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CURATE & BUILD – STUDY BLOCK TWO

22TH JAN'24 - 10TH MAY'24

WEEK 1: 22th Jan'24 – 26th Jan'24

22th Jan'24 - Briefing session

Today was the new chapter for Semester 02, the Reconstruction study block, modules to begin. The first module will be Curate and Build, which will encourage us to examine the relationship between thinking and doing further. It's like a signal to test, try out, and explore our project interests in more detail.

The focal point of this module lies in crafting an interactive exhibition that delves into the escalating complexity of data within our rapidly evolving technological and cultural milieu. Our task involves investigating how meaning can be unveiled through tangible or embodied visualisation techniques and understanding how an approach to data 'curation' can foster in-depth research into specific digital and cultural trends.

Simultaneously, we will participate in a collaborative challenge to brand, curate, and publicise the 'exhibition,' adding an extra layer of practical experience to our learning process.

INTRODUCTION

Aren’t we just the worst species you can imagine? You know if you said in the early 90s: “In 20 years, you will have the answer to any question you ever wanted, right there immediately, literally in the palm of your hand, no matter where you are on earth,” you would say “No that’s not possible. No that’s too unbelievable.” And, of course, now it’s true, now everyone’s like (yawns) “Next!” We have these amazing things that just dropped into our laps, and now we just want something new. That’s [our] relationship with the future … You’re scared of what’s coming next, but you also want it. What would you call that kind of relationship? Co-dependent?

Douglas Copeland 2015

In the wake of the continuous global pandemic, rapid technological change, data overflow, growing political polarisation, conspiracy theories, and an all-consuming digital world, the concept of ‘the self’ as we know it has been radically destabilized. Building on the recently published 'The Extreme Self - Age of You' by novelist Douglas Coupland, editor Shumon Basar, and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, you are asked to reveal, problematise, challenge, disrupt, provoke, and/or question the idea of ‘the self’ within a contemporary context. This might include investigations into technology, politics, fame, intimacy (…) – but, at its heart, it must consider what it means to be human today.

Project 01: Putting the Spotlight on 'YOU'

The project's overarching goal is to cultivate and articulate a unique 'point of view' through a design response presented in various formats, utilising a pre-existing 'data' node. This data node could manifest as a single statistic, a set of related statistics, a timeline, a recording, an interview, or similar mediums. Crucially, the project aims to construct a compelling and impactful information experience for the audience.

Furthermore, the project encourages the exploration of personal skill development and the exploration of theoretical and practical interests within the communication design field, all geared towards shaping your final MA project. The creative journey involves ample freedom for testing, experimentation, and play.


While the final artefacts may manifest in diverse forms such as interactive media, a performance, video, etc., they must be crafted and designed within the framework of a broader group show—Project 2—scheduled to take place in our Atrium. In addition to the creative output, participants would be expected to produce a reflective, critical report on their work throughout the semester. This report will serve as a bridge connecting the current work to the MA concepts intended for exploration in the final semester. The report should be underpinned by a clear theoretical foundation, supported by evidence, and guided by reasoning.


The paper will consist of two parts:
1) 2000 words: A critically reflective report on the work that would to undertaken in the current semester.
2) 500 words: an abstract that outlines, as clearly and concisely as possible, the research question(s), parameters, and literature that will inform your final MA project in the next study block.

 
 

Project 02: Focusing on the 'US'

The project framework entails dividing into groups, supported by initial ideation workshops and theory lectures, to formulate a comprehensive curatorial plan for Project 1. The primary emphasis should be on the target audience, guided by a direct strategic approach. Considerations include:
 

Exhibition name

Exhibition branding

Exhibition layout 

A curatorial statement

Publicity for the opening + show

Creating engagement pre, during and after the show

The group concepts will be ‘pitched’ to your cohort on the provisional date of Friday, 8 March. The chosen concept(s) will be further developed and implemented for the exhibition launch. Throughout this process, equitable distribution of the workload within the group is vital, achieved through negotiation and task delegation while also adhering to the overall project budget.

