Today's the day of the student shows at the Art & Design Institute, and it already feels odd being less involved than in previous years (that's to say hardly involved at all) since for the previous 4-5 years the graduate shows for multimedia dominated my waking hours each June. Some thoughts though:
- There's a definite shift this year towards the approach that we pioneered in Multimedia Design: more selection, less free-for-all, less work on walls and more variety of presentation (screens, projections, video, interactive displays).
- The 'experience' approach has spread from the 2 small rooms we used to occupy to a larger portion of the show floor. There's a drama to the layout and use of spaces like the large photo studio (check my Flickr stream) and the flow from one space to another (largely due to the persistence of my friend and colleague David Osbaldestin, who's managed this year's show, but yeah we advised a bit too). This was notably lacking in the previous years' 'mish-mash of student displays.
- If there's an sense in which putting a show together should be treated like retail design, it's only because good retail understands how the visitor experience plays out over time and space. In this sense it's pure theatre, and nothing that retail can claim to have invented.
- Selectiveness isn't the same as selection, and while a curated show is appealing for a host of reasons it's also a mistake to think of ourselves as professional selectors in a design competition. I won't mention the phone calls that some lecturers have been getting from irate parents that think their kid's work should be the main feature.