Note (18)

Today we started the responsibility project for Narrative and Voice. Before the first day of this project however, I read through the brief and started to think about how this project could go and how I would engage with it. What I found when reading the brief, was that the project seemed very boring and limited, with there being not much room for ideas and imagination. However, having been briefed today I am happy to see how wrong I first was. The project not only allows us to incorporate something we care about and give a shit about but to also try to make an actual difference within design practice and how designers consider the environment and sustainability. Ollie's briefing and presentation was what changed my mind completely, as he showed the class different aspects of the project that had already been done, and the innovative ways designers had thought of to get people engaging with this subject matter. In the afternoon we then moved onto the British Museum, where we were sent to go and draw and image-make not only things to do with wall art and murals but also pieces we found engaging and that we had a connection to. What I found the most useful from that trip was to start to see how visitors and people in general interacted with work on the wall and how lighting, arrangement, and depth effected the time they studied the objects. I also liked thinking of how 'the medium is the message', and looking at how designers had greatly considered this both in modern and ancient times within the museum. Below can be seen some of the quick drawings and notes I took from the museum, as well as photographs of what I thought interesting concerning our project. 


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As well as looking at the museum's pieces in regards to murals and wall pieces, I also decided to think about 'the medium is the message' and how that will have to be something I consider deeply for this project as I could create a powerful concept and idea all around the physicality of this piece. Some examples of that idea that I found within the museum was the Throne of Weapons, which reused the guns from the Mozambique civil war, repurposing them and creating a poignant memory. El Anatsui's 'Man's Cloth' was another very powerful piece of work, intricately made but made by something which created the concept itself. The tin bottle necks were cut up and put together to form a cloth which highlights the consumer culture overtaking the traditions of his culture. Once having looked at this, and understood its importance within the project, we were then also asked to go back through the museum and to draw and capture one object which would provide a starting point for the rest of our work in these two weeks. 


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At first I did not know what I wanted to be looking into, as I could not find an object which represented the ideas of my project more than just the concepts I have spoken about earlier. However, walking through the exhibits, what stood out to me the most was the popularity and almost celebrity status of the Rosetta Stone. And yet with this popularity, it was clear the context and story of the object was not being captured with the many hundreds of photographs. The visitors were simply capturing the object as some sort of token and proof. This was a shame but not necessarily the starting point I wanted for my project. BUT when I walked through the Gift Shop of the museum I found the further decontextualisation of the Rosetta stone through consumerism, where the object had been printed onto hundreds of different objects, from mouse-mats to travel card holders to rucsacs.

What I want to look at here and work off, is not the lack of context behind the Rosetta stone, but how designers have created work for which this object has then been decontextualised. How they have allowed their work to create this negative effect, where if ti had been done with more consideration and thought, then there could have been a very different effect.



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© Joel Davies, all rights reserved


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