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IED Degree Show Catalog

IED DEGREE SHOW Catalog

In 2014, the Information Experience Design MA programme at the Royal College of Art was showcasing the work of their first graduating class. However, no one really understood what the course was all about by its title. 

As the department representative, I took on the challenge of defining our programme by writing/editing a companion book to our degree show. After interviewing all 14 graduating students individually, I highlighted each of their niche by providing an overview of their work, interests and aspirations in three paragraphs. The book also included a welcome message from the department head, excerpts from the students’ academic writings and highlight events from the last year.

All 500 copies were taken by the visitors at the show within the first several days.


     Jaap de Maat    Jaap has been exploring the aesthetics of the disappeared, lost, invisible and void. His interest started with Doggerland, a once-significant landmass that gradually sunk in the North Sea Basin between 18,000 and 5,500 BC. This inspired him to create an interactive piece that becomes active only when visitors close their eyes.    In his dissertation, he examined how an absence can sometimes draw more attention than its past existence, and investigated the power dynamics found in the traces of forced erasure. He also recognised that while the brain is programmed to forget due to its limited storage capacity, the Digital Age makes it far easier to accurately log and remember everything – especially regarding individuals – on a distant server, for eternity. He argued against the hidden danger of digital information’s resistance to erasure, as those stored recollections are prone to misinterpretation or malevolent manipulation.    His final piece,   I Know What You Did Last Summer  , is a tongue-in-cheek expression of the horror from our online traces following us around forever, and provides a sobering thought that ought to rule our online behaviour.    Jaap is a graphic design veteran, who used to run a studio in Rotterdam, before moving to London where he’s been teaching at Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Art and Design, and Kingston University. He joined IED to try something different, and his work represents a pronounced appetite for play. Most of his projects have resulted from trying out new skills in physical computing. 

 

Jaap de Maat

Jaap has been exploring the aesthetics of the disappeared, lost, invisible and void. His interest started with Doggerland, a once-significant landmass that gradually sunk in the North Sea Basin between 18,000 and 5,500 BC. This inspired him to create an interactive piece that becomes active only when visitors close their eyes.

In his dissertation, he examined how an absence can sometimes draw more attention than its past existence, and investigated the power dynamics found in the traces of forced erasure. He also recognised that while the brain is programmed to forget due to its limited storage capacity, the Digital Age makes it far easier to accurately log and remember everything – especially regarding individuals – on a distant server, for eternity. He argued against the hidden danger of digital information’s resistance to erasure, as those stored recollections are prone to misinterpretation or malevolent manipulation.

His final piece, I Know What You Did Last Summer, is a tongue-in-cheek expression of the horror from our online traces following us around forever, and provides a sobering thought that ought to rule our online behaviour.

Jaap is a graphic design veteran, who used to run a studio in Rotterdam, before moving to London where he’s been teaching at Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Art and Design, and Kingston University. He joined IED to try something different, and his work represents a pronounced appetite for play. Most of his projects have resulted from trying out new skills in physical computing. 


      Weiwei Liang     Earlier this year, Weiwei made a one-hundred-meter-long scroll of pages from the book   The International Library of Literature Vol.1  . While many IED students are exploring the complexity of cloud-like networks of multimodal information, Weiwei envisions all the available information out there as an infinite scroll that streams data in the linear ways we read. Like the continuous pages printed on dot matrix printers, she brings light to the banality of data, conveyed through lifeless and endless mechanical repetition.    Weiwei’s final project,   Feed  , is an interactive tapestry installation that encourages the visitor to input personal data by weaving yarn. Each point of weft and warp is represented as a binary digit –a 1 if the yarn crosses in front of the grid, and a 0 if it crosses behind. The digital traces each of us produces is like a thin, continuous silk emitted from a silkworm, and these secretions are spun into yarn and woven into patterned, multicoloured textiles. The data we generate thus become the raw fibre for the fabric of information, manufactured in the new industrial weaving mill – the data centre.    Weiwei hesitates to be labelled as an ‘Information Experience Designer,’ because she simply considers herself an artist, who wishes to provide novel interpretations of the humanity in our contemporary society, in which information happens to be undeniably prominent. She refers to Marshall McLuhan, who was not so crazy about modern media, but felt ‘satisfaction from grasping their modes of operation.’ 

 

Weiwei Liang

Earlier this year, Weiwei made a one-hundred-meter-long scroll of pages from the book The International Library of Literature Vol.1. While many IED students are exploring the complexity of cloud-like networks of multimodal information, Weiwei envisions all the available information out there as an infinite scroll that streams data in the linear ways we read. Like the continuous pages printed on dot matrix printers, she brings light to the banality of data, conveyed through lifeless and endless mechanical repetition.

