I’ve been working on my personal website for the last few weeks, and it’s finally ready!
Check it out here. :)
You can also find new blog posts here.
A thousand thank-you-you-rock! to Guillermo Arrioja for helping me out!
Neuromancer book cover re-design, as part of a look back on the projects I’ve done this year so far, during and after the MA.
On my trip to London last year, I picked up a copy of Some thoughts on the Common Toad, by George Orwell. The cover was beautiful and I decided to bring it back as a present to my (then) teacher and friend Maziar. When he got it, he mentioned it was designed by David Pearson, a wonderful designer from Penguin. David is a great designer in contemporary graphic design, and we were lucky to have him earlier this year at Khio, giving a workshop on book cover re-design.
I participated in this workshop, and the task was to re-design the cover of a book we liked. We started by selecting a genre and doing visual research of the existing book covers within that genre. Afterwards, we sketched ideas and started to create mock-ups of our re-design. This process was guided by David, and he also showed us his latest work, inspiration and love for letters, books and type as image. We continued into the final design of our book cover, and presented to the whole group in the end. David’s perspective and critique was really helpful, and it was a pleasure to have him over. He also gave a talk at Grafill during his stay in Oslo, showing his work and talking about his process.
The book I chose was a personal favorite: Neuromancer, by William Gibson. Sci-fi book covers from the 60’s and early 70’s are gorgeous: there is a tactile quality in them. As I did visual research, I found that this could not be said from sci-fi book covers from the 80’s, and I thought this was an area of opportunity I could explore in this workshop. I created a book cover creating a texture and pattern made from a circuit board motif. The title of the book emerges from this pattern, both for the cover and for the spine. I created paper versions of it (paperback), but I wanted to push it forward, so I used the laser cutter to engrave and cut the design on book cloth. After that, I explored options with neon paper underneath, and finally, with LED’s (LED wallpaper would be wonderful, as a first layer of the book cover). I had a lot of fun creating this re-desing, and loved to have David with us!
The book cover that started my interest in David’s work.
Stardust got selected for the Bridge Design Collaboration Exhibition at DogA, The Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture. At this exhibition, selected projects from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and the Architecture and Design School of Oslo (AHO) were showcased during the whole summer. I was happy to participate among fellow designers.
The exhibition featured in AHO’s website here.
Here is a review from the exhibition by Norsk Form.
Bridge Design Collaboration Facebook event can be found here.
Finally: the end of year show! It was a great summer day, with friends and family (my parents flew in from Mexico) and with the project finally for people to experience.
Here is a description of my project from Khio’s publication.
The Stardust installation and exhibition at the end of year show.
For the end of year show, the department of graphic design (students) create a publication/yearbook of the work being exhibited. In past years they have made a book where they take your picture, and some sketches and photographs of your exhibited work. They have also featured interviews with some teachers, and head of departments, in a more traditional yearbook type of publication.
This year, however, they came up with an awesome idea. Instead of taking a picture of the designers, they would take a picture of our work tables, or desks. The process is such a big part of the design, and this type of yearbook photograph would show that. I had an issue with this, however, because they had set “types of pictures” for each discipline. Interior architecture/furniture would be pictures from a corner perspective, looking at converging walls where they could place their final piece, or work desks, etc. The focus was three-dimensionality. For fashion they would use mannequins, on a portrait kind of photograph, and for visual communication (my area) the picture would be taken from the top, overlooking a desk, because “we work with sketchbooks/print material only”.
I explained that visual communication doesn’t limit itself to that, and that my project dealt with space and body movement, and to communicate that I didn’t need to be catalogued as “just show a sketch”, when my sketch is code and applying that through visuals into people’s movement, in real time!
I guess we still have a long way to go in graphic design (and design in general) to overcome labels and stereotypes of each specialized area, and embrace hybridity and working between boundaries of what design or graphic design “should be”.
I decided then to show my real desk: the environment I have when I work, and that was what they captured for the yearbook.
My real desk.
The image for the yearbook.
The end of year show was around the corner. I finalized the project, but now needed to work with the space where the installation would be set up. I got the area next to the gallery, overlooking the cafeteria at Khio. The advantage of that spot was the space (huge), and having electric plugs near walls, etc. (rigging would be easier than in the gallery). The main, big, disadvantage was that it was full of light, since it faces huge windows. The exhibition was to start around 16.00, but once again, being summer, the sun doesn’t go down until 11 pm or so. I had to work around this issue.
This is the set-up that I thought of for the exhibition.
With some help, I built a room in that space, and managed to black it out in order to have constant favorable light conditions for the motion sensor to work smoothly. Maybe with the kinect 2 this wouldn’t be so much of a problem, as I read here. Either way, the art direction of Stardust indicated a dark space. I used the theater curtains on the walls and for the ceiling I needed something dark and light. I thought of painted paper, but didn’t have the time to test it out. Then I thought about fabric, but when I tested it, it was incredibly heavy and would be a challenge to have it stay on top (having to make wooden beams and a “rooftop” structure, etc. and -by the way-I had a day until showtime). So I worked with what I had at hand and got black plastic bags, thin as air, and made a big “blanket” out of them, and use that as rooftop. I used massive amounts of duct tape, and even had to nail it to the adjacent walls. But once inside, you couldn’t notice what the rooftop was made of, and the focus was on the huge mirror-wall I got, and the stardust all over your body.
Apparently, the area where I set up couldn’t take all the power I was using (which wasn’t much) so I needed to have electric extensions from the installation all the way down to the cafeteria. Hence the message to not touch that plug.
Everything was set-up, tested, and ready (the night before the show I managed to finish the set-up and test the code running correctly. Always, always have an extra 2 days of set-up time! Pete you were right!).
I prepared for the final exam by setting up two spaces where I would present my project to the censors: the gallery and a dark room where a demo of Stardust could be experienced by them. At this point in my process, Stardust was almost finished, and I needed to tweak a couple of things, but would do so before the final exhibition/end of year show.
The main presentation about my process and project took place in a gallery space at Khio. I arranged my work and displayed visual essays and booklets about each stage of my research.
For the second space, I transformed a meeting room into a dark space where the censors could experience Stardust. I did some previous testing using a big screen just to get the set-up right (projector distance, angles, etc.).
After testing the set-up, I decided to use big mirrors and get rid of the screen (the stardust would be on the participant’s body). There was an inconvenience on the day of my exam though. All these tests I have done at night, but my exam was scheduled at 9 am. In the Norwegian summer, this means that it is very, very bright outside, and the light came through the glass wall in that room. I needed to black out the room entirely. I asked for some theater curtains (great for absorbing light) from the theater department, and me and my friend Vibeke blacked out the room completely.
I presented for the external and internal censors. The 25 minutes went extremely fast, and after a couple of weeks I got the deliberation and grade. I was very happy to hear I got an A and that although the installation was a working prototype (needed details to be finished) the process and research (dissertation) were satisfactory. I got great written feedback from them as well!
What was left was set-up for the end of year show.