New Media = New Education
MASTERS OF RIETVELD
GRADUATION + BOOKPRESENTATION
SANDBERG INSTITUTE DESIGN DEPT.
SAT. 27|10 | 2007 at 20 : 00h
Yesterday the graduation of the Sandberg Institute was held at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam. Together with the presentations of the graduates it was also the launch of the book ‘Masters of Rietveld: Dutch Design in the 21st Century’, made by Coralie Vogelaar to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Sandberg Institute. The book is 388 pages and contains 2500 pictures. It shows the work of designers that graduated from Sandberg, which are linked to each other through work that already exists ordered by form.
It illustrates the fact that “we live amid a flood of superficial images whose original points of reference have disappeared”. She invites the reader, or rather viewer, along the path of recognition that she has made, while making the book. Fragments of popular culture (e.g. Madonna) are next to haute couture. And images of net.art are followed up by an image that brings you back to your childhood (e.g. Spirograph).The pictures parody, criticize and resemble each other. This shows a copy+paste world that goes beyond the design world. It’s everywhere. And you had to be shut off of society if you don’t recognize a single image in the whole book. Except for the fact that it’s a nice book, this type of book is nothing new as well. Something like Taschen thrives on this fact, by publishing books filled with nothing but images. Coralie recognizes this fact and mentions three other examples of where she has seen these type of books before. This just illustrates the point she’s trying to make. She’s is well aware of what has been done and this is probably why this book works. Making no judgement calls, just showing it as she sees it.
From an academic perspective (New Media Studies), you could say a lack of originality forms a pitfall here (as well). If you look for instance at Wikipedia (not implying that this is an academic environment, just using it to make a point); the main reason given, if an article isn’t up to the standards, is the lack of references being made in the article. This is a fundamental rule in the academic world, making references to other work is not only preferred. It is compulsory. But within an area as new as New Media Studies, don’t we have to be on the lookout that we don’t put too much weight on what has been written. Or let me put that in other words, to stay critical at what is being written in this field. Every essay does add something, but is it new? And so much is already being copy+pasted, even at universities in general that students have to admit their papers to online sites like Turnitin to check it for plagiarism. The net has become a flood of superficial texts as well as images. It is no more the case of what is true or not, but is it relevant? Just like Coralie did with her book, she believes that the designers task is not so much to make new original images as to give new meaning to the bombardment of images around us. It is time for the academic world to acknowledge this fact (for text that is) as well, and reflect on it. And you have to be informed to stay critical. So stop reading and start scanning.
I would like to point out that this post wasn’t written out of discontent about the literature within new media studies, it just made me think.
20:00 uur Welcome by Mieke Gerritzen (head Sandberg Instituut design dept.)
+ Graduation presentations by: Amir Admoni, Teun Castelein, Hendrik-Jan Grievink, Ruben van Leer, Ogül Oz, Ricardo Portilho, Jessy Rietdijk, Dima Stefanova en Coralie Vogelaar
21:30 uur Bookpresentation ‘Masters of Rietveld: Dutch Design in the 21st Century’ made by Coralie Vogelaar + borrel
22:00 uur Reaction on the graduation by the commitee
22:20 uur Party
01:00 uur End
Tracy Metz, author/editor NRC Handelsblad
Max Bruinsma, design editor and curator
Marten Jongema, curator presentation and exhibitions Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Rob Schröder, designer/moviemaker and teacher Sandberg Institute