Weiwei’s final project, Feed, is an interactive tapestry installation that encourages the visitor to input personal data by weaving yarn. Each point of weft and warp is represented as a binary digit –a 1 if the yarn crosses in front of the grid, and a 0 if it crosses behind. The digital traces each of us produces is like a thin, continuous silk emitted from a silkworm, and these secretions are spun into yarn and woven into patterned, multicoloured textiles. The data we generate thus become the raw fibre for the fabric of information, manufactured in the new industrial weaving mill – the data centre.

Weiwei hesitates to be labelled as an ‘Information Experience Designer,’ because she simply considers herself an artist, who wishes to provide novel interpretations of the humanity in our contemporary society, in which information happens to be undeniably prominent. She refers to Marshall McLuhan, who was not so crazy about modern media, but felt ‘satisfaction from grasping their modes of operation.’ 


     Jiayu Liu    Jiayu is bringing you a handful of wind from across the globe, and letting it brush through your fingers.   Within Invisibility   is uses 22 LEDs attached to 80 fans, to visualise and materialise the wind data from her home country, China.    As an incredibly friendly and enthusiastic person, Jiayu is extremely aware of how people interact with her work. Her design challenge has always been to provoke behavioural responses and emotional resonances from visitors, without giving many instructions or explanations.    Her work often lets users transcend two worlds (e.g. feeling the winds from China in the UK). In her first year, she made a tent and invited visitors inside; the sounds playing in the tent constructed an artificial yet convincing environment that was very different from the real world outside. Earlier this year, she asked visitors to blow bubbles into her work   Data Transparency  , which then turned them into black-and- white digital bubbles.    She insists on creating intricate structures, which requires patience, intensive labour and good company of friends. She has collaborated with an architecture student to convey sunlight data using an umbrella-inspired kinetic sculpture that opens and closes like a flower. Her LED- bedazzled collaboration with a fashion designer has made it to a runway in   New York. Although she comes from a graphic design background and is new to physical computing, she has been eager to learn the technology, and has been implementing it in nearly all of her work in IED. 

 

Jiayu Liu

Jiayu is bringing you a handful of wind from across the globe, and letting it brush through your fingers. Within Invisibility is uses 22 LEDs attached to 80 fans, to visualise and materialise the wind data from her home country, China.

As an incredibly friendly and enthusiastic person, Jiayu is extremely aware of how people interact with her work. Her design challenge has always been to provoke behavioural responses and emotional resonances from visitors, without giving many instructions or explanations.

Her work often lets users transcend two worlds (e.g. feeling the winds from China in the UK). In her first year, she made a tent and invited visitors inside; the sounds playing in the tent constructed an artificial yet convincing environment that was very different from the real world outside. Earlier this year, she asked visitors to blow bubbles into her work Data Transparency, which then turned them into black-and- white digital bubbles.

She insists on creating intricate structures, which requires patience, intensive labour and good company of friends. She has collaborated with an architecture student to convey sunlight data using an umbrella-inspired kinetic sculpture that opens and closes like a flower. Her LED- bedazzled collaboration with a fashion designer has made it to a runway in New York. Although she comes from a graphic design background and is new to physical computing, she has been eager to learn the technology, and has been implementing it in nearly all of her work in IED. 


      Melissa Parker Kim     Melissa is interested in fragments of facts and memories about people. She has lived in a dozen cities across three continents, and has left her family and friends behind in different parts of the world. While living in a perpetual state of missing certain individuals’ physical presence, she hopelessly dreams that the fragments can perhaps be glued into whole, well-functioning copies. In her final project,   Project White Bear  , she expresses her desperate measures to both forget and remember an unnamed person. She uses digital media as a tool for preserving her memories accurately, as well as for detaching herself from her emotions.    Melissa is extremely sociable, with over 1,700 Facebook friends. She is notorious for ‘interviewing’ people with great curiosity and then remembering facts about them even when they were mentioned in passing years ago. (In fact, she interviewed all graduating IED students before putting this publication together.) As an engineering school dropout, she also gets a kick out of robotically processing a lot of data at once, and secretly wishes that people can someday be explained with charts and equations.    In her previous degrees, she studied interdisciplinary approaches to portraits, and struggled to visually capture the fleeting essence of various individuals. By trade, she writes strategies for marketing and design to maximise the impact on target audiences. She looks up to comedians and people in the entertainment industry for their ability to draw audiences in. 

 

Melissa Parker Kim

Melissa is interested in fragments of facts and memories about people. She has lived in a dozen cities across three continents, and has left her family and friends behind in different parts of the world. While living in a perpetual state of missing certain individuals’ physical presence, she hopelessly dreams that the fragments can perhaps be glued into whole, well-functioning copies. In her final project, Project White Bear, she expresses her desperate measures to both forget and remember an unnamed person. She uses digital media as a tool for preserving her memories accurately, as well as for detaching herself from her emotions.

Melissa is extremely sociable, with over 1,700 Facebook friends. She is notorious for ‘interviewing’ people with great curiosity and then remembering facts about them even when they were mentioned in passing years ago. (In fact, she interviewed all graduating IED students before putting this publication together.) As an engineering school dropout, she also gets a kick out of robotically processing a lot of data at once, and secretly wishes that people can someday be explained with charts and equations.

