New Statesman Internship – overview at the end

After a small extension to my placement, I have now completed my internship at the New Statesman.

Totalling up the days, it is no wonder that the time has flown by. Taking into account office breaks after the centenary edition and my unfortunate day of sickness, the weeks were a little fractured to begin with and I had initially thought that I would struggle to ever get my body clock into the swing of things! However, once into the regular flow of office rhythm it provided an extremely useful view into the nuts and bolts of magazine publishing on this scale.

I have had the opportunity to work on more projects that I anticipated, from the large at the end to the small icons and daily tasks that help to keep the office on the same page- literally and metaphorically! My research had already prepared me for one of the regular design intern tasks – which was sort of cheating, no? – but I definitely felt pushed out of my comfort zone of existing knowledge and experience. Picking up Quark Xpress definitely fell into that category, as did becoming so accustomed to Windows that I would take 10 minutes to readjust to shortcuts on my small cluster of Macs! Continue reading

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Pick Me Up 2013: Midweek Wonderland

Having spent a promising morning commute wondering whether I would be able to fit in a visit to Pick Me Up this year, I was pleasantly surprised when I was encouraged to take a couple of hours out of the office around lunchtime and visit the graphic arts festival at Somerset House.

The walk from Blackfriars to Somerset House could not be faulted in the glorious weather, and I was confused to discover that contrary to my discovery last year, there was no queue of any kind at the entrance! As I was to discover, the galleries inside were just populated enough to create a good atmosphere but not so much that I couldn’t press my nose against a piece and worry whose view I was blocking. It was just as well that I could take my time to soak up the work however, as unfortunately, I had neither a notepad or  decent quality camera to document pieces that I liked! Luckily I rummaged long enough to find pen and note some artist/collective names on the back of some postcards.

Continue reading

Pompeii and Herculaneum

Black Coffee meet Caramel Waffle……its ‘Pressing time.

Over the last couple of weeks I have continued my interning at New Statesman, which continues to be interesting  as well as challenging in unexpected ways. Towards the end of this week I have been getting my teeth stuck into some graphic tasks to supplement my introduction to Quark. In addition to an in-magazine subscription renewal card (for which I have had the dubious honour of ‘breaking the mould’..!), I have been given the task of designing a small type/logo/graphic for use across a series of articles discussing ‘What Makes Us Human?’. An intriguing prospect. The more I think on it, the more angles I consider might need representing across the different contributing authors. At the moment my ideas are focussing around the scientific arena: DNA, double helix, molecules, brains, thumbprints etc, which can uniquely be described as human. Conversely I feel that this does not represent the spiritual or emotional side of this discussion that will inevitably raised at some point. The type arrangement I am favouring at the moment is distinctly Natural History Museum-esque and may be the source of my favouring this angle however, so I shall try re-imagining this on my notepad very soon.

On a more cultural note however, I was lucky enough to book tickets for the weekend just gone, to see The British Museum’s ‘Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum’. Being a little worse for wear with an inner ear disturbance, I had forgotten to pack my notebook which proved to be a fatal mistake! I am by no means an expert reviewer of exhibitions and this one certainly gives a lot to reflect on in life and death, so I shall stick to my preferences and instead focus on the design elements which most caught my eye.

It seemed to be an exhibition of 2 natures, with a recreation of a villa providing the layout and context for which objects could be displayed to the viewer. This really was a brilliant device that enabled visitors to immerse themselves in a familiar aspect of the past and brutally confront the consequences of the natural disaster that took place. The reconstruction itself was loose and airy, making the most of the blackout materials around the walls of the museum’s inner space and leaving visitors able to gaze up at the expansive dome far above. Perhaps the nicest touch in the heart of the exhibition was a reconstruction of a small columned atrium whose low walls to a projected water pool, served as a seamless point of rest for visitors. Continue reading

New Internship, New Statesman

Just over a month ago, I interviewed for and was successful in securing a month long, full time internship as a design intern at the Blackfriars office of The New Statesman. It was a surprise to say the least! Considering the profile of the magazine, I had expected to be overlooked by sheer volume of applicants, and consider myself lucky that I trusted my spur of the moment/if you don’t try you don’t know attitude paid off…. it hasn’t always! Continue reading

Vanishing from the ISOCULTURE

It is longer than I thought since my last blog post, which saw me in the middle of helping out artist duo Burton Nitta imagine the future where humans might become self sufficient by means of, well, themselves.

