119 minutes w/ wouter ebben

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Hi, could you briefly introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Wouter Ebben and I am graduating at the department of interaction design.

How is the whole graduation experience doing it for you?

It has been pretty gruesome. But I’ve learnt a lot from it, more than I thought I would actually.

Could you tell us about your research project?

No, I’m afraid that’s classified. But I can say this: with my research project I am proposing a system that can be utilized to create physical (3D) objects based on data. So a system to create data visualisation objects. Data as a subject is getting more and more attention, and as a designer I am mostly concerned about the way we visualise this data. Although this project focuses on the visualisation of data (by physical means), the added value of spatiality is in my opinion of a more elementary nature. In other words, apart from the added value specifically to the data visualisation part of the objects, the physical form in itself is already an added value.

What were some important influences for the creation of your project the way it’s constructed currently? maybe certain artists or artworks you’ve looked at for inspiration?

Well, I looked a lot at existing data visualisation methods, as well as existing spatial data sculptures. And also geometry in maths. But not any specific artist or something.

Does your this project, to you, feel as like it’s the ‘Mona Lisa’ of your work so far?

No, it doesn’t. Actually, finding a good subject for my research project wasn’t working out very well for me. So eventually, after about six failed attempts, the department assigned me this topic. This doesn’t mean however, that I don’t like it. Personally, I feel quite strongly that physicality, materiality and tactility add a lot of value to the experience of many things. In a world where our lives are spent more and more in the digital realm, I want to advocate the use of physical media. So that’s partially what drove me for this project (also, I want to graduate). The same goes for my thesis, whose topic is closely related to my research project.

Could you tell me about your thesis then?

Certainly! My thesis is about data sculptures, which are physical representations of data. There isn’t one set definition, but usually data sculptures are direct externalisations of the data. Which basically means as much as form follows data. But there is of course always some aesthetic expression by the artist. Contrary to what you might think, more often than not they are difficult to read at first sight. You have to learn how to read them.

In what way are the subjects of your thesis and your research project related?

In my thesis I look at the properties of data sculptures and how they differ from two dimensional visualisations. Because it is quite a niche subject, I also studied some product design, art theory and psychology literature. My main goal was trying to paint a picture of the subject and see what data sculptures could bring us.

To what sense would you like your these projects, and their methodology, to correspond to your practice after graduation?

Hmmm… I feel quite strongly that the integration of the digital realm and analog/physical world is going to be a very big part of our lives, and I think a lot of great things can be done there. I wouldn’t mind being a part of that, but at the moment I haven’t got the foggiest about what I want to do after I graduate to be honest. I might become a designer, but I might just as well become a butcher. But I think at first I will venture more into front–end web design. I enjoy it and would like to get better at it, and it’s also a good field of work to make some cash.

Another subject: Where did you do your internship?

My internship was at Kossmann.dejong (kossmanndejong.nl) in Amsterdam. They call themselves exhibition architects and I think that’s a fitting description. They design exhibitions for museums. I had a wonderful time there.

In what way has the experience of doing an internship changed you, or, your (design) beliefs or (work)habits?

I can’t say it actually changed my beliefs, or even my work habits, but one of the things I learnt a lot about was how to make good presentations. This will probably baffle my teachers if they read it, but that’s because I never have the time for the proper preparations haha. Also, it made me change my mind about working in a team/company as apposed to being my own boss.

Did they serve avocado during lunch?

They sure did! The lunches were great! All organic as well, and always gezellig (you just can’t translate gezellig…). Perhaps sociable if you must.

Could you inform us on your partner, (if you had one), client and type of assignment for the practical assignment?

I worked for, and with the design innovation department of Philips design. My assignment was to design an object that would provide information to the parents of premature born babies. These babies are living in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and are very fragile. The object is supposed to be placed at home so the parents can stay informed, because they can’t be at the hospital all the time. The object had to look friendly and not like a (medical) machine. The object – I named it Vigilo – communicates by means of light and movement. A heat map (of colored light) shows the position the baby is in at the top of the object, where the darker the color, the more weight presses down at that point, while at the bottom of the object, different colored lights indicate when the baby is being fed. Meanwhile the object moves up and down based on the rhythm of the breathing.

There is also a “neutral” state that gets activated when the baby is asleep, or when the hospital staff has to do something with the baby. In this state, no information is provided.

