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Written by Colin Keays

“In Italy, they say the intensity of the heat on a graduation day is proportionate to the brilliance of the graduates”, stated Joseph Grima, at the sweltering Bachelors Graduation Ceremony, which took place in the evening of Tuesday 25th June. Perhaps this sentiment aptly summarises the complex variety of work that was on display after graduating students had each presented two complete projects to tutors and external examiners earlier in the day.

Grima paid a special tribute to Ilse Crawford and Oscar Peña, department heads for Man and Well-Being and Activity respectively, who have both been teaching for over 20 years at the Design Academy, and between them seen hundreds of students graduate. In their parting speeches to their final batch of graduates, Oscar Peña highlighted the need to be “aware of the challenges we have as designers, and the opportunities this will bring,” while Ilse Crawford reflected on how her students have shown her their visions on “how to shape a fairer, more sustainable and better future.”

From Man and Activity, Satomi Minoshima, was awarded with a Cum Laude for her projects, Skin Tote, and Inflatable Leather, in which she created a series of inflatable furniture products in leather, in response to the disposability of typical vinyl products we have become accustomed to. Ken Tsunoda’s Reality is the Best Story, created an exhibition space to question his own role as a product designer, reflecting on how the contexts and stories through which objects are presented might sometimes hold more significance than the objects themselves.

In Man and Leisure, a significant variety of topics were covered, including several political themes, the role of 3D manufacturing techniques, and the importance of sexual intimacy, as with Sandra Jansen’s series of toys, The Desirables. The waste associated with the resource cycle of consumer objects was highlighted by Leo Orta, with his mythical monsters, Creatures in Retention. A Cum Laude was awarded to Louise Gholam, whose project Safety Dummy challenged the role of securitised public space, as well as to Irakli Sabekia, whose project Ministry of Reasonable Chaos also brought the downfalls of the overly-regulated public sphere to attention. His installation Voicing Borders, sought to communicate the tensions of the occupied territory along Europe’s most eastern border in Georgia.

Topics were equally as varied from Well-Being, with Baiba Soma analysing the body language of Police officers, with The Power of Authority. Dimitry Suzana, who was awarded with the Workshop Award, displayed his project Unfit to Live, an immersive and performative experience to highlight the ethics around assisted suicide and ALS disease. A Cum Laude was awarded to Clara Le Meur, whose Valuable Gesture Factory physically and tangibly shows our hidden role in the digital economy, which Ilse Crawford highlighted during the ceremony as “a problem we should all take seriously.”

From Public Private, projects varied from military tactics to menstrual cycles, the heritage of textiles, as well as a collaborative research project into Dry Stone Walls in Italy by Caterina Tioli and Matteo Viviana, entitled Linea Maixei. A Cum Laude was awarded to Paule Agustoni, for her 3D knitted Mastectomy Caregiver, a series of sweaters to support people in the recovery process after mastectomy operations. Loan Favan from Identity, took a trans-humanist approach to the idea of her future-self, with a jewellery collection entitled Alliage -Cu29Zn30. From Man and Motion, Gal Keshet speculated on the cultural value of fire with his project, Hestia, while Jonas Görgen invented a new way of bathing with minimal water.

From Communication, the largest department, five students were awarded with a Cum Laude. These included Orson van Beek, who commented on our reliance on screens with a series of Figurative Furniture, with explicit references to post-digital aesthetics. Anna Zimmerman assisted the position of freelance workers in creative industries with a series of props, while her Euphoric magazine highlighted a sense of European identity amongst young people. Samuel Picot was awarded for his use of the medium of VR to generate a retelling his grandfather’s experiences of WW2 as a child. Also receiving a Cum Laude were Tristan Roques, Oriane Rondeau, and Min Young Choi who exhibited off site at Temporary Art Centre (TAC) with two film projects.

In Food non Food, several projects turned to surprising uses of naturally occurring materials, including Marie Declerfayt’s speculative use of wood as a substitute for human bones, and Tessa de Groot’s refiguring of perceptively invasive species of Japanese Knotweed as an edible food resource. Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir received a Cum Laude for what department head Marije Vogelzang described as a “detailed, refined, sensitive, and through approach” to her projects Earthly Delights, which demonstrated the potential of pure sulphur, while her other project questioned our contemporary reliance on the mining of rare metals.

The range of projects, which were on display to the public on Wednesday 26th June, join those who graduated from the four Masters departments the week prior, as well additional Bachelors in January, to showcase the increasingly urgent scope of themes covered by the 2019 batch of Design Academy graduates. It seems ever more clear that graduating students are tackling themes which seem to transcend solely the vision of their departments, and truly respond to the challenges of the world we live in.

Most projects will go on display once again at the graduation show during Dutch Design Week in October 2019, in Eindhoven’s former Campina factory, while further context to their work will be discussed in The Arena.

Published: 03-Jul-2019 16:06


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  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Photography by Boudewijn Bollmann

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Man and Leisure

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Public Private

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Man and Communication

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Man and Motion

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Food non Food

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Man and Identity

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Man and Activity

  • BA Graduation Ceremony June 2019

    Man and Well-Being