Tag Archives: degree show

Goldsmiths at New Designers 2011

I found the Goldsmiths stand 15 minutes before I had to leave for work. Can’t tell you how much I regret that! When I came in, I found them singing a song that they had written in response to a brief. The brief was something along the lines of ‘help me file my stuff because I’m really messy’. I love it that they wrote a song instead of designing a filing cabinet, which is what most students at New Designers would do. I think I’d be more likely to write a song than design a filing cabinet for that sort of problem now too – I’ve been Goldsmithsified! I don’t think other designers quite understand the value of that thinking.

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Nottingham Trent Degree Shows

I went up to Nottingham to see my ex-fellow students’ graduate shows. There were some impressive things, some normal stuff, and some awful stuff. I find that the more I see, the less I’m impressed with. If I think I know how to do it and it wouldn’t be too hard then I don’t get too impressed. I am impressed at a high level of craft/skill or idea. Mediocreness in both once disappointed me, and now is beginning to be normal – you can’t be disappointed if you didn’t expect anything more.

The awful stuff was what came out of the design for film and TV course. It was more like A-level standard, or maybe Foundation, but certainly not degree level. Their ideas were mostly unimaginative and not well communicated. I know from having had friends on that course that they spend much time building the models. They would do well to develop skills other than that on their course.

The impressive stuff was from the Theatre Design graduates and the Graphics graduates. There was a very high standard of work for the most part of each of their courses, with only a few that weren’t worth looking at. In fact, I liked some of the graphic designers’ work so much that I’ve asked some of them to work with me on my Adopt-a-Grandma project.

Now, some friends’ work: Hannah Stevens makes lovely handcrafted and handprinted bags and other objects. A true craftsperson. If you’re ever stuck for a present for a female friend, think of her.

Thomas Moore is an artist who makes sometimes grotesque creatures that are meant to stir the viewer’s imagination. His piece in the graduate show was a series of three creatures made of wires, polystyrene and other man made materials. If you want to be slightly disturbed or disgusted by art, he’s the one you want!

Fergus Woods, a photographer, documented a family’s life where most of their members were disabled. He made a book of the photos and wove it into a written narrative that worked very well. Out of everything I saw from the graduate shows, this was the piece that stirred the most emotionally.

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Goldsmiths Degree Show

The Goldsmiths Design Degree show was in the Nickolls & Clarke building near Shoreditch Town Hall. It’s my favourite design space; Designersblock used it for a few years. It’s a sprawl of ex-warehouse, rough and ready type rooms on different levels, and of varying sizes. There is no obvious way to walk around the space, so it’s perfect for large collectives of designers without hierarchy because the viewers look at everything randomly.

The work the Goldsmiths students did was mostly excellent. The problem was that their ideas were often so complicated, they could not be communicated quickly. After having concentrated on 15 different ideas and how the students approached them, it’s difficult to take in any more – especially during a private view with free alcohol and socialising to do!

Their booklet was in fact a collection of A4 posters, one per student, folded in half and held together with a big rubber band. Consequently you have to take it apart to see the work. I hope we don’t do that for my graduation. I don’t think it’s a very good idea. People want to keep things together for reference – or at least I do, and I assume other people do that too.

A highlight of the evening was Henry Flitton‘s Morris dancing. Apparently it is legal for Morris dancers to dance anywhere in the UK without a license. There is a video of the 6 of them doing it in Trafalgar Square, with two ukelele players. They did two songs for us live – it was just right, they didn’t play for too long. Henry’s project was about reclaiming culture – this also involved making his own beer and chocolate, which he was more precious about people eating than his signs had let on. ‘Please steal me’ next to beer bottles when the bar’s run dry is going to lead to some beer bottles being stolen.

Another project that really worked was Matt House’s project about copying. He made a video about how he got other design students to copy the Phillipe Stark Juicy Salif in the style of a third design student. Some nice video editing and visual communication. He got a room all to himself (I wonder how he got that) and set up a table with chairs on either side. He sat on one of the chairs with a bowler hat on, and behind him was a backdrop of the background of that surrealist painting. He had an apple on the table too. There was a sign that said ‘sit down opposite me’ or something to that effect. As soon as you did something, he would copy it a split second later, be it words or gestures. It was a little unnerving! But a good piece of interactive art, if you can call it that.

Memorably, someone grew his own crickets and covered them with chocolate and served them. I was going to eat one… after a bit of egging on from my friends… but I held it by the leg and the leg snapped and the chocolate bit dropped to the floor. Now, if I were to do that project, I’d make half of them how he did – chocolate (lightly) dipped crickets – and the other half as chocolates with a cricket inside them so you can’t see it. People eat with their eyes to a certain extent. It would have been interesting to see how much more popular the smothered crickets were to the dipped crickets. The designer was a bit annoyed that I didn’t eat the cricket after all… he’d probably been dealing with that all evening. But what did he expect, really, it’s a cultural thing! Designing a micro farm for crickets and calling that a project is not enough. It doesn’t really challenge why we don’t eat bugs here, and that was meant to be the intention of his project.

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