Transdisciplinary Design

It’s a wonderful life

Posted on December 19, 2010 | posted by:

In collobration with Mai, Aabhira and myself

A box full of string, a 40’s classic and a raging faux fire set this scene.

Welcome to one of the many contributions to our first New York show, ‘The Present’. As a blog follower, you would have read about our exhibition, which opened last Thursday night; a double collaborative effort with the KISD (Kölen International School of Design) students about critical design.

One of the exhibits was a collaborative effort between myself, Mai, and Aabhira. The idea was based around the concept that our exchanges today come with strings attached, whether conscious or not. The aim was to provoke questions of honesty, generosity, consumerism and how active our participation really is during the holiday season.

The short ten minuet video, progresses through a series of clips, starting with the final scene from the classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life — once considered a box office flop, now one of the most popular Christmas movies to date. Interrupting the rapturous, local savior is a crackling fire (the yule log) which act as a commentary about today’s bizarre Christmas rituals. In switching between the two clips we aim to highlight the absurdities to which we cling, in the present, we seem satisfied with entertaining ourselves with high moral movies, brimming with selflessness and optimism which express the true meaning of gift-giving whilst also watching stimulated fires that emit not heat but dreary holiday tunes. The question is left lingering, in the 21st century, have we forgotten to put to practice the ideals that we seek? Does gift giving now come with strings attached?

The opportunity to address such questions through the critical, reflective eye is an immeasurable one and it was especially gratifying to translate our thinking into a living breathing space, such as the exhibition. Our projects are heavy in dealing with scalability and system thinking and so to be involved in a project in a somewhat abstract manner was satisfying. I say this because it seems that the future of design is being heavily explored, pushed and pulled in many directions. Those different voices and makers have begun to shed light on both its flaws but also its strengths, providing a great space to challenge our individual notions of this vast profession.  The thought also gives me, well, the fuzzy feeling of being in front of a warm fire. Happy holidays.

Early iterations of the concept. Work done by Mai, Aabhira and myself.