The object is shaped like an egg, to refer to the fragility of the baby and also the baby in the incubator. The movement of the object makes it appear to be a living object, symbolizing the new life that has joined the family. The heat map is pink because this color is associated with babies in many cultures, but even more so because it has the psychological effect of easing the mind. The light that indicates the feeding of the baby is colored orange. The idea behind this being that the color orange stimulates the appetite, hopefully moving the parents to eat at the same time, to give them an even more in synch feeling.

What will you be doing in 5 years from now?

Pffffwoooeee, I have no idea! But I hope I’m hiking in a beautiful country, or climbing the most beautiful rock face I ever had the privilege to climb. But maybe, just maybe, I’m working my ass off. One can always dream though. Maybe I can even combine the two.

Do you have tips or advice for upcoming graduate students or new students?

A bit cliché, but in my experience the most important thing is to work with subjects you really enjoy, and keep enjoying in the longer run. Also: using your hands can be very helpful. Sometimes just go and build something with paper or what not, designing with your hands and not with your head can produce completely different insights and results. Furthermore, the most important lesson I had to learn is to make decisions, even if they’re bad, at least you can move on and you have something to work with. If you have to you can always make changes later, so don’t let indecision hold you up too long. Oh, if I can, I would like to add a link to a video on youtube that I find inspiring and good advice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmY4–RMB0YY. It’s really worth the entire 36 minutes, or for the short version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijtQP9nwrQA

175 minutes w/ nils rotgans

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Well hello, could you perhaps briefly introduce yourself?

I’m a graduation student interaction design. My focus is to make design with new media and old. Im very interested in information design and interaction design. To combine design and new media to com to a new elegant designs.

How is the whole graduation experience doing it for you?

on the academy we always had a instruction to make a project from. I think we had a lot of freedom but with the last project you could do everything. I thought that was very hard at start. But it is so fantastic to start research project just smal and make it to something big. I have loved the journey the most. Every time an other way to explore. And a totally unexpected end of the project. About the time pressure I think that is very personal, I actually work better with a fast deadline coming up.

Could you tell me something about your research project and what it’s about ?

Well it’s about my dislike on text. And how the dutch politic system and the media around it. Every time there are elections the political parties bring out a book about everything they promise us. That was the start of the project. I’m a person that is very match visual thinker. I don’t like reading a lot. And have a hard time to read every book that the parties give to the public. I wanted to make a visual interface that trimmed every personality and fake promise from the system. A honest image of the dutch politic system. without opinions and promises. Just show what the politic really is doing.

What were some important references for the project?

I had a lot of inspiration in data visualizations from the british and american money streams. And the most of my data i used is calculated by CPB and CBS. That are dutch agencies that keep track of the data what the politic generates.

Does this project to you feel like your mona lisa of projects?

Well, this is my biggest project jet. So in that perspective yes. But it is far from finished i need to find the time, money and energy to make it something real. The part that is now ready is just been researching. It is not reachable for everyone.

Could you tell me a little about your thesis?

Well, it’s could interactive architecture. Its about the media art in public locations. and what the artists do with the fact that more and more of our public space get more cameras and security. The big CCVT spaces that is slowly coming up. We get scanned and put in a archief. we don’t have any control about that and we don’t now about it. With my design i did the same. People that come in to the graduation expo, every one of them i photographed the face. Without their knowledge. after i took the picture i made a “offline” archive. I Printed the faces. My aim was to distribute knowledge from my thesis. So every time a person came in the room he printed his face with the text of my thesis. The person who did’t want his or her face to by in the archief needed to take my thesis.

Where did you do your internship?

At Art+Com a berlin based interactive media studio. They make a lot of installations with new media. i liked them because they work with big project and smal and the design is mostly indoors. it was a great way to learn a lot. A lot of different professions are working there. architects, interaction designers, graphic designers, hackers/developers ect. All to make conceptual work with new media.

Did doing an internship also influence some beliefs you have about design? and how did it change you?

Yes, but i was there for 6 months a lot of time to learn about a lot. I think my work did get a lot more mature. I cant say exactly what changed in my design, it is more the overall look and feel. The thing that did not change was my information design. That was the thing they did not have.

Did they serve avocado’s during lunch?

Ha!? not that i recall. sorry not of the top of my head. its already a year ago.

Next up is the practical assignment, could you tell me a little about that?

