Semi Permanent Wellington 2012

The other day we went to Semi Permanent design conference in Wellington. First up was Joel Lewis from Hellicar and Lewis. He talked about loops, programming, being inspired by random books and the importance of visual communications to 'Just tell the truth.' He quoted Agnes Martin who said 'To progress in life you must give up the things you do not like. Give up doing the things that you do not like to do. You must find the things that you do like. The things that are acceptable to your mind.' He also quoted Myron Krueger who said 'The only aesthetic concern should be the quality of the interaction, which may be judged by general criteria: the ability to interest, involve and move people, to alter perception and to define a new category of beauty.' I liked that philosophy. The studios best piece was a collaboration with the dancer Nina Kov. She danced and they developed a program that projected lights in response to her movement in realtime. The videos called 'Divide by Zero.' Check it out below. The next stand out speaker was Astrid Stavro. She talked about how design can engage with the community, how a product can inform the design process to create synergy between the form and content and how conceptual simplicity is different than aesthetic minimalism. Drypynz presentation also stood out, mainly because it was so confusing. His work is awesome so I shall discuss that instead. His uses street art to participate in the everyday life of a cities inhabitants. He is obsessed with deconstructing shapes, space, form, torsos and limbs. And it shows in his work. He paints delightful blobs of colour, surreal floating bodies and shapes filling dreamy voids. Quite ethereal stuff.

The star of the show was New York based designer Jessica Walsh. She is a player. She talked about how playfulness is central to her design philosophy, how she only pitches one awesome idea to her clients (rather than options for the sake of options) and how limitations can foster creativity and innovation. She described play is a state of mind rather than an activity, it requires just the right amount of challenge and opportunity. She seems to revel in it. Dressing up in lycra suits, splashing and smashing paint in glasses, re-purposing kitsch objects, birds pooping on children's heads and covert messages. Her 'Now is Better' collaboration with Stephan Sagmeister was exemplary of playful design. It was a real pleasure to view. She also had a few quotes I'll rattle off here. 'We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing' - George Bernard Shaw. 'Play is the highest form of research' - Einstein. 'Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life' - Confucius. 'Talk less, say more' - Jessica Walsh's Mum.