Disobedient Objects was the title of an exhibition in the V&A in September 2014. The exhibition examined the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. It demonstrated how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design.
This Field project will combine a reflection on the disruptive potential of objects. The notion of disobedience will be explored in two main strands:
- as a stance against authority, where the object or its use challenges established order and power structures, facilitates expression of protest, contributes to social change or disseminates ideas.
- as a feature of the objects, where the function and functionality is not what would be expected from the object, the gadget rebels, the connected gizmo is irreverent.
The disobedient objects in the V&A exhibition share a DIY aesthetic, they were often made in urgency on a shoestring budget, compensating low-tech quality with high inventiveness. Similarly, the objects that will be constructed during the field project will be largely made from recycled and cheap materials, with a “quick and dirty” approach.
Paul Granjon and Jon Pigott both make active objects using a combination of techniques that include programmable electronics. Although not a compulsory aspect of the project, you will be supported to use DIY electronics and open source coding using the Arduino (a non-commercial, community-driven set of technologies designed for people from all backgrounds, not only for engineers).
The sessions will mostly take place in the FabLab where you will be able to access laser cutting, 3D printing and other digital manufacturing technologies.
Overall we will encourage upcycling, recycling, lateral thinking, reverse engineering and dirty hands.
The participants in this project will work in small teams and make one or more disobedient objects that will be demonstrated at the end. First they will be asked to identify a situation that needs addressing, an imbalance that needs balancing, a voice that needs to be amplified, a force that needs to be resisted, a design thet needs to be laughed at. They will imagine, design and build an object, set, or device to put things right or break things even more using a wide range of hand-made technologies ranging from gaffer tape to programmable LEDs to crisp wrappers to servo motors.
Throughout the project an open, critical, sharing and questioning attitude will be required. Participants must be prepared to work in small groups (4 to 5 students). Technical demonstrators will provide fabrication and programming support throughout. A series of short thematic lectures will delivered by the academic staff. You will be encouraged and supported to include Arduino and open source programmable electronics in your object. You will be equally encouraged to used found and recycled/upcycled materials and adhoc construction techniques.
The Sustainable Artisan
This project will focus on the use of sustainable materials in the design and production of artefacts for the domestic context, this will include furniture, lighting, storage etc
Focusing on a mixture of contemporary and traditional hand making processes students will develop a skill set, working with tools, equipment, increasing their tacit knowledge of materials and processes and their understanding on how these impact the environment
These skills will be made relevant to professional contexts and there will be an emphasis on applying knowledge to practice as a professional furniture designer maker. This project would be supported by studio visit to practitioners and also investigate existing markets for such skills and products.
Also available through the medium of Welsh
Working prototypes and artefacts of a professional quality.
Art & The Conscious Mind
This project will consider the links between the nature of art and the human mind, in particular the conscious mind. Using examples from several creative fields, the course will investigate some key debates in contemporary science and philosophy about the function and operation of the mind, the place of consciousness in the world, and how creative practitioners can contribute to these debates. Key topics to be covered include perception (especially visual perception), awareness and self-awareness, the location of consciousness, how reality is understood and represented, and how artists and designers have modified and manipulated our minds.
The project will be delivered through a series of presentations and workshops, and will include practical activities designed to elicit creative responses to the issues being discussed. Practical activities will include workshops on mindfulness and Eastern theories of consciousness, immersive technologies and artworks, and how design objects can affect our states of mind, including through humour.
- A wide understanding of contemporary and historical debates about the human mind
- A deep understanding of how artists have interpreted and affected the human mind
- Practical experience of different conscious states
- Practical work based on the students’ interests and the ideas presented
The Grand British Tour
The Grand British Tour is an opportunity to visit some of the the most renowned museums of Britain and work with their collections to create your own cabinet of curiosities – a Wunderkammer.
The project will be launched with a series of lectures, seminars and workshops exploring ways to engage creatively with museum collections.
This will be followed by a series of museum visits you will generate research, ideas and inspiration for further development. While documenting a range of artefacts, you will be invited to focus on three from each collection that have particular significance for you.
Possible museum visits may include, Pitt Rivers, Ashmolean, Welcomme Trust, Courtauld Institute, Wallace Institute, Fitzwilliam, Kettles Yard, Hanley Museum Stoke-on-Trent, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, York City Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, and Whitworth Gallery Manchester.
The work will be developed through group tutorials and directed towards subject specific project development.
- A body of research work pre and post visits.
- A reflective blog.
- Clearly articulated project proposal related to subject area appropriately evidenced in presentation.
• Location: Locations around the UK
• Duration: approximately 2 x 2/3 nights
• Estimated cost to students: £100 (+ daily subsistence)
NB. the cost above is an estimate only and may be subject to change.
These Level 5 modules are the ones that primarily interested me from the Field Fayre. I found this beneficial as I got to speak directly to the people who ran each module and feel I can make a fully educated decision.
My main choices are:
Term 1 – Disobedient Objects
Term 2 – Art and the Conscious Mind
My secondary choices are:
Term 1: The Sustainable Artisan
Term 2: The Grand British Tour
I am thoroughly interested in my main choices, because for Term 1, I want a more hands-on project that involves Arduinos and a practical, physical outcome. Also, this module looked a great deal of fun and after dabbling this year into the basics of Arduinos and Capacitive Sensors, I am intrigued to branch out into this area a bit more.
For Term 2, I am very interested in a more theoretical, philosophical and physics based module. I feel this choice would be highly beneficial, as it would help develop critical, theoretical, spiritual, philosophical and physics based way of thinking, and would help support Dissertation Proposal and Constellation.
My secondary choices do not appeal to me as much as my first choices, but, it is always good to have a backup plan as there’s no guarantee a module I wanted would be picked up for next year if numbers are low.