Sure!, we worked together with GoShort a short film, film festival in Nijmegen. We were ask to make a new sort of comment system. Like you find on soundcloud, youtube, reddit ect. Well you run fast in problems if you try that. we all know a lot of sh*t get on the internet and we did’t want that. so no text. also there needed to be a way to simple make a commend on a movie. In the and we came up with an idea with drawing a simple line. the hight of the line represented how good you think it was. and the width position with the timeline of the movie. People who went to the festival could do that on there smartphone and on ipads in the main hall, for each movie. In the main hall where also 2 big interactive posters that showed the last commends, best movie until now and stuf like that. On the last day the best movies always get an award. This year every winner of an awards did get the average line from there movie back. we 3d printed that at the last moment for al of the winers. this line was every interesting because you say what part of the movie the public found great and what not so much.

Five years from now, what will you be doing?

I dont know. i want to start same day my own little studio. but i want to work for a nice big studio until than. i want to go back go berlin. but there is no work for my at the time.

Do you have some tips or advice for upcoming graduate or new students?

Listen to this! all day all night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCy7lLQwToI

i dont realy have any tips. its your own “Journey”.

61 minutes w/ hilde peters

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Hi, could you introduce yourself?

I am Hilde Peters, 29 years old, living in Cuijk.

How is the whole graduation experience doing it for you?

It’s great after 3 years to be allowed to choose my own design projects and still have simultaneously the conversations about it with the teachers. This was the year in which I learned the most, have discovered what suits me as a designer. I’ve also enjoyed writing my thesis.

Could you tell us about your research project?

My research was focused on unintentional language. I’ve listened to sentences on the street and noticed how poetic some of them were. I gave them a ‘stage’ in the public space, on public grids.

What was the urgency for you to start this project?

Text in our public space that is not intended to persuade, entice of inform is exeptional. I like the unintentional aspect of communication, because it is pure. Instead of the million written things you can find online, these sentences would have been lost forever if I hadn’t used them. The sentences did not receive an online ‘like’, but many offline thumbs up and smiling faces.

What were some important influences for the creation of your project the way it’s constructed currently?

In our modern communication via social media, we are constantly creating an ‘image’ of ourselves. I want to show the value of the spontaneity in our reality.

Does your research project, to you, feel as like it’s your Mona Lisa of work so far?

Yes, I guess so. In the previous years, my work also shows my identity as a designer in aspects, but never was a project so refined and finalized as now.

Could you briefly inform us on the subject of your thesis?

My thesis is about our rationalized society and how (nature, experience and technology in) art can provide us wonderment to get us for a moment out of the everyday life. In today’s society we can understand almost everything. I think it sometimes is important not to understand anything.

Has your thesis had a certain influence on deciding on the research assignment?if yes, in what way?

Yes, absolutely. In my research I have felt the same urge for ‘offline surprises’. I saw people passing my work, looking two times, because it was different than what they saw everyday in their street. That is exactly what I was aiming for in my thesis. I want us to stay away from a life on autopilot.

To what sense would you like your research project, and it’s methodology, to correspond to your practice after graduation?

What I like the most about this project is that the project translates what I think. It is a ‘performance’ in the middle of society, but it wouldn’t really match my character if I had to stand over there…Now the spotlight is on the work and I can communicate through my work.

Could you inform us on your client and type of assignment for the practical assignment?

My client was ‘Actieradius’ – an organization dedicated to mediation in supply and demand in volunteering – I developed a low–budget volunteer recruitment drive that can be performed by volunteers themselves.

Could you perhaps elaborate a little on your ‘GDA Experience’ as to how you’ve experienced over all in the last four years?

I was completely new to the world of graphic design. I knew I had an affinity with it, but I had no background or previous classes in this sector. I’ve learned a lot, these four years. I have absorbed information and experience like a sponge. It was a great time, in which I’ve fully committed to the academy, to get the best out of myself. It was incredibly intense, but I fully enjoyed it.

What will you be doing in 5 years from now?

I hope to be an independent designer that accomplishes every project with the same enthusiasm there is now.

Any advice or tips for upcoming graduate students or new students?

This is the year in which you can freely explore what kind of designer you are and want to become. Enjoy it.

84 minutes w/ kevin kuijpers

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Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m Kevin Kuijpers, turning 26 next week, studying Interaction Design

How is the whole graduation experience doing it for you?

t feels like stepping away from the typical school assignments I have had for years and finally getting to a more professional level. The last months I notice I’m making decisions faster and more consequent and I’m not too depended about what the teachers say.

