Video installations on socio-techno styles

Chelsea College of Art & Design, University of the Arts London, is hosting an exhibition of video installations on Belonging & Belongings. In December Bas and Geke coached an intensive programme with 25 students MA Graphic Design Communications exploring how people express their identities through their physical and virtual possessions. The exhibition opens on 8 February 2011 and runs until the end of this week.

The student project was part of the ongoing Belonging & Belongings collaboration between STBY and the Critical Design Lab in Kyoto, Japan. Belonging & Belongings is an international and interdisciplinary design research programme, exploring the interrelationship between technology, society and sartorial appearances.

For the exhibition 25 MA Graphic Design Communication students of Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, worked on a two week project in December 2010. Five groups of students made a video installation to express the insights they created from their own fieldwork on the Belonging & Belongings topic. In particular they were interested to find out how people enjoy and struggle with the differences they can create between their online and offline identities.

The results are exciting, not only because great insights were created, but also because the stories of these insights are told in new and inspiring ways. This was possible because the students realised they were not mere data-collectors. In stead, they took up the challenge to tell stories. This is important, because even if design research results in great insights, its value will still be low unless these insights are communicated in a compelling way.

Doing design research includes collecting data, and analysing and reflecting on what you have collected. It then results in insights and ultimately knowledge. This however does not mean that the data and the analysis and reflections should remain separate. What the most projects presented here have succeeded in, is using the data to tell engaging stories about the insights and knowledge they have created.

This is the second Belonging and Belongings project of STBY with Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. The first project in 2009 focused on the magazine as a medium to communicate design research, resulting in 250 printed magazines. The current project explores video installations as a way to communicate design research. With special thanks to Tracey Waller, Course Director MA Graphic Design Communication.

The design research programme of Belonging & Belongings was conceived by three scholars from different backgrounds:

  • Dr. Geke van Dijk – Strategy Director at STBY London/Amsterdam – specialised in cultural studies and multi-channel social research.
  • Dr. Daijiro Mizuno – Lecturer and Researcher at Critical Design Lab in Kyoto – specialised in fashion design as a social object and investigates how designers/wearers dress, behave and create their own multiple identities.
  • Dr. Bas Raijmakers – Creative Director at STBY London/Amsterdam and research fellow at Design Academy Eindhoven – specialised in using documentary film as an analytical and practical means to conduct ethnographic research.
  • The inclusion of such mixed disciplines in a design research project provokes new approaches to the ways we can understand the complexity of people’s identity in contemporary culture.

    For more information on Belonging & Belongings see the project blog.