The deliverables are:
• A curated project presented via a 10-minute presentation (group)
• Installed exhibition
• PDF boards
• Design a Research Journal recording your project development
• 2500-word reflective report
• Review and peer-review documents

After comprehending the brief, I experienced mixed emotions, uncertain about my ability to craft the artefact for both projects, particularly given my limited experience in manual artistry. Despite having engaged in prototyping for the boundaries project, I approach the challenge with a blend of nervousness and excitement.

23th Jan'24 - Short workshop by Lizzy and Bryan

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the project, we

participated in a small workshop. During the workshop, we

were divided into three groups, and each group was assigned a

specific area. For our group, we got the environment. Our group

was tasked with exploring the topic of ‘Veganism’. Within the

context of Veganism, we identified several key areas of interest,

including plant-based meat alternatives, the agricultural impact

to support increased demand, and the contents of a pint of

milk.

We chose to explore deeper into the contents of a pint of milk

and discovered various subtopics worth exploring, such as

the carbon footprint of cows, land use, artificial hormones,

antibiotics, and mastitis – a bacterial infection in the increasing

white blood cells.

Some data are:

  1. Every litre of milk can contain 400 million pus cells.

  2. 30% of British dairy cows have mastitis.

  3. Every sip contains 11 different growth factors and 35 different hormones. 

  4. One in six pints of milk produced globally is lost or wasted – 128 million tons of milk each year. 

The statement will be about the environmental impact of factory/industrial farming. The artefacts will showcase the production of Milk produced by the factory. 

Feedback: It was a great way how to come up with an idea so quickly in this short workshop as the topic required a lot, but they say we came up with a good solution. 

WEEK 2: 29th Jan'24 – 2nd Feb'24

29th Jan'24 - Research (Reading and Topic 01)

After the workshop, I began by reading this book. The concept of the “Extreme Self,” suggests that modern technology and the digital age have blurred the lines between our identities and existence. It points out how our digital presence, scattered across the internet, can create a fragmented sense similar to the experience of trauma. This idea prompts reflection on the implications of our digital footprint and the potential long-term effects on our understanding of identity and presence in the world.

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Upon finishing the book, I chose two subjects from the list:

Nostalgia Tendencies and DNA, both of which piqued my interest. However, to make a selection between them, I needed to explore deeper into each one. I decided to start with Nostalgia Tendencies. During my research on this topic, I

stumbled upon an article titled - ‘How are Gen Z and millennials

driving nostalgia?’

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Source:

https://blog.gwi.com/trends/nostalgia-trend/

30th Jan'24 - Research (DNA)

The upcoming subject is DNA. Initially uncertain where to start, I turned to Google and searched for ‘Designer and DNA’. Through this search, I discovered a wealth of information regarding Designer Babies. Explore the topic, I explored what distinguishes designer babies from natural ones.

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After researching both topics, I am inclined to explore the DNA topic further due to its potential for delving into genetic editing. I anticipate discovering compelling data that will fuel my curiosity and propel my exploration in this area. Additionally, during a group tutorial with classmates and Bryan, we brainstormed key headings that serve as highlights for further research.

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1st Feb'24 - Research (Genetic Disease)

I initially focused on Genetic Diseases to investigate ways to alter genes and prevent these conditions. Many babies are born with Genetic Disorders, and currently, there are no remedies. I also consider the differing opinions people have about genetic editing, both for and against it.

America - Americans strongly support using gene editing techniques for people’s therapeutic needs. But, when it comes to their potential use to enhance human health over the course of a lifetime by reducing a baby’s risk of getting serious diseases or conditions, many Americans think this would be a bad idea for society as say it would be a good idea. The public is also closely divided over whether they would want this for their own baby.

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United Kingdom (Real Case Study) 

 

The births of the U.K.’s first babies were created using an experimental technique combining DNA from three people, an effort to prevent the children from inheriting rare genetic diseases. About one in 200 children in Britain is born with a mitochondrial disorder.