Could you tell us about your research project?

I’m basically making my own life–size hologram. I made a smaller holographic cinema for an earlier assignment and saw there was more potential. Back then I wanted to walk through this holographic cinema and now I’m actually achieving that. Originally I wanted to bring Aaliyah, my R&B idol, back to life. A hologram is a technique that makes this sort of possible and it has been done before, with 2pac for example and recently Michael Jackson. During that project I noticed if you have multiple holograms behind each other, the colours would mix. Now I’m not using a hologram to recreate a singer but the make an immersive installation, based on the properties of a hologram.

What were some important influences for starting this project?

2pac’s concert at Coachella is definitely an inspiration, that’s what started the whole project. Works of LAb[au] and Mike Reinierse about color synthesis also made me wanna go into that direction.

Math is my current guidance, the forms I’m projecting in my hologram are based on geometry.

Does your this project, to you, feel as like it’s your ‘Mona Lisa’ of your work so far?

Almost. Most of the time a get inspired by some scientific phenomenon, that’s what the hologram is. My thesis is a critique on how software companies work, that’s also an interest of mine. But there are no information design in my ‘Mona Lisa’. But that’s just how it is. There is no information design in my ‘Mona Lisa’. So where normally my projects are about internet politics, science and big data, big data is not represented in my graduation work.

Could you tell a little more about your thesis?

My thesis is about how and why a designer or artist should loosing him– or herself from the restricting rules mighty companies, such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, lay upon him/her. Though we think that software gives us endless freedom, it’s still designed by someone else. Someone else decided what things you can do with the software and what not. Designers should know their tools by heart to use them to the fullest. They should know how these companies work and what influence they have on a designer.

Has your thesis had a any influence on deciding on the subject for the research assignment or not at all?

Short: no.

To what sense would you like your research project, and it’s methodology, to correspond to your practice after graduation?

I’m considering using open source software only for my own work. As a coder I regularly visit sites of the open source community and I see that people are really helping each other out. And I may even read the whole license agreements of app. So I know what they can do with my data, and also for laughs, some agreements are linguistically funny.

Where did you do your internship?

At the artist collective LAb[au], in Brussels. They make a lot of audiovisual sometimes kinetic installations. Their work is more about computer generated processes and the art of it. I co–build a work called m0za1que and did a lot of practical stuff like soldering, which I needed. I was spending too much time designing behind my 13” laptop and I needed a break from that. Though I didn’t only learn practical stuff there, I also experienced how a international artist collective works in the capital of the EU.

In what way has the experience of doing an internship changed you, or, your (design) beliefs or (work)habits?

Knowing how much time a single thing cost is pretty important when you’re doing repetitive work. That way you have a more realistic planning. And speaking multiple languages opens doors. Especially in Brussels.

Did they serve avocado during lunch?

YES! haha. And humus and quinoa. Funny story, I actually brought my own food to Brussels, how Dutch of me. They called me Snelle Jelle because I ate those for the first several weeks during breaks. Now I ditched Snelle Jelle for humus.

Could you inform us on your partner, client and type of assignment for the practical assignment?

The head of the master Architecture of ArtEZ Gerard van Heel asked me and Jorian Bekker to make the site for the finals of 2013. There has never been a site, only a printed catalog. The collaboration did not go so well, I ended up doing most of the coding, though now I finally understand javascript.

What will you be doing in 5 years from now?

Hopefully doing small design projects regularly and doing my own research and projects aside, in a large city, preferably abroad.

Any tips for upcoming graduate, or new students?

Do what you always wanted to do in your last year, since it’s a long project and you have to keep yourself motivated even if the critique is harsh.

207 minutes w/ maartje de goede

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Hi! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

Hi! I’m Maartje, I’m 21 and live in Utrecht. I think you can call me a graphic designer even though
I still don’t know what that means. Through my work I try to make the world a nicer place.

So Maartje, how is the whole ‘graduation experience’ doing it
for you?

It’s less stressful than expected! I haven’t even done an allnighter yet and only had the occasional ‘oh my god, what will i do with my future!’–panic attack. It’s fun. And I really like the free printer in our own classroom. Also the plant.

Would you tell us about your research project?

