen to work on both the gender equality and the sustainability aspect of her favourite activity: she wants to bring more women to skateboarding and to encourage them to design their own decks. She’s also interested in making the decks themselves cheaper and more environmentally friendly, by experimenting with local, British wood instead of the usual American maple.
D//U//A//T, the BA Design final project by Charlie Witter and Tom Gavriel, resulted in a musical performance unlike any other at this year’s graduation show. You can watch the performance in the video above, but what’s the idea and the process behind it? Tom explains:
“The performance was the culmination of a chaotic passage through a shared project which deals with mythic patterns and unconscious wanderings.
Charlie and Tom started to work together once a week by making t-shirts based on characters they would meet along their travels; this would later become an integral part of their practice. In order to further bring their stories and characters to life, they enlisted a group of musicians over Gumtree to become the troubadours of their tales. This group included superhero rapper Mr.Grimez, actor Frederick Roll, guitarist Vitaly Yasinsky and Richard Winstanley from ‘Baffy the Band’. In the first session they entered blindly, with no musical experience, but have become excited about the creation of spectacle and noise.
The creation and seeking out of weird and eerie artefacts has also driven their practice, and for Frederick, the lead tragedian of the tale, backed by his travelling band, they have created a sonic trolley which records and projects cosmic sounds into ordinary spaces.
Moving forward, we are excited to announce this is our first contact made with reality, and there is plenty more to come. D//U//A//T are looking for a band manager, money and the final couple of members for the travelling band to join us on our voyage into the unconscious.
We would also like to thank all of the members of staff at Goldsmiths Design Department – this has only been possible due to the freedom of exploration fuelled within the course.
Finally; we are crazy and we’re not going anywhere.”
At last week’s BA Design show M-O-D, visitors had the chance to see an unique eight-minute performance, designed by Liakike Robi for her graduation project and performed by Tru Peñate. #Habitus is a performative dance installation about social media and how it increasingly occupies our daily life, subconsciously affecting our mood and behaviour. Here is the designer herself explaining how the project came to be:
Why did you decide to design a dance performance for your final project?
“I was just following my intuition and passion for dance. At the end of my second year at Goldsmiths University, I knew I wanted to work with dancers for my final project. I’ve also always wanted to continue my practice as a designer in the field of stage and set design. So it made sense to me that the outcome should be something that would combine these two. I had a quite clear vision of what my project had to look like, however, the concept for the performance was more complicated.”
Do you have any experience with dance yourself?
“Before coming to London I was in one dance company back in Lithuania, while on the side collaborating with local artists creating performances in gallery spaces. Here in London, I still go to various dance classes, like breaking, new style hustle, house or jazz. Of course, the preparation for the exhibition and exam slowed down my own practice.”
What was it like to work on designing the performance with your performer?
“Working with another person with a different background is absolutely amazing. On this design course, we are encouraged to work in groups and collaborate. The challenging part of this project was showing that a dance performance can also be a design project- and building a language between me and the dancer, building the piece and making her see the project more as a designer, rather than a dancer.”
The 2018 BA Design show MOD opens next week in Peckham, bringing you this year’s batch of innovative graduation projects pushing the boundaries of design. Here is another peek:
“Ananya Patel’s project Reclayming Territory is mapped around the position of traditional, cultural craft in a world driven by modern, westernised design. The project began with an interest in a ceramic studio, the Ceramic Centre, in her hometown in India, which became a platform to explore the agency of craft as a vehicle of social empowerment and decolonisation. This contextualised the work in the wider polemics of colonisation and the hegemonic relationship between the coloniser and the colonised, which is explored specifically through the connection between India and Britain.
This investigation takes place through a dual practice. One part involves material experimentation with clay, a process generated by craft methodologies in India. The other involves extensive research into archives and colonial historiography, which is then used to inform the objects made from clay. The clay is collected from the River Thames in London before being transported to the Ceramic Centre in India for making objects. The river acts as the thread that weaves these sites and histories into a narrative that highlights the spiritual, cultural and political role of the river in shaping civilisation and empire, and the design process developed around the physical exchange of clay between the two countries becomes a metaphor that highlights the notion of stolen, borrowed and shared territory.
Patel brings together both aspects of her practice in focusing on a particular act of decolonisation in British Indian history, through which the hierarchy was challenged. In telling this narrative, she developed a portable archive of decolonised historiography. It is built through collaborating and starting conversations with the institutions and individuals who contributed to the collection of research, and through engaging Indian craft practitioners in making ceramic objects that historically mobilised social, political and cultural liberation. The collection was set up as a pop-up archive at sites along the Thames where the London clay was collected, and was used to generate conversations about colonisation and to document the significance of decolonisation to various individuals and communities in today’s sociocultural landscape.”
See more work from the show on the MOD Instagram account. The show will be open to the public 8-10 June at Unit 8 Copeland Park in Peckham. The Press and Industry private view takes place on the evening of 7 June.