However, my time alongside the fusion of cutting edge science and speculative design came to an abrupt end, and just when things were getting interesting! The experience of this exhibition as I saw it last, really fed the emerging scientist in me. I have a natural curiosity for bio-science in particular and although one school of thought says we are all born scientists, the opportunity to hear lectures from respected professionals in the fields of stem cell research, horticulture, anthropology and behaviourists has been one I have not begrudged myself.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the growing collection of isoculture experiments, playing with potential items and practices that might be used in such scenarios. But of course, since I last saw the exhibition it will have definitely developed into a fascinating set of objects and articles scattered across the walls and tables.

While I am hoping to return on its completion, I would urge anyone with a curious mind to head down to Watermans before the culture really vanishes forever!

ISOCULTURE homepage 
ISOCULTURE tumblr page (featuring latest updates on the communal creative projects that  are evolving to tell the story of one incarnation of this imaginary culture)

Isoculture photo update

Quick photo post between tasks today… volunteering and design… got to keep busy!

A French TV-magazine film crew were following the exhibition for the day, making us all a little self-conscious but was a pleasure to host international interest! Not to mention the morning lecture regarding stem cell application for targeted organ healing. Mind blowing! I must tap up my notes when I have more time, I would love to learn more about the field!

Filming the detailed and bizarre process of turning breast milk into a useable substitute for plastic. Collected interns couldn’t help but notice the similarity in process of cheese making..!

Aftermath of the filming process. When the artist is away, the interns will play! Note the strange texture of the milk/plastic. Poking is a must.

The growing collection of Isoculture objects and experiments. Recently added were human fat and caustic soda soap, as well as objects demonstrating a potential outcome in genetic random selection in hair colouring

Part of this weeks design task, preparing material for the big start of designing out isoculture

London City Safari

Approximately this time last week, I managed to find my way to Watermans Gallery in Kew to help installation duo Burton-Nitta with their artists-in-residency exhibition ‘ISOCULTURE’.

Rather mischievously, they prefer to remain faceless and let their work take centre stage. Admirable indeed, but while it made some angles a no-go, a little creative thinking made sure I captured an elusive hand gesture in addition to the answering responses from the panel. I am hesitant to give away detailed contents of the day, least it impinge on the development of the exhibition work in some way, but invited guests were taken for a City Safari through the neighbouring streets to envisage how it may be replicated in the ISOCULTURE scenario. The conversations that followed at the end of this safari were, according to my handful of notes, both fast paced and fascinating. I can only assume that I was too wrapped up in simultaneously following it and keeping my eye to the viewfinder, to take proper notes for later reflection!

I remember one of the most significant moments in the debate stemming from the assumed catalyst for the creation of an isolated society. With each member of the panel bringing the knowledge from their individual specialism (ranging from design to anthropology) it suddenly became apparent that each member had envisioned different scenarios, from which they were basing their thoughts. Catalysts ranged from natural disaster, resource scarcity, disease to societal decay, and seem to have been greatly influenced by the background of the individual. Although there was a fantastic conversation where we discussed terrible Hollywood disaster films from which we could base our scenarios, the diversity served to further highlight the scale of the experiment. Before moving onto more detailed aspects of the society, the issue was reduced to the chilling dichotomy of whether this new world would be pre-planned or forced upon us.
Also mentioned in my skeletal notes were scattered insights into formation of different community models and social hierarchies, and comparisons to Neanderthal development!

The exhibition will be growing and expanding through its duration in the gallery, as more exhibits and experiments (of the creative, scientific and thought variety) are added, so it is definitely a project I would be very interested to keep coming back to!

This week should hopefully see some working on some graphic pieces for the duo, which shall include some branding and map making for a guided/themed walk. On the proviso that I can figure out Skype…