I’ve researched the impacts that our society would suffer if we’d go from being a welfare state to
a participation society, as our current government would like. As a response to the things that would deteriorate, I’ve come up with inventions. They’re products that help people participate in society, Dutch citizens can build them themselves with the manuals I produced. The collection of inventions is shown on a website* and will keep growing with suggestion that people can submit themselves. During the graduation expo I’ll show all the products that have been invented till then.


What were some important influences for the creation of your project the way it’s constructed currently?

I think ArtEZ itself was a big influence. I have never really found my way in graphic design… aaand… the school has shown me that as well. I’m not just that into typography and ‘contemporary design culture’. I’d decided I wanted to make something fun and I didn’t think school was fun last year, so I took a big leap and made my most non–graphic design project ever and that really worked. It’s what I want to do. My internship** has been another big influence, over there I learned how to make art projects real and get the public to participate in them.

** Circus Engelbregt

Does your graduation, to you, feel as like it’s your ‘Mona Lisa’ of work so far?

Nope, very much not the Mona Lisa in terms of aesthetics. It is my most real and accesible work so far though, and since that’s what I aspire I guess you could say it feels like my best project.

Ok, well let’s go to another topic. Could you briefly inform us on the subject of your thesis?

I could! My thesis is about aesthetics in grapheme synesthesia–visualisation, which probably makes most people none the wiser. Grapheme–synesthesia is a condition which I have that makes people read in colour: all digits are connected to a specific colour in the mind of a synesthete. For example, in my mind I see the letter A as a forest green, and the number 3 as orange.

This has helped me a lot with learning languages and could help people that have trouble with reading and learning languages, because it adds another factor to help remember words. People have tried to visualise this experience in both science and art for ages, but it’s never exactly right. In my thesis I look for a way to visualise this form of synesthesia on the border of art and science. The thesis is a source book for typographers who wish to make a coloured typeface that can visualise synesthesia and in that way help people with readingproblems.

So yeah, it has absolutely nothing to do with my research project.

Has your thesis had a certain influence on deciding on the research assignment?if yes, in what way?

It hasn’t had any influence. I briefly thought about making a synesthesia–font as my research assignment but then I remembered that I don’t really like typography and that there are people around that are way better than me at that, that’s why it’s a sourcebook.

To what sense would you like your this project, and the methodology used, to correspond to your practice after graduation?

Oh dear, here come the future–questions, I’ve been trying to avoid them for weeks. I do think about them, there’s just so much I want to do!

I would like to make more projects like this one. I’d like to work together with people who care about the same things as I do, and create things in which people can participate, and projects that get their own life after they’ve been introduced to the world.

Where did you do your internship?

At Circus Engelbregt, former EGBG, the studio of Martijn Engelbregt in Amsterdam.

In what way has the experience of doing an internship changed you, or, your (design) beliefs or (work)habits?

I have learned so much during my internship! It was an amazing experience. I’ve come to realise that a lot is possible if you just act like it’s a normal thing to ask, do or make. I still have the same ‘designbeliefs’ but they’re expanded to the belief that I can do whatever the hell I want if the story’s good enough. Spoken and unspoken design rules are very breakable if you break them consciously.

Also: yoga and holistic worldviews!

Did they serve avocado during lunch?

Hahahaha. Yes, all the time. I’ve come to appreciate avocado very much.It’s the ultimate designerfood.

Onto another one of the projects of graduation: could you inform us on your partner, client and type of assigment for the practical assignment?

I worked together with Vincent Hammingh for the IABR (via Catalogtree), we made a publication about Carbon Added Tax, a great solution for climate change problems.

The corporation went really well, I think we complement eachother well in our work! (Fortunately, Vincent is very good in typography and I in turn can handle lots of data) The assignment went great and smoothly. Besides that, it was about saving the world, or at least the climate, so that’s great anyhow.

We had a lot of fun (Oh! And if I can I’d like to thank Walter from the printing work place here for his patience with all our weird printing technique–wishes).

Five years from now, you’ll be doing what?


Okay… I’ll either be singing in a traveling folkband in Scandinavia, or be chained to a tree somehwere, or be making extremely succesful art projects or I’ll have written ten books and will live in a castle with all my friends and adopted pets and actually I have no clue whatsoever, but I hope I’ll be saving the world in some way.

And last but not least: any tips or advice for upcoming graduate students, or new students?

Run away, run away! Or the all–time favourite: be yourself, or at least try to find out who you are and what you want and don’t let anyone tell you that that’s not enough. And be healthy, sleep and sanity are more important than good grades. If anyone says otherwise: screw ‘em.

