My Curatorial Project proposal

The general idea is to curate a hypothetical but realistic project, in this case a first-hand experience for people, about what is like to have new abilities.  More specifically, what is like to be a cyborg.

As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, a cyborg is a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.

The idea was born because of my interest in new developments regarding the extension of our human abilities throughout the use of technology. Every time I browsed I’d find a different thing, in a different place: a research in America, a new cyborg in Spain or a high tech solution for a problem in some other place. The fact is that at a certain point I imagined what would it be like to have them all in one place. Then I imagined more, what would it be like to be able to experience them first-hand. This is how I ended up researching for cyborg related events but didn’t find anything more then conferences. The idea was born.

The experience is set in a futuristic city, to provide a full immersion experience and to amplify the excitement of senses for the visitor. It is designed both for experts of sector as for someone totally unaware about human progress in technological activities but curious and willing to explore them. For both young and old. The city would be built in small scale (2-3 floor building high) and on an extension large as a small neighbourhood of a few streets to freely walk around. Where we imagine that the shops would be located would instead be single ‘rooms’, each providing the experience of a different ability.

Then, the experience as a whole, would be located in a central position of a large city in order to be visible for the citizens and almost advertise it self.

Here is an example of a futuristic city:

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Whether somebody is for or against technology, the final purpose of this experience is to make everybody aware of what is happening in the world and technology is a huge component of it. And anyway we are already late to the party. Futurist and head of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil, predicted that by 2030 we will be part humans and part machines. For example we’ll be able to connect directly our brain to the cloud without an interface.

Most of the expert of the sector talk about this abilities as extensions of our body as it is the case of our smart phones or computers.  And there are people out there as for example Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas that are already living as cyborgs. Neil was born colour blind and has an antenna implanted into his skull that translates colours into vibrations.

Each ‘ability’ actually was born as a solution to a biological malfunction, as in Neil’s example, then extended to improve existing features and eventually add new ones.

It is simply fascinating.

Self-Reflection on first term

Avramescu Anda Self-Reflection on the first term of Subject – Making Connections

Once given our subject brief I went directly to the library and began my research through a dozen of books from all market areas, fashion, interior and stationery. I have to admit that besides fashion, which happens to be the most popular, I didn’t know many names in neither of the remaining areas. By the time I’ve selected the ones that most appealed to me I ended up with a page full of names. I then brought further my research by collecting information from their websites or interviews and one thing would bring me to another and also lead me to new designers. Confronting my chosen companies with some of my classmates helped me widen my knowledge of existing companies as well.

Once I narrowed down my preferences to 3 companies, which I chose mostly for their aesthetic, I then began asking myself more on why I was finding them more attractive than others. The first thing I had to understand was what were they inspired from, and through which style they were expressing their work. I realized that all of three were inspired by natural and historical motifs with a Gothic feel and a bold colour palette.

I started my Pecha Kucha presentation having already most of the elements I needed and just gradually added pieces to it while continuing my research. What in the beginning may seem quite an easy kind of presentation since each slide runs only for 20 seconds it is actually quite difficult if you don’t prepare for it in time. I am struggling a bit in speaking in front of other people but going over the presentation several times saying it out loud gave me more confidence and even if I never liked presentations, I’m obliged to say that with all I did already it’s getting better and better.

Finally I chose my favourite company, the Timorous Beasties and took the study of their patterns to a more practical level by deconstructing them in order to find all the elements they contained. This gave me a deeper insight on how to approach and develop my work to fit their style and at the same time to differentiate myself as well.

I love making and experimenting in different areas but (or maybe because) I always struggled in finding my own style. These weeks of researching, self-doubting and a bit of the last day’s anxiety is the closest I’ve experienced in finding it.

I look forward for the next challenge ahead.

Pecha Kucha – Last Three Designers

Avramescu Anda Petcha Kutcha on the last three designers

I narrowed down the companies that most appealed to me, from approximately 25 to three.

I realised that their patterns are inspired mostly by nature and historical motifs with an unexpected contemporary touch. They use bold colours in a contrast with more neutral and mild colours and a Gothic finish. They all challenge the trend of their time. Therefore are to consider more of a Trend setters than followers.

Timorous Beasties

TIMOROUS BEASTIES was founded in 19 90 in Glasgow by Ali and Paul who met studying textiles at the Glasgow School of Art in 1984. They found common ground in considering the textiles market to be quite boring and lacking variety and excitement so they decided to create their own style defined by themselves as an elegant transgression.

They find inspiration in natural and historical motifs and they are well known for challenging time-honoured motifs adding a contemporary twist. They reversed the Toiles de Jouy’s pastoral context with the modern urban life of different cities such as London, New York, Glasgow.

They have been criticised by adding scenes of the real life they’ve seen in mostly in the Glasgow toile where they portray drug dealers, homeless people and prostitutes.

They challenged the DAMASK pattern by placing disorder in its structure using splashes of colour.

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They are also inspired by William Morris. In fact in an interview with The Guardian it came out that a critic described their work as William Morris on acid. An example of his work:

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Roberto Cavalli

Born in 19 40 in Florence

Cavalli graduated in Fine Art as his parents but he decided to make fabric his canvas and experiment new methods of printing. His lifestyle is as extravagant as the work he sells. and he coined a rich aesthetic following his motto: Excess is success.

