Design Domain P.1


The Design Domain Project focuses around four starting themes which were linked to talks. I chose to go to all the talks based upon bodies and therefore want to focus my project around this area. Above I have displayed my notes which detail key words and points from the talks as well as from the KIKK design festival. Below I have detailed many of the interesting installations and talks from the Design Symposium and the festival.

The first talk which was of major interest to me was that of Patrick Tresset. He focuses work based on robots which use camera and arm to draw people based on their own perception of the world, fine tuning each differently to give them the appearance of personality. I think this is of interest because although the robots possess no actual body. They seem to invoke the illusion of having one via apparent personality. In a sense this body is more ephemeral than ours even though it is not physically present.

Asad Khan

The next talk which really interested me was by Asad Khan. He seemed to look within himself at this idea of body. This is what got me beginning to think of body more as an idea of soul or personality. It didn’t need to be some physical body but could be someones personality which to me seems more relevant in an increasingly virtual world.

Towards the Within

The piece linked above really struck me as reflected Asad Khan’s inner self. It was dark, but deeply reflective and at first appeared heavily abstract to the viewer. I think this resonated with me as I had made a very similar piece last year and was myself focusing on the idea of body and mind and soul being connected when trying to represent abstract concepts in a visual way.


After the Design Domain Symposium, I visited the KIKK festival in Belgium which was focused around Digital and innovative art and design.



The first piece which really struck me was one which wasn’t very digital and was actually made several years back. However the idea of body and mind seemed to resonate through it for me.

Shrink by Laurence Malstaf again brought forward the idea of the wavering human physical form but the potential for the soul, which is in essence the metaphysical portion of the human body being everlasting. By shrink rapping something, you are generally trying to extent it’s lifespan. Therefore I feel this piece majorly comments on the topic of the bodies deterioration.


The next piece which interested me was looking at bodies in space. unidentified satellites orbiting the earth were each tracked by a stick attached to a computer commanded servo. This didn’t appear to be moving heavily but small movements of the arms would be seen and it was in reality constantly changing. This didn’t seem to impact people in the same way visually but to me, it was as significant because in reality, we, the viewer were only seeing the falloff of the actual piece.



The next piece was simply a column of flowing liquid illuminated via light. At first glance, it was simply an elaborate lava lamp. In reality it is all impacted by sound which we don’t really notice as the origin. This to me is almost a visualisation of a hidden metaphysical concept, which can often be very difficult to pull of convincingly.


The final work of art which really resonated with me was a piece by Robyn Moody.


It again visualises audio but in a much more ominous sense, at least from my perspective. I feel that this piece is such an unusual combination between modern medium and old instruments that is creates a huge influx in time while almost commenting upon eternity itself. The idea that it was supposed to remind viewers of horror  movies seemed unapparent to me, indicating that possibly those perceptions have changed for our generation as human perception is always evolving.

Phoenix Perry showed several games she created which focus on connecting people in an emotional and physical way which again creates a link between digital culture and the idea of body and mind.

Although I didn’t feel that the games she created were deeply engaging, they threw up important questions of physical interactivity and its importance and we move to a digital environment.  Also the CAD and physical techniques she used to create the games really gave me strong ideas for future projects I could create.

Memo Akten showed me the first live view of machine learning I’ve ever seen or been able to notice. This really struck a cord with me as a machine develops its virtual body via real world learning. It developed it’s own bias and images which seemed almost like thoughts. I really want to explore machine learning although I realise it is an extremely difficult field to explore. I also feel that deep dream interests me greatly and the possibility of developing my own deep dream style would be very exiting.

Jifei Ou was the last talk which resonated to a phenomenal extent with me. Working at MIT Media lab mean’t his work was not only almost unfathomably complex, but also extremely engaging. He looked at taking what have become widely accessible resources such as 3D printing and using them in a new and complex way to generate works which genuinely baffled me. Printing minute hairs and bacteria forms onto surfaces to completely change the way they interact with external stimuli appeared almost magical.

The first demonstration was hairs facing in certain ways which when paired with vibrations could move objects and cause focused directional rotations. The second was bacteria from rice which expanded and contracted with humidity or water used to change when coming into contact with skin. This seemed to change the way technology appeared to me. It took it out of this virtual realm and trying to regain its footing in the physical world bringing it a much more real body we can grasp our minds around.

Above I have displayed many of the drawings which I created to generate ideas for where I want to go within this project. I looked at this idea of white space when I was drawing and realised that this negative or unused space can be sued to generate very interesting and immersive visuals. In Photoshop, with a locked layer and selection you can generate graphics from content awareness. This allows you to fill in white spaces in sometimes glitchy but always interesting ways almost instantaneously.

I think that these drawings born from both computer and hand form unusual and provoking visuals which cannot be made through other methods. I also feel that this sparked my pursuit of negative space and bodies within negative space having an impact upon it. Without the drawings, the content aware wouldn’t create anything showing how negative space can react to bodies within them. This makes me want to create a piece based on this principal.

I created these animations to show some kind of change in bodies within negative space. I feel that they are quite abstract but the idea that a body can react to negative space as a space can react in reverse intrigued me in a way, which lead to the above animations.

I also realised that in essence negative space has 3 main forms to  me. Although they are negative, water, air and the vacuum of space seem the most prevalent negative spaces we experience. They are represented usually by what lies within them rather than the negativeness itself as an absence on anything is hard to visualise.

underwater-energy-storage.pngunderwater-energy-storage copyzsd

Above I have shown colours which seem to represent sea air and space respectively. I think this is appropriate because it shows how the colours seem not to show themselves but almost refer to something deeper.

underwater-energy-storage copy

When these symbols are added, it brings forth a lot of questions in my mind. Bodies were being formed from negative space to fill it and add purpose within it to the masses. In essence there was meaning being added to something which couldn’t be visually seen. Space to many still represents the unknown which is similar to what the afterlife or hell was to ancient greek society. The Sea was also an unknown as was the sky and what lay above. All of these regions were personified and given god status to explain the currently unexplainable.

To me this shows that negative space couldn’t really be justified and still to me, as something that needs to be explored beyond physical vision as the naked eye cannot view these spaces fully.

I created this film which explores these concepts and tries to visualise and fill these unknown spaces with semi abstract symbols and ideas. We as humans always seem to envision that these negative spaces and bustling and full. Perhaps this draws back to being unable to except nothingness and the unrelenting belief of the afterlife.

I think we cannot fully comprehend that which is invisible and therefore we have to substitute it. Therefore I am somewhat doing the same with abstract imagery in order to fill the unknown reaches which humanity has yet to fully explore.