Thu 31 May 2012
Last week, we sent graphic designer Sabine Selbach to the agIdeas conference, a three-day celebration of art, design, culture and visual innovation. She’s been walking around in a design daze ever since. Here’s her write-up, as well as a few photos, and a ‘very detailed’ sketch. —DF
To watch one of the most successful and creative people worldwide is a pleasure. It makes your hands sweaty; you like to start straight away with your ideas.
Like the German interface designer, Joachim Sauter—a long-time leader in the use of digital technologies in design and art and founder of the interdisciplinary studio ART+COM in Berlin—said: “Inspire people instead of motivate them. If you motivate them, they will just do what you want them to do. But if you inspire them, they will do things they even didn’t know that they want them to do.”
And this is exactly the role of agIdeas—inspiration.
One message is echoing over and over again in the audience’s heads: Everything is possible. Just do it. Believe in you. But how did the speakers inspire us? Well, every single one had a different way: some talked a lot, or like the Russian designer and artist Vladimir Chaika, didn’t say a single word. Some presented in an emotional or rational, wordy or visual way.
Every speaker was fascinating in their own unique way, sharing a look behind the scenes, confessing their mistakes beyond the perfect images, which can be found on websites or in glossy magazines, their personal way to become who they are, their visions and important of all what everyone of us can do to make the world a better place.
Talking about Chaika: If you see this face I just illustrated here:
and you have watched his presentation, you will laugh out loud combined with a loud sigh. His presentation is one of the ones you won’t forget: Chaika didn’t say a word. Instead he was showing us a slideshow of these 4 lines, read as a face, over and over again. It appeared in posters, as painted rocks, as an installation etc. A dark sound was the only companion to the slideshow. It was rather a theatrical performance than a great inspirational speech. Was it provocation? Or were we just to fast to watch silently the same concept in different photos? The more time the presentation went by, more and more mobile phones were shining in the dark audience hall. I realised that “old” art is not working any longer for an audience who has more friends on their mobile devices than in real live. Next one, please!
An unforgettable highlight was definitely Mr Playboy, aka Art Paul, the founder and maker of Playboy in the 50s. The magazine started as an art magazine with nude content after the Second World War. Unfortunately these days there is not much remained from its arty and quirky character. Paul was chatting via Skype about his up and downs in producing such a controversial mag back in the olden days. Good on you, Paul!
Talking about the old legends, it was also amazing to listen to the Australian designer, illustrator, writer and animator legend Mr Alexander Stitt. If you are Australian then I don’t have to say how much he contributed to the Australian nation with his artwork, from comic strips which were published in The Age to animations shown on ABC. You can get his beautiful artwork of 50 years in his compilation Autobiographics Alexander Stitt.
From the old masters to the youngsters, the Dutch graphic design studio Autobahn had a very fresh and alive presentation to show. The two boys, who are obsessed with (typographical) experiments, were a nice act to watch at the end of the first day. Designer Maarten Dullemeije was presenting while his college Rob Stolte was sitting in a chair, wearing numerous t-shirt layers with keynotes of their presentation, illustrated as a notebook. His function was to support Maarten in case he ran out of words. After finishing each sheet, Rob was losing one layer of his t-shirts by throwing it in the crowd. It was absolutely hilarious to watch the silent crowed changing into crying girls at a rock concert.
And some final tips from MadeThought, one of the UK’s most respected design consultancies:
- Learn how to balance
- Be consciously brave
- We are not artists
- Have fun!