This week introduces our final brief for the Contemporary Practice module; Press. This portion of the module explores the arena in which messages are deployed, in addition to how understand these messages and read symbolism and semiotics within. This week’s theme is ‘Message Delivered’, looking at how a message can be enhanced by the medium it is delivered through.
The lecture this week took the form of a podcast, with course co-ordinator Susanna Edwards in conversation with Sam Winston on the topic of ‘Form and Function’. Their conversation looked at the relationship between form and function, and how we understand and engineer messages.
Sam discusses his interest in typography, and how this has acted as a springboard for his interest in language. In this way, he describes being able to enter new spaces and communities through common links. An example he gives is how you may visit a bubble tea shop, and then be inspired to look into kpop, for instance. He later says ‘you can give meaning to your surroundings’, no matter how ‘bad’ or ‘mundane’ we might initially perceive them to be.
This point struck me as important to note, particularly in current times where we are staying as close to home as possible. ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ – I remember hearing, and perhaps this is why so many of us have taken on home improvement projects during the pandemic? It is easy to begin to take advantage of, or lose appreciation for our surroundings once we start to see them as ordinary. Sam’s recommendation is to visit public spaces and begin mapping what is happening there; look for inspiration and links in everything, and therefore add our own meaning to them.
The lecture mentioned contemporary designer Morag Mysercough, who brought her first ever mobile installation to Brighton in 2018. ‘Belonging’ was a bright, bold bandstand, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. The touring bandstand was programmed in conjunction with a multitude of Sussex-based communities, opening up its stage for them to reflect upon the concept of ‘belonging’ through banners, programming and local performers (Brighton Festival, 2018).
The Belonging Bandstand is the perfect illustration of Sam’s message: ‘You can give meaning to your surroundings’. The bandstand provided the platform, and under the theme of ‘Belonging’ allowed a variety of communities to take to its stage and offer their own interpretation of the word, adding meaning through performance and adorning the bandstand’s exterior.
This week’s challenge was to communicate an emotion you perceive about your city, using an appropriate material, form or medium to communicate the word. Living in Brighton has been an extremely positive move for me, and whilst I may still be wearing rose-tinted glasses from my relatively recent move, the city has fuelled my enthusiasm and creativity immensely.
When I think of Brighton, I think of the city’s vibrancy, its quirks and general weirdness taking me by surprise time and time again. However, the emotion that stuck out to me was ‘pride’ – pride to live in an accepting, creative and progressive community. Of course, Brighton is also home to Pride Festival. The words ‘Brighton’ and ‘pride’ are almost synonymous.
I began by taking to my sketchbook and doodling in rainbow colours. This week, I wanted to work with both analogue mediums and digital, to attempt to represent the wide range of creatives that call Brighton home.
I wanted my outcome to be slightly messy. Although I state I am still new to Brighton and relatively infatuated with it, I do not wish to convey it perhaps naively as ‘perfect’.
From here, I began to consider how iconic Brighton Pride is to the city. I did not wish to explicitly state that my chosen word was ‘pride’ in this week’s outcome, but rather opted to select another piece of Brighton iconography to nod towards this. I digitally drew a sketch of Brighton Pier, before printing this on top of my hand-drawn rainbow background.
I considered leaving my outcome as above, but after consideration decided to import my print to Photoshop for enhancements and to attempt to add some texture.
For my final outcome, I ensured the vibrancy of the city shone through the colours used. I used glitter as an overlay to add texture whilst capturing Brighton’s unique ‘sparkle’ and how the city shines during Pride Festival each year.