In her previous degrees, she studied interdisciplinary approaches to portraits, and struggled to visually capture the fleeting essence of various individuals. By trade, she writes strategies for marketing and design to maximise the impact on target audiences. She looks up to comedians and people in the entertainment industry for their ability to draw audiences in. 


      Christopher Anyango     After his degree in Computer Science, Chris may have turned away from conventional career paths in programming by pursuing Visual Communication and then joining IED. However, his work stays true to his sustained interest in algorithms, especially those behind advanced technologies. In IED, he has been striving to overturn the invisible, incomprehensible and intangible nature of underlying elements and structures within various constructs.    In his dissertation, Chris took apart and analysed the societal impact and psychological effects of (video)game design. He has continued to explore the essence of games in his final project   Zwischen  . Here he visualises chess moves and their numerous machine-calculated consequences that are not readily apparent to a human chess player during the game. His work is presented on a multi-layered display – one layer for demonstrating a move, and another for explaining the move through a mix of generative and informational graphics – enabled by re-polarisation of LCD substrates.    In his other piece,   Portrait  , Chris captures the invisible and intangible gaze of gallery visitors in a portrait in which all visitors’ faces are averaged into a single picture. People tend to be drawn to individuals who look like them- selves, and an average gallery visitor spends about 15 seconds with works they like. A hidden camera saves a photo of each visitor to a database – only   if their gaze lingers on the portrait. The longer the visitor looks at it, the more it will look like them. 

 

Christopher Anyango

After his degree in Computer Science, Chris may have turned away from conventional career paths in programming by pursuing Visual Communication and then joining IED. However, his work stays true to his sustained interest in algorithms, especially those behind advanced technologies. In IED, he has been striving to overturn the invisible, incomprehensible and intangible nature of underlying elements and structures within various constructs.

In his dissertation, Chris took apart and analysed the societal impact and psychological effects of (video)game design. He has continued to explore the essence of games in his final project Zwischen. Here he visualises chess moves and their numerous machine-calculated consequences that are not readily apparent to a human chess player during the game. His work is presented on a multi-layered display – one layer for demonstrating a move, and another for explaining the move through a mix of generative and informational graphics – enabled by re-polarisation of LCD substrates.

In his other piece, Portrait, Chris captures the invisible and intangible gaze of gallery visitors in a portrait in which all visitors’ faces are averaged into a single picture. People tend to be drawn to individuals who look like them- selves, and an average gallery visitor spends about 15 seconds with works they like. A hidden camera saves a photo of each visitor to a database – only if their gaze lingers on the portrait. The longer the visitor looks at it, the more it will look like them. 


      Wook Choi     Wook enjoys camping with his wife in the corners of the continent, sometimes dreaming of a simple life as a carpenter; every once in a while, he likes to take a step back from civilisation to broaden his perspective. Originally from Korea, he explored values in multi-cultural societies in his previous degree at Goldsmiths. He found that across cultures, it is not easy for humans to deviate from a herd mentality, being confined to cultural systems with innate customs.    Wook finds this unsettling attitude also in today’s digital spaces, for example when we agree to terms and conditions of online services, giving away a part   of our privacy and thereby becoming insensitive to potential vulnerabilities and dangers.    Wook’s installation,   Randomising Knowledge  , draws attention to the thick filter that prevents us from seeing the consequences of giving away our personal data, by turning the mirror on ourselves. The mirror poses questions about the rules of privacy in the UK, and the visitor responds by nodding or shaking our heads. With each ‘No’ answer, the mirror gets less and less reflective. People in some cultures refuse to be photographed for fear of having their souls taken away; Wook’s mirror gradually steals our privacy   and thus our sense of identity. 

 

Wook Choi

Wook enjoys camping with his wife in the corners of the continent, sometimes dreaming of a simple life as a carpenter; every once in a while, he likes to take a step back from civilisation to broaden his perspective. Originally from Korea, he explored values in multi-cultural societies in his previous degree at Goldsmiths. He found that across cultures, it is not easy for humans to deviate from a herd mentality, being confined to cultural systems with innate customs.

Wook finds this unsettling attitude also in today’s digital spaces, for example when we agree to terms and conditions of online services, giving away a part of our privacy and thereby becoming insensitive to potential vulnerabilities and dangers.

Wook’s installation, Randomising Knowledge, draws attention to the thick filter that prevents us from seeing the consequences of giving away our personal data, by turning the mirror on ourselves. The mirror poses questions about the rules of privacy in the UK, and the visitor responds by nodding or shaking our heads. With each ‘No’ answer, the mirror gets less and less reflective. People in some cultures refuse to be photographed for fear of having their souls taken away; Wook’s mirror gradually steals our privacy and thus our sense of identity. 


Designed by Andrew Brash and Jonas Berthod. Edited by Dr. Kevin Walker.