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Royal College of Art: Design and Animation Part Two

Our second visit to the RCA's Show Two stopped off at Animation, Design Interaction and Innovation Design Engineering Courses

Written by Sally Mumby-Croft

Deviating from the subject of Climate Change, Amelia’s Magazine finds ourselves mesmerised by Design Interaction Student, Kjen Wilkens’ Weather Camera.

What is the impact on our relationship with the environment – when existing in a world where sensor monitors constantly interpret our daily surroundings, producing endless streams of data? Are we moving into the final phrase of Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction?

Photograph by Ludwig Zeller

The Weather Camera is Kjen Wilkens response to her search for a human presence within this deluge of electronic readings. Instead of taking a photograph to a record a special moment, the user of The Weather Camera can record the atmospheric conditions, weaving these into autobiographical memory. In time encouraging new methods of narration, titled by the designer as “Sensor Poetics.”

Becky Pilditch‘s prothestics are “objects of empowerment”, showcasing how functional pieces of designs can be both a thing of beauty and an extension of the wearer’s personality. Becky worked and developed the project with Holly Franklin .

Hand 8 the final part of the project, played with ideas of gesture and personality by creating numerous arms that related to Holly’s actions as she spoke or moved around a space. A fantastic aspect of the website is the blog, which can be used by other prosthetic limb users to feed back directly to the project.

In the Animation section of the exhibition Lauri Warsta’s Traumdeutung awaited. A wonderful animation baring the hallmarks (whatever that may mean…) of a “documentary,” the calming, not too dissimilar to the 1940′s DONT PANIC! voiceover narrated the data currently available on the subject matter: The Global Reserves of Dreams. The beauty of the animation, being it contained the possibility, that it was entirely a dream.

The subtle block coloring of the animation maintained a ‘warmth’ more accustomed with hand drawn animation, that can sometimes be lost in 3D animation. This is an outcome of Warsta’s experiments in combining; “two extremes (3D and Handmade) clash and merge. For example, bringing the uncontrollable movement of real hand-held footage to an otherwise sterile computer animation”

Adnan Lalani‘s experiment with augmented reality catches the attention, through being something the viewer can interact with. The action of turning the Pop Up Book’s pages is suplimented by additional narration appearing on the screen placed directly behind the book and inline with the viewers eye.

Below is a video documenting the Pop Up Book’s Prototype. Earlier this week Adnan kindly took a few moments to explain the idea behind combining the narrative structure of a Pop Up Book with Augmented reality: “The pop-up book felt like a natural compliment to augmented reality. I was hoping to see how AR could be used in a more tactile, playful context… i.e. take something we already know and play with, and allow it to be enhanced with animation and digital interactivity.”

RCA Work In Progress Show – Pop Up Book Prototype Documentation from adnan lalani on Vimeo.

Eventually Adnan hopes that as we grow increasingly comfortable with the idea of Augmented Reality, ideas like the Pop Up book ” can allow a progression from the magical, novelty nature of AR, into more of a direct tool by which to communicate narratives and story telling”

The eye catching work of Design Interaction Graduate Louise O’Conner; used experimental dance to convey the movement of the smallest particles, for example: Atoms, in an attempt to connect us to movements that are beyond our physical awareness. Visit the exhibition to watch the film!

A particular lovely idea was the mapping out to scale, the measurements of the solar system along Kingsland High Street and up into Stamford Hill. Several shopkeepers were to host a planet…

Photography by Mark Henderson

You can find the map and information about the project here:

Katrin Baumgarten’s Aesthetics of Disgust explores humans’ relationship and our reactions; both emotional and physical to the things or materials which disgust us. Using inanimate objects all too often taken for granted, (i.e. Light Switches) Kartin added disturbing features such as goo or hair that moved as the light switch is pressed. By ‘touching’ us back, the presence of these inanimate objects is brought back to the forefront of our attention.

In the installation at the Royal College of Art a screen documents the level of the reaction of each user.

Another subject explored by Katrina is Intimate touch or sexual disgust and how these feelings can be created “merely by inappropriate behaviours in society, such as touching another person in an intimate or sexual way in public, even though that might comfort the two persons involved and is a part of our human nature.” The outcome of which is the Intimate Touch Object, an item which enables you to touch another person secretly…

FINALLY on my second trip (yes second, it’s that big and really worth the time) I came across the brilliant work of Sivaprakash Shanmugam’s Expressive Scribble. Children draw onto the projector screen (this could be the kitchen floor, wall etc…) and an bring their drawings to life by clicking the ‘movie’ button. The idea being to “enrich their visual vocabulary,” sense of narrative and most importantly encourage children’s creativity.

Part two of the RCA show continues until 4th July 2010. It’s open from 11-8 daily at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU. Admission is free.

Images Courtesy of the Students and addition photographs by Sally Mumby-Croft


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2 Responses to “Royal College of Art: Design and Animation Part Two”

  1. Antonia Hazlerigg says:

    Hi, did you see the design product exhibition (in the RCA’s adjacent Stevens Building down Jay Mews)? It was also part of Show 2; well worth a third trip if you missed it!

  2. Amelia says:

    Hey Antonia thanks for the comment! I did indeed see the Design Product Exhibition, I included a students work from Design products in post one (posted on Wednesday) and I thought that the work was also well worth the trip (esp for all of you readers yet to go!), as was communication design, textiles and that’s before mentioning the MA in Curating Contemporary Art! It’s an incredibly vast show displaying how many talented innovative people there are! Sally

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