intraspace: the review lounge

Sunday, August 19, 2007

SP07: the review

after last year's semi-permanent design conference i was adamant i'd be back again and i was. last year, i spent some of my time texting roly to tell him what he was missing out on - this year, he relinquished and came along. the two of us packed up and headed north, staying with my folks in kaiaua the night before and then into auckland for the conference the next morning.

here's how the day unfolded:

alt. "alt," as the sp07 book says, "is a multi-disciplinary design company based in auckland." last year, some of the designers that spoke were very unconfident in front of the audience and i was worried the same thing might happen when the guy from alt got up. but while he was clearly more comfortable in front of a mac than nearly 1000 people, his lowkey approach worked really well. he basically just showed us through some of alt's work and it was pretty interesting and amusing. he comes from a fine arts background so there is some nice interplay between art and design in their work.

umeric. "the studio of director ash bolland and designer/art director von dekker." umeric is a motion graphics outfit based in sydney. ash was the speaker and he is nz-born, so the lowkey approach continued. he took a while to get started and his windows-based laptop crashed a couple of times in front of the huge mac-using audience. umeric's work, once things got under way, was impressive - in particular the animation mixed with live action and a project they did for the mtv australia music video awards (pictured) - very cool. ash walked us through the process of creating a few of their projects.

3 deep. "founded in 1996 by brett phillips and david roennfeldt, 3 deep design has established a reputation for uncompromised design excellence, commitment, passion and design innovation." we wondered what the heck was going on when some aussie dude got on stage and informed us that 3 deep were getting a bit bored of presenting at events like this, and had asked him to help them present their work. he then went on to explain that he wasn't from 3 deep before proceeding to show us some of his own work. eventually, to our relief he invited the proper 3 deep guys up on stage. they had decided on an interview format, which didn't really work because the sound was terrible and the mics kept feeding back. their work was ok but i wasn't blown away by it. in the end i decided to go for a walk, go to the toilet and text my friends to meet up for lunch instead. roly left early to go and get some new tyres for his car.

glue society. "a creative agency based in sydney and new york, the glue society is made of 10 writers, designers, art directors and film directors." these guys presented an incredible array of innovative (and sometimes controversial) advertising work. their stuff was characterised by humour and strange twists on reality. faced with a limited budget, for example, for the promotion of an aussie tv comedy show, they hired billboards in about six really cheap locations around the world - including iceland and iraq. the publicity they got from this crazy venture outweighed anything they could have purchased with a bigger budget.

misery. "auckland-based artist, painter and designer of characters misery started out as a graffiti artist, but her many visions of where she'd like to see her art and characters applied have seen her expand into everything from fashion to toys." 'cutely disturbed' or 'disturbed cuteness' are the terms i would use to sum up misery - everything she does seems to exude this sense. she appeared on stage with a guy in a sausage suit playing a ukelele, someone in a fright mask playing one of those sticks with the bottle tops attached to it that you hit on the ground to create a rhythm, a guy dressed up as a mexican wrestler, and three people behind misery-styled masquerade masks. these last three she described as her "minions", pronouncing it with a french twist a la "fillet mignon". it was really quite fascinating although i have to admit that i was distracted by the sausage guy instead of watching misery do her painting demonstration.

made thought. "madethought is a london-based multi-disciplinary design consultancy working in brand identity and development, art-direction, packaging, print and interactive design." this is the one i remember least about. the work was very solid, and the client-base very impressive, but for me, nothing much to write home about.

uva. "london-based united visual artists work with led, traditional lighting and projection technologies as sculptural elements, with their bespoke software approach allowing them to use existing technologies in new and unusual ways." as with last year (when the event ended with taika waititi) the most fascinating speaker was saved for last. uva push the boundaries in what we normally think about in connection with design. while what they do is well beyond the budget or abilities of anything i will probably ever be involved with, they had me captured when they started talking about how they designed the album artwork for leftfield's rhythm and stealth, before going on to design all the stage lighting and special fx for the massive attack world tour and u2's vertigo tour - not only fascinating me with their flashing lights, but also working with three of my most favourite bands in the process. it sounds like these guys trawl the world for cool lighting and video products before combining them in crazy ways for very cool projects. some of their best work also included some public installations, including a couple at the v&a museum in london (pictured). far too cool for words.

thus the day ended, and roly and i cruised back home. main highlights for me: alt, misery and uva (also getting one of my photos into this year's semi-permanent book and scoring a particularly sweet-looking rangefinder camera for $5 at the markets in the square outside the venue). bring on SP08 which, they announced at the end of the day, is likely to be stretched out across two days and include more specialist speakers in the area of photography and illustration and stuff - too much fun.

on the headphones: 'urban getaway' by elemeno p, from the album 'love & disrespect'.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home