 

To date, 32 patients have been authorized to receive such treatment. For a woman with faulty mitochondria, scientists take genetic material from her egg or embryo, which is then transferred into a donor egg or embryo that still has healthy mitochondria but has the rest of its key DNA removed. The fertilized embryo is then transferred into the womb of the mother. The genetic material from the donated egg comprises less than 1% of the child created from this technique.

Britain requires every woman undergoing the treatment to receive approval from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority. The regulator says that to be eligible, families must have no other available options for avoiding

passing on genetic disease.

Many critics oppose the artificial reproduction techniques, arguing there are other ways for people to avoid passing on diseases to their children, such as egg donation or screening tests, and that the experimental methods have not yet been proven safe.

Others warn that tweaking the genetic code this way could be a slippery slope that eventually leads to designer babies for parents who not only want to avoid inherited diseases but to have taller, stronger, smarter or better-looking children.

Source:

https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/03/17/americans-are-closelydivided- over-editing-a-babys-genes-to-reduce-serious-health-risk/

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/babies-dna-threedifferent-people-born-first-time-uk-rcna83788

WEEK 3: 5th Feb'24 – 9th Feb'24

5th Feb'24 - Research (Perfect Generation)

Every parent dreams of having a flawless child. Even before birth, people influence the baby’s physical and mental development through their genes. Many couples marry with the hope of having a perfect baby. I began reading articles about people’s opinions on gene editing to achieve this ideal.

The Guardian article wrote that younger generations were far more in favour of designer babies than older people, with 38% of 16 to 24-year-olds and 31% of 25 to 34-year olds supporting the use of gene editing to allow parents to choose features such as their child’s height and eye and hair colour.

In the UK and many other countries, it is illegal to perform genome editing on embryos that are intended for pregnancies.

John Harris, emeritus professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester, said he supported the “maximum possible choice” for parents in choosing the physical traits of their children if the traits in themselves are not harmful. “I don’t think it’s wrong in principle to engineer either harmless or better than original traits in our children if we can,” he said. “If it’s not wrong to wish for a bonnie brown-eyed girl, how does it become wrong to implement that if you have the power? We are too ready to shout eugenics when people want to exercise innocent preferences.”

Personality and intelligence - In this area of modifying the genes, the scientists have very little information about that but it’s estimated that up to 80% of intelligence, as measured by IQ, is inherited – we don’t know much at all about which genes are involved. At best, the Guardian says, PGD might tell a prospective parent things like “there’s a 60% chance of this child getting in the top half at school, or a 13% chance of being in the top 10%”.

Cosmetic Traits - In this direction, the traits such as hair or eye colour which the article says that we might do better for “cosmetic” traits such as hair or eye colour. Even these “turn out to be more complicated than a lot of people thought,” Guardian says but as the number of people whose genomes have been sequenced increases, the predictive ability will improve.

Appearance - Children have been judged on their appearance by others as well, according to parents. From strangers, 28% of parents reported unfair treatment, while 12% reported unfair treatment from other family members, 12% from teachers, and 5% from health-care providers. Over 60% of parents talked with their children about the incident, while about a third kept their children away from the person who commented and 27% spoke directly to the person.

In America, Men are more inclined than women to view gene editing as an appropriate use of medical technology, regardless of its intent. More men (43%) than women (24%) are accepting of gene editing technology if it requires embryonic testing to develop.

7th Feb'24 - Will Kinchin Lecture

Attending Will Kinchin’s Lecture proved captivating. Kinchin, a BA Graphic Design programme graduate shared insights into his journey post-Falmouth, now serving as the creative director of Will Works for over fifteen years, specializing in branding. His approach to transitioning from concept to outcome fascinated me.

He detailed various stages of project initiation, such as ‘Brief & Research’, emphasizing key elements like briefing points, research findings, and client insights. He then delineated the

deliverables and introduced three routes of ideation: Route 01, Route 02, and Route 03.

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Following this, my group for the exhibition began to planning

the things. Collaboratively, we began by establishing our group

dynamics, creating a Figma board to pool research for the

exhibition. This exercise enabled us to derive a starting point,

leveraging insights from the brief and drawing inspiration from

other exhibitions to enrich our project.

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