PROTOtyping 2010 Symposium Preview Evening

The Prototype – Craft in the Future Tense Symposium begins tomorrow. A few of my fellow ethnography students and many of the masters of design students are attending. We are here to listen to 16 world class thinkers and makers give us their take on prototyping. We are learning how to position the meaning of prototype in our own minds.

This evening was  the opening evening of the symposium, the Innovation & Creative Development in Craft. The exhibit was a showcase of five crafters and the idea behind what they do, but it was up to you to interpret the true meaning and purpose of the objects presented.  Follow your perogative to go wandering amongst the work and drink in its meanings.

The Dalhousie Building on Dundee University’s campus had been transformed into an exhibition gallery and staging area for the Prototypers. The curator of the exhibition, Sally Reaper, had used the space effectively and the pieces were arranged in an intriguing and inviting way.The exhibit was marvelously laid out in the difficult to understand foyer of the Dalhousie Building. If you never have the pleasure of being faced with its white labyrinthine halls and strange alien language used for room numbering (“Class has been changed to room 2.14.s.f.1” ) then consider yourself saved of its design mishaps. The exhibit was simple on first glance, but I am sometimes mistaken on first glance. In fact the works were intricate representations of highly developed design research processes.

In a single phrase, from the literature about the exhibition, the pieces are described as:

“The new and innovative work created by textile artists Jeanette Sendler, Gillian Cooper, Lisa Gallacher, jeweller Sarah Kettley and (post-) industrial designer Roy Shearer illustrate the creative process of making and developing ideas.”

Below are my photographic first impressions of the exhibit. These are really the product of their extensive creatives processes, and therefore I cannot really capture the whole story of each piece. If you want the whole story you will have to go see the exhibit which you can view in the Dalhousie Building on the University of Dundee Campus until the 27th of June.

Jeanette Sendler's Collarbone presented us with a series of "bones" which were loosely stuffed with the dress making patterns of olden times. It was a magnetic piece that greeted the attendees with its long white spine as the came into the exhibition.
Gillian Cooper took textile arts to a whole new level, by photographing the ground at her feet every 37th step, and then transforming the patterns and forms she saw in the photos into beautifully rich textured embroidered wall panels.
Aeolia by Sarah Kettley presented us with a garment with woven in stretch sensors that could be used for whatever you imagine. It was a very interesting idea, but I had a had time to conceptualize what this could actually be used for in practice.
Lisa Gallacher created a new way to adorn the body with this rack of fashions printed from huge colorful print proofs, complete with contoured pockets and curvy seams.
Roy Shearer showed us what an “open thing” actually is. He had created a set of open source plans and software for how to put together a “Niftymitter.” It is a transmitting device that could send voice signals form one source to any FM source in a certain radius. It was a nice idea and very cool, but I felt it had been done before. In fact my boyfriend Aaron reminded me that, ” the Simpson’s had done it all before,” he was referring to the episode where Bart had a Microphone that could tune into an FM station.
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