I admire Cavalli for his stunning exotic patterns and the endless elements he takes inspiration from. In a successful combination of patterns and tailoring he always finds the way to highlight the sensual femininity in a combination with a rock-punk style.

He also has a Code of Ethics concerning Eco-Sustainability regarding both his own production or those of third parties he collaborates with.

His style is labelled AS Wild and exotic elegance. He takes inspiration from nature ranging from flowers (mostly orchids) animals and exotic fishes as well as historic motifs. But he’s mostly known for his Animal skin prints such as tiger, snake, leopard, zebra to name a few.

Elle has an amazing archive with all his runway shows.

Even if he’s mostly known as fashion designer there is no sector he didn’t explore. His products range from FASHION to ACCESSORIZE, from PERFUMES to INTERIORS.

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He started with Printing on Silk and then he became an inventor patenting a printing procedure on leather. Subsequently he invented the stretched jeans in collaboration with Lycra in 1995. While now he combines different materials and textures.

Alexander McQueen

He was born in London in 69 then dropped school at 16 and finds apprenticeship as a tailor on Savile row for Made To Measure Men’s Suits. Lately he applies at St Martins as Fashion Designer and After only 4 years from his graduation becomes Chief Designer for Givenchy where he won several Designer of The Year Awards. He felt limited in his creativity by somebody else’s brand so he decided to make his own.

I love McQueen’s mind blowing and intricately beautiful patterns surrounded by a macabre feel. I also admire him because he continued pushing fashion’s limits to the extreme despite the initial critiques received, inspiring a new generation of daring designers.

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Elle has an amazing archive with all his runway shows.

His goal was always to leave the viewer with a strong experience. Good or bad. McQueen’s signature is a Dramatic and Theatrical style both in his clothes and his runway shows. He’s been inspired by nature, the strong Gothic and Victorian style and the theme of death especially in the last years of his life. His raven inspired dress represents the romantic symbol of death.

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McQueen’s products range from Fashion to Accessories such as His famous skull scarf and his extravagant shoes that became famous with Lady Gaga.

He liked to shock and surprise people and for that he used a wide variety of materials such as Glass Leather Feathers Bones, whatever necessary in order to bring his visions to perfection.

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The Mysterious Object

Last week’s task was to go to the National Museum of Cardiff and identify an object to study. Look at how the object it is shown to us through the medium of the museum itself, how they categorise it and what’s the story they put around it.

Walking around the first floor with my group we decided to speak about it as a whole, then each of us would chose an individual object to talk about more in dept. Here‘s the link to the Power Point we’ve done.

I chose this piece:

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It almost immediately cached my eye. Not because it was interesting or standing out somehow but because I was looking for something uncommon and this matched my expectations. It was placed in a quite central position, considering the floor’s layout, and it had ‘protective’ strings all around it. From this moment a lot of questions started popping in my head about what that object was, so I instinctively started looking for the label to read a description. But there wasn’t any to be found. Not immediately at least. So everything got more intriguing for my head and started wandering seriously on what it could be. What was happening with that object? Was it an object to dispose of and in the meantime they didn’t know where to place it? Was it an object of the exposition and just placed there to fill a whole? In that process I discovered to have a quite imaginative mind:

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Was it an altar for sacrifice? A table? A crime scene?

I started to photograph my mysterious object, hoping that I could understand more by studying it. After a few pictures from different angles, and some minutes later, I finally found the label. It was placed on the side of the walkway, far from the object related to. My piece was going to reveal it’s mystery.

‘The jar is a container for the dead’

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The first observation is that it took me a while to read through the two languages and through the lines of her description to see what it was.

The second observation is that she describes the jar as beautiful while the aesthetic of it is clearly in contrast with her affirmation.

The third observation is that she talks about a meaningful and profound subject which is the death and in her label she doesn’t say anything that it could immerse the viewer in her reflection upon death and the way she related it to her ‘beautiful’ object.

Forth observation is that either her, or the curator, didn’t create the proper environment (context, background…) in order, for the viewer to appreciate the object’s actually deep meaning.

As a small experiment, while writing my own reflections about the object, I just stood there at a proper study distance and observed the passers. In almost half an hour, everybody that passed by the object did’t seem to bother to give it a glimpse of a look. People were watching the objects before, that were under the protective glass and labelled and just seeing through my object of study, to the photographic exposition right after. Only one girl stopped, a ceramic student from another group but she didn’t have lick in finding the label.

In conclusion I have to say that I didn’t expect this experience to be so interesting. Analysing from different perspectives the layout of a single object and actually having so much to say about it. I will never enter a whatever exhibition with just the visitor’s eye anymore.

 

 

My own Structural/Materialist film

Today in class we made our own piece of film to project with an old projector and it was really interesting. I came to have a taste of how films were made before 1973, before the appearance of digital machines.

