It’s the start of my final year at university, super scary, but I’m so excited to jump straight back in. Part of this year, especially this semester, is all about being experimental and thinking outside of the box.
This is an example of a previous, third-year student’s body of work for this module:
My first task for my new module called Experimental Communication was to create a 3D letter using a scalpel, white card, and super glue. I started this during my lecture and for some bizarre reason, I couldn’t do it. This was so frustrating because it was such a simple thing to do but my hands and my brain just weren’t processing it. I was sticking things in the wrong places, spending ages trying to visualize the structure in my head, and just getting myself confused. I’m someone who likes a challenge though so I finished my lower case ‘l’ and decided to pick a harder letter to try and master. I ran to the Pound Shop, bought all my equipment, blasted some Oasis at the comfort of my own desk and started to create a trickier lower case ‘p’. The amount of superglue on my fingers totaled the amount of one tube, believe me, this is a sticky business. I pushed on through regardless, cutting and recutting different sizes of paper, fixing mistakes and saying my fair few share of curse words, but I DID IT. I mean I’m not going to be a product designer anytime soon but I am actually proud of myself for mastering a new skill.
Once I created my 3D letter, I had to destroy it. Yes, you heard me, all my blood, sweat and tears for it to inevitably be destroyed…Why I hear you ask? All in the name of experimental art, to show how design is beyond the margins. During my lecture, I learned about designers that have done something similar to this task, people like: Yves Tinguely, Fischl and Weiss, Honda and OK GO.
Yves Tinguely created a really impressive sculpture that was designed to destroy itself. It slowly set itself on fire, until nothing was left but a pile of ash and horrible burnt out objects. You might think why on earth would you put so much effort into something that could only ever be seen once? Well that’s exactly why…It’s a once in a lifetime experience, watching the items burn, crackle and die. Seeing the fire engulfing the rusty objects is quite beautiful don’t you think? All that effort, knowing that you will destroy it, it’s kind of a ‘fuck you’ to all those fine artists that spend hours painting a river just to hang it in a bathroom. No. Set it on fire instead!!! It’s way better!!!
In the early 80s, Fischl & Weiss made an incredible video, apparently done in one single shot…(mmm debateable) of ordinary objects moving and creating a massive chain reaction from a single spark of fire. Imagine how much time it took to strategically place each object, making sure they would continue the movement, all just to get one very satisfying video. I’m not saying this is pointless, I mean the video is dead therapeutic, but what would have happened if one object didn’t move exactly as they wanted? Would the whole thing be ruined? The final outcome is impressive, but without the planning, and meticulous attention to detail, this video would have been a flop.
Does this look familiar? This is an ad campaign for Honda, and it’s just so awesome. The sounds, the sleek camera, the slow moments when a cog rolls and you’re afraid it’s going to stop and ruin the whole shot, oh it’s just divine. Such a clever advert derived from such a simple concept, the slogan at the end as well, it’s just so cool. This was actually done in one shot too, so everything went exactly as planned – “Isn’t it nice, when things just work?” pretty smart eh?
One of the most impressive videos I have seen, oh my days, just look at how weird and wonderful this music video is for OK GO. The “machine” was designed and built by the band, along with members of Syyn Labs over the course of several months and god was it worth it. Whoever figured out the calculations for all this seriously deserves a Nobel prize. The amount of time it must have taken to come up with and create this machine must have taken FOREVER. And the amount of time it must have taken for this to properly execute itself. . . DANG. I mean, you can tell by the amount of paint on them, smashed pianos and crushed TVs in the background, that it must have taken at least ten or fifteen times. Cameraman: “Now let’s try it again with the lens cap off…”
So now let’s see what I did…It’s nothing as spectacular as these examples, I mean I have literally £20 in my bank, I have a week to pull this off and judging from my lack of cutting and gluing skills, there’s no hope. But, however, I have a created a video that I’m pretty proud of, instead of setting it on fire, I wanted to do something a bit messier and funnier. So I bought a tonne of paint, set up a makeshift studio in my tiny garden, hired my flatmate as my cameraman, chucked paint on my crisp, white letter and watched it collapse and bleed to death HAHAHA! Here’s my footage, what do you think? Am I on the right lines? Oh, by the way, I took this footage into After Effects and upped the saturation, making the colours pop a bit more. I also fiddled with the exposure so that the footage was brighter and I sharpened the footage to create a fancy, clean and bright finished video!