[By Deepa Muniandy]
It was one of those spaces that beg for an artistic intervention, to have a cacophony of thoughts encapsulated within a myriad of patterns and colours. It was bare but for a purpose and on Monday, August 11, ETC Magazine discovered exactly why Ruang Gallery of SS18, Subang Jaya, was the perfect spot to host the Traces Exhibition – an exhibition where 20 Taylor’s University Design School students gathered to showcase their final year projects. We had the pleasure of interviewing Vivi Chandiana , final-year design student and organizer of the exhibition who shared insights into what makes up a work of art and what it takes to be an artist within the world of design.
[Image Credits: Traces Exhibition Facebook Page]
ETC: Hello and thank you for having us here. First of all, could you share what the Traces Exhibition is all about?
VC: Good afternoon. Well, to begin with, Traces is an exhibition of branding, printed matter, websites, interactive storytelling, and videos from this year’s graduating class of Bachelor of Graphic Communication Design (BGCD) and Bachelor of Interactive Multimedia Design (BIMD) of the Taylor’s University’s Design School (TDS). There are 20 of us here presenting our final showcase and each of us have a different take on design, and essentially our designs here are the result of nearly three years of research, experimentation, critical thinking and production.
ETC: I see. But why the name “Traces” though? What is the meaning behind it?
VC: Essentially, this exhibition’s aim is to portray our feelings, our spot and our take on matters in regards to design. We will all, one day, leave our mark in this society of ours. And we chose the word “Traces” for it is a metaphor of us… of us leaving our trace one day. And for us, that would be in the form of designs.
In fact, for this exhibition, we all represent a particular colour. I am Yellow. And the cool thing about this exhibition is that during the night, the lights are switched off and coloured lights representing each student will beam up across this room. Therefore, the lights are basically us and our essence shines through the darkness. Our traces, if you will.
[Image Credits : Traces Exhibition Facebook Page]
ETC: Is there a collective theme or does each individual designer have their own theme at play in this exhibition?
VC: All our work consists of individual themes and within it is also part of our interpretation of “traces”. Basically we explore the idea of us leaving our imprint in society with this exhibition.
ETC: Would you say that being part of Taylor’s, namely the Design School has indeed exposed you to many experience building moments and exposure to different schools of thought in the design world? And if so, how has it helped you in fulfilling your vision?
VC: I would say Taylor’s has done all of that, for it was a platform whereby it supplied and aided us in terms of providing us great lecturers and exposing us to many schools of thought pertaining to design. The experiences that I have had with my friends through our projects and by looking at our lecturers as clients [whom] our works must aim to please – all of that boils down to hard work. And I would say Taylor’s has indeed equipped us with the tools needed to fine tune our own set of skills.
ETC: In your opinion, what is the current trend and direction of design, especially here in Malaysia? Is there a difference between Malaysian graphic and multimedia designs compared to other countries?
VC: I am an Indonesian and from where I come from there is a very strong sense of incorporating localized themes and concepts into our daily designs. If you were to look at the Malaysian arena a few years ago, there was less awareness of this notion. However, these days, there is more of an incorporation of culture and local themes woven into the fabric of designing. It is safe to say, more Malaysian corporations and designers are embracing their Malaysian culture into artworks and pieces and that is a very heartening thing to see.
ETC: That is quite encouraging to hear. Now, what would say are your hopes for the future, in terms of design? As in, would you like to see the green movement more or perhaps seeing pieces that are an ode to the past?
VC: Evolution of design. I would like to see a sense of harking back to the past for inspiration. The past is a beautiful thing in terms of design works. The past can serve to be a great inspiration. We ought to also incorporate more of our culture as well. However, I will be the first to acknowledge that a lot of research and experimentation needs to be done before such concepts can be visualized. Nevertheless I remain optimistic with the direction of the future.
ETC: It is safe to say then that designing is a very interesting field. And leads us to the final question: What would you like to say to interested students wishing to take up a degree in communication design, multimedia design and graphic design? Any words of advice?
VC: Passion is not enough. Patience is important. In fact, I would say that patience is the most important thing to have. If you were to look around at our designers’ work, they are all the accumulation of nearly three years of research and hard work. There will be a lot of failures and you need to understand that – the concept of overnight success does not apply in this field. Though the results are important, the journey matters most. I would go on to say that it is not as fun as it seems – you might have to sacrifice weekends, time with your loved ones and mostly sleep just to see your design come alive. Therefore, you must also learn to fall in love with this subject. You must learn to accept it as a part of you, if you want your designs to come alive. So I would say patience, love and hard work are most needed to survive in this field.