I attached some pieces of leaves, thread, laser cut outs, pieces of other films with the scotch tape and wrote and draw on it too. I finally cut the edges with a splicer and prepared it to be attached to another piece making together a 6 minutes long ‘movie’. Considering that normally is being run 24 film stripes per second, we would each have a 2 seconds projection.

 

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Since it was almost everybody’s first time to actually make and project a piece of film it was difficult to predict what is that we were about to see. I personally supposed that I would see, even for a glimpse, all the elements I have attached to my film.  I also expected to notice loads of imperfection like the edge of the tape, maybe some scratches on the film (since it has been bleached out and reused), maybe not so strong colours and definitely something different than predicted :). I was right on the series of my second prediction. The film run too fast for a single stripe to be distinguished from the others, and I only managed to see more clearly the round I draw on three stripes and the last dark element of my piece of film. We saw very clearly though a series of stripes representing a fun basic man sketch on a real football game scenes and it was because my classmate represented it in a slow motion from one stripe to another.

Since we had some time left, we run it a second time a bit slower, so we were able to distinguish more details between the stripes.

The overall visual of the film, besides the usage of other real scenes film cuts, was like watching at fast speed a gathering of marks. I also enjoyed the individual process leading to a collective work that we could admire as a whole and the reaction was between surprise and laughter so I’m sure we all enjoyed it.

I discovered a new approach to art.

Reflection on the chosen Company – Timorous Beasties

I have to admit I felt really discouraged after my last tutorial a couple of days ago and kind of had an ‘artistic crisis’. I begun all in a sudden to doubt my self and I just felt confused about what I was doing and why. All this after just some question of my tutor like who am I inspired by and why and who are they inspired by? etc. After that I just felt lost and in the wrong place until now.  And it might seem a short period of time these two days but I felt every minute of it as if it was months.

Since the beginning of Uni I always felt energised and passionate in doing every brief and even if I’m still in the process of finding my style I never felt discouraged, on the contrary, finished the brief I felt I wanted to do more, just to have all my ideas out of my head and getting it lighter while proudly seeing my technical file getting thicker. Well, not this time. This time nobody assigned us a company but we had to chose it ourselves. Based on the style we found until now to be more keen of. And here all the problems begun. The responsibility of not only making the choice, but to justify it. And I was only able to realise what the problem was thanks to my mom that happened to be in the right place, learning a process of organising ideas from one of her lecturers and transmit it to me.

I knew I was attracted to this company’s designs but when I was asked again why I could barely say the words ‘abstract’ and ‘beautiful colours’. Common denominator of all designers if took them subjectively :).

This way of organising thoughts consists in a simple but very effective method: Describe, Analyse, Reflect and Reference. So I took my beloved company, the Timorous Beasties and began to look at each of their designs that I liked describing it the most accurately possible what I was seeing. At first it was ‘colourful’, ‘abstract’, ‘irregular patterns’. Then I took each voice and described it more accurately trying to transform in words what I was seeing and why I liked that particular design or piece of it. I zoomed in the first one and saw layers of what seemed to me individual designs. The colours of the background layer were neutral cold tones probably ink based from the way they were merging into one another ending in irregular shapes like they dropped some ink on a paper and cropped it where the shape was ending. The top layer that before was just other splashes of beautiful colours it resulted in being an organic Damask pattern composed by flowers and leaves reminding the Baroque style. At this point I could also associate their historic influence they claim to be inspired by but I could never see.

Everything was beginning to make sense. I could not only relate to most of their work by understanding why or why not but it helped me understand that classifying the little elements their designs were composed of could inspire mine in a constructive way. This is how I can take those elements I’m inspired by, because I fell them part of my personal taste, and change those that I don’t with the ones that more represents me, so I can actually make a collection that could enter their style but with my personal touch that it would make them different as well.

Quite a mental journey!

Stationery Designers/Companies

I admit not considering at all this market before the brief, but as all researches it got me closer to a deeper understanding of what gives me satisfaction to see my prints on or what I can easily put at the end of the wish job list and stationery is here but with door wide open for experimentation. Most of all it’s been giving me a more global understanding of what is out there in the design world that I didn’t know much about.

Rifle Paper Co.

I like their style and the fact that even though it is a mainly paper based company they also have fun putting their designs on shoes, phone cases, fabrics and many others. If I was to design for a stationery company, this would be the one!

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Moglea

Usa based designer. Mark making and brush effects, a simple but so effective look.

Moglea

Orla Kiely

I really admire and envy a little bit how she found her style in a simple roundish organic flowers and leaves that she can easily adapt to make it a new pattern and also for different markets, from stationary to bags etc.

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Rossi Carta e Biglietti dal 1931

This company started small in fine stationary and decorative papers. Initially based on the historical and artistic traditions of Florence, they extended their inspiration to Italy’s main cites. It’s always beautiful to see success stories of people that maintained their tradition without having to necessarily follow the ephemeral trends of the majority.

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Paper Mojo

From the home page their designs and colours stand out and the curiosity to enter and see them all is immediate, or at least for me. As far as I can see from their marbled textures and others they follow trend, which in this case I appreciate it a lot visually but they also have quite  varied range of styles and designs as well, so I might fit in there somewhere.

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