215 minutes w/ doeke wartena

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Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m Doeke Wartena, I studied graphic design for two and a half year. Back then i did a lot of monk work that took me hours or days to do. I liked creating things based on rules, always looking at ways to organize content with a reason. We also had information design back then which i really loved. At the end of the 2nd year I also started to learn programming to speed up my workflow. Then in the 3th year I was less able to express myself. The assignments we had were less open for structure or systems i wanted to create. After a while I decided to take a break and come back a year after to continue where I left. During that break I decided it would be better for me to make the switch to interaction design, which is a choice I have never regretted. For the rest, I have a really broad interest that is still growing and it’s always hard for me to narrow it down, which I do try. Also, I’m an extreme perfectionist which isn’t always easy.

Could you tell me how the whole experience is doing it for you?

The experience is really different from the normal assignments we have where there is a 8 week time frame for around 10 assignments. That sounds like a lot of time but having 10 assignments and spending a lot of time looking what others made really narrows it down. Now we have a lot more time to work on a much bigger project. First I didn’t like to work on such long projects cause you can’t move on to the next. I had a bit of a rough start with my research project. After that I restarted almost from scratch and now I figured out I really like to work on such a big project. When I’m graduated I even want to continue working on it.

In that case, does your research project or graduation in general feel like it’s some kind of mona lisa of work you’ve done or will do?

I leave the Mona Lisa far behind.

Could you tell us about your research project?

The work name for it is MarkerMusic. MarkerMusic allows a user to edit a music sequencer and draw sounds with markers. It’s focus is to be intuitive. It’s a combination of both hard– and software. Sheets are used to drawn on which also forms a way to store the music created so it can be used for later reuse and allows quicker modification. For the rest it’s more and instrument then an installation, which means it’s easy to set up. The whole table can be turned into a small suitcase in almost no time.

What were some important influences for this project?

It’s kind of driven away from where it started. It started when i was watching the videoclip Around the World from Daft Punk. A really great clip directed by Michel Gondry (the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and with choreography by Blance Li. In this clip there are 5 groups of people. Each group represents an instrument. A group is only performing when the instrument it belongs to is playing. When i saw this i had the idea that the way they move could be converted back to music. They also had a round podium. I converted this idea to basically a round sequencer where tangibles could be used and also be piled up so the height would also be taken into account to create music. I wanted to do this with clay since it’s being a nice “tool” to create stuff. But in the process I got stuck by lack of sound knowledge and ideas of how to translate my idea to reality. The project had some twists in it I’m really happy with and now it’s going in a direction I really like.

Could you tell me a little on the topic of your written thesis?

My thesis is called “Dynamische leesbaarheid in het digitale boek” which translates to “Dynamic readability in the digital book”. The main focus is about how an eye tracker could be used to get information about the way a user reads. This data can be used to make changes to a text format to then measure if the adjustment was an improvement or not. But in my thesis i also handle aspects like time of the day, gps location and ambient noise and several others that can influence reading. It’s a bit hypothetical but not unrealistic. The future will tell how long it takes.

Does the topic of your thesis, to some extend, influence your design beliefs and find it’s way into your research project or other ways of your practice as a designer?

Not really, it’s hypothetical. Although i’m making a system that can improve the typography layout over time. If that works well i would like to see how it works out with people that have dyslexia.

Another bit of digging in the past: could you inform me about your practical assignment and the person you collaborated with?

For the practical assignment i worked on The Venice Biennale Ideological Guide 2013 together with Roel Oortgiesen and Thomas Boland. The project was initiated by artist Jonas Staal to display how the Venice Biennale is influenced by geopolitical relationships from the present and the past. For each participating pavilion a whole team of people gathered statistics and wrote a new opening text to explain the relation between the political situation in the country and the art in the pavilion. We were responsible for making this information available in the form of an application for smartphones. We were in charge of the actual programming of the iOS version of the application as well as the look–and–feel for which we closely collaborated with designer Remco van Bladel. The main function of the application is to show and to compare the gathered information. Another important feature is the map that shows the user’s location, the location of the pavilions and the routes to follow. This can all happen completely offline to prevent roaming costs. There a preset routes for among others the G8 and the Arabic League. When the user follows this routes he can explore the relations between all the pavilions in the route. Remco did some of the coordination among with De Heren van Design and Reneé In der Mauer. We sometimes had meetings together but Roel Oortgiesen had most to do with Remco since Roel was on the design as well. Thomas and me where more focussed on the technical aspect of the application.

