Friday, November 26, 2010

Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst

In Basel I went to visit the School for Design and Art. I admittedly wasn't quite prepared for meeting anyone, but I figured getting a look around would be helpful for when I came back after emailing some professors. When I started asking where to go, not many people spoke english, so I was passed from person to person. I started with a counselor I found, who then passed me to a english speaking counselor, who then passed me to someone who works in the office for the masters program, who then introduced me to a faculty member named Gregory who knew Sean Bolan, then I went to a classroom with 2nd year students in it and met that faculty member. Nicolaj Van Der Meulen was the professor, and he told me to come back at 3pm and until then I could talk to Clari. Clari is a 2nd year student, originally from Nigeria, who did her undergrad at the University of Miami, and is now getting her Masters. Everyone was very kind and helpful, and the structure of the building was very similar to UW. Each year had their own classroom, and each student their own desk. Also, the brochures and fliers for the school were very similar in appearance to UW's fliers. I will add photos soon to explain more clearly.

The professor I spoke to is named Nicolaj, this semester he is teaching "Theory of Practice: Art and Design"as well as overseeing their current project "Visual Communication in the Curatorial Field." The project is cooperating with the local art museum to create idea for new designs of the space. The students work in teams to create a proposal which is then presented to the museum board. Clari and Nicolaj both told me about this project, and one thing they both were extremely proud of was that students with backgrounds in Art History and Design are on these teams. This allows for the students to learn from each other and to consider elements that a designer may not think to consider. The "Theory of Practice" class is a weekly seminar where the students listen to a lecture that looks deeply into a facet of design. Usually the lecture is based on a particular book or author. Nicolaj invited back for the next lecture which is about signage and growth of Las Vegas. 

At the school there are two masters programs, one is a Masters of Fine Arts, and the other is a Masters of Art. The one that interested me most, and that Nicolaj is a part of, is the Master of Arts in Graphic Design and Iconic Research. The program is based on the theory and research of images, how images work, how the mind interprets them, at what level does one image change into another. The program also works to strengthen the students design skills. When Nicolaj was telling me about the program, it reminded me of the Visualizations courses I took at UW, which were my favorite classes. I love the psychology behind design, why some designs are good and why others are bad and the truth behind "a picture is worth a thousand words." Nicolaj thinks that the theory behind design is only just being discovered and this program is working to uncover one element of design, images. 

While talking with him, he asked me how I would benefit from this program. I admit that this question startled me, it's basically the same as asking "what do you want from this: job, life, trip, etc." Which is a really hard question for me, because I don't often know, I just want to experience something to maybe help me figure that out. Luckily I thought of a better answer for Nicolaj that was also true. I felt that my education at UW was unfinished. I am not confident in my knowledge of design, or my portfolio, or when I go to interviews. I do honestly feel like I would succeed in a studio, but I haven't been able to prove it to anyone who matters. He liked my answer and said that many students have felt that way when entering the program. 

The last interesting part of the program is the schools cooperations with a group called ImageLab. The two entities work on a project called Eikones which is the umbrella that covers the curatorial project and past project the school has done. In return for the students doing this research and these guided projects, their shows are set up in the local museum. Nicolaj provided me with a book about the students research/discoveries about ornaments (page ornaments, not christmas) and you can see information about it on the Eikones website under projects. 

Excited to go back on Monday!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds awesome, the mixing of different aesthetics via all the international students must be really cool