Where did you do your internship?

I did my internship at Onformative, a small studio in Berlin that had 4 people back then. Onformative creates a lot of output based on generative design.

Could you maybe tell a little on how doing an internship abroad influenced you and your design beliefs or work habits?

The fact that I did my internship abroad at Onformative didn’t change my design beliefs or work habits. If it was located in the Netherlands it could have done the same. But a really nice and inspiring thing of an abroad internship is the fresh input you get from being somewhere else for a long time. We went out for lunch everyday cause it’s way more affordable there then it is here. Such a thing breaks the day really nice and is more cozier.


Did they serve avocado during lunch in Berlin?

In berlin you go out for lunch to eat avocados. But my addiction was Vietnamese soup

Could you speculate on what you would like to be doing five years from now?

I would like to freelance 2 days in the week, work on my own projects 2 days a week and teach one day a week.

do you have any tips or pointers for upcoming graduation students based on your own experience?

weeks of programming can save hours of thinking.

51 minutes w/ styn geurts

Category: Project
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Hey, could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m Styn, a 26 years old male.

Recognizable: the dude with a black shirt.

Ok, so how is the whole graduation experience doing it for you?

It’s going “great”, love it!

Positive thoughts.

Would you tell us about your research project?

My research project is about the struggle which I have with my smartphone and how it controls me.

Or how I control it and I’m trying to translate it back to a machine.

In the proces its hard to translate it to a form that wouldn’t become really judgemental. I don’t want to tell people “put your phone away!”, I just wanted to slow the dialogue we have with the device and how we revolve around it. Do we control the device or does the device control us?

What were some important influences for the creation of your project the way it’s constructed currently?

The biggest influence was me, that I really did not want to make a book. There is so much cool stuff going on in the whole open source DIY scene. I want my graduation project to be an experiment in that scene.

I can’t control all of the variables of the thing I’m building. Because I don’t know enough about it, but I don’t mind. I like the journey in it. To create a tool that tells my concept in a more or less “original” way.

Does your graduation, to you, feel as like it’s your ‘Mona Lisa’ of work so far?

Oh no. More like a the work of a toddler who’s trying to create the mona lisa, and has fun while doing so. It’s all about the journey. I’m less interested in the total outcome. I want to see where I stand as a designer. It feels like I’m testing myself. What kind of a designer I am *em dash*.

Onto another project: could you briefly inform us on the subject of your thesis?

My thesis is about drawing machines and whether or not a machine that is capable of recreating, has got aura.

So, your thesis has had a certain influence on deciding on the research assignment I guess?

To be honest, not really. I had to write about something I guess.

To what sense would you like this project, and it’s methodology, to correspond to your practice after graduation?

I hope to keep building stuff in the future. I don’t want to become a designer that sits at his desk 24/7.

Where did you do your internship?

My internship was at EDHV in Eindhoven.

In what way has the experience of doing an internship changed you, or your (design)beliefs or (work)habits?

What I learned at EHDV is how important it is to really look at your own work and filter it for what it’s worth, and if you are researching to go as deep as possible, to blow your client away.

But the most important thing I learned by EDHV is how I would not run my business. Don’t get me wrong, I have a massive respect for Remco van de Craats and for how he made EDHV a successful company. But I wouldn’t wanted to do the way he does it. I never felt at ease there.

Did they serve avocado during lunch?

Only if Raw Color was there.

Ok, next project. Could you inform us on your partner, client and type of assigment for the practical assignment?

I am working with Jolinde. Our project is to make a reference book for Facing Pages. Facing Pages is a magazine festival here in Arnhem. It went well, we had a lot of fun. The assignment is nice because you are working with beautiful magazines and we got free tickets to Facing Pages!

Could you perhaps elaborate a little on your whole ‘GDA Experience’ as to how you’ve experienced over all in the last 4 years?

It was ok. It’s a miracle I didn’t die of a caffeine overdose. I wish I started in the first year now, instead of 4 years ago. And maybe then, I would start studying Interaction Design. The lessons they get now seem really awesome with all the programing stuff.

Five years from now, you’ll be doing what?

Designing the new identity for McDonald’s or Burger King.

Last question; any tips for upcoming graduate students, or new students?

A 6 is comparible to a 10. They’re only grades. In the end they are worthless.