Integrated 2015

Day one,

Check Maarten his day here!

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Day two,

We arrive earlier than expected at the Desguinlei. Not exactly knowing what to look for we turn around the corner, and there it is: deSingel. The big concrete centre does not really blend in with the Jugendstil houses that are surrounding it. Inside the building the early birds flock around the freshly printed posters with quotes from the previous day. As we wait for our tickets to arrive we watch the people enter. The art students are easily recognisable by their cotton St. Lucas bags and poster tubes, the speakers by their carry-on cases.

The day itself consists of various speakers, with seaminlgy unrelated topics. On second glance there are some returning subjects.

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The most interesting theme of the day is the new found appreciation for the written word: Uta Eisenreich and Eva Meyer-Keller do a performance about the meaning of words and punctuation, that involves a lot of drinking milk. The presentation of Base Design’s Thierry Brunfaut favours the written word above branding. To him understanding and caring about people should be the new focus of corporations.

A second theme of the day is photography as inspiration for graphic design. The speech of Pentagram’s Harry Pierce is not a showcase of past successes but a story about the inspiration that preceded those projects. This inspiration comes from photographs he makes where ever he goes. Much to the annoyance of his family the subjects of these pictures mostly consist of inanimate objects, in various stages of decay. Ex-St. Lucas student Vincent Hagnauer also gets his inspiration from photography, but he finds his material on the internet. He then combines them in movies and books.

The golden boy of the day is without a doubt Vincent Vrints. The former student of St. Lucas first makes his appearance in the presentation of Studio Dumbar. His second appearance was as part of the Studio Fluit designer collective, a collaboration of three former students of St. Lucas. The two presentations could not be more different, and felt like an case study in a talented young designer’s struggle to conform to the norm of a big agency.

The subjects of remaining presentations go all over the place. Beginning with a guided tour of the philosophy of Utopia, the remaining artists and designers seemed to give us a disjointed glimpse into their search for their own: A former student who’s open gallery featured work consisting of his game avatars, a designer obsessed with cartoons extrapolates on the ACME black hole, brothers who doodle their houseplants, books designed with blank pages, plastic grandparents, and organised clapping, all unified by bad powerpoint effects, and use of Fonts that leave us looking for that black hole.

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At 8 o’cock in the evening Integrated 2015 ends. Many have already left, by that time. The remaining people are inspired but exhausted. I wonder how many of them will eventually make it to the much-promoted after party. On our way out we are greeted by people from the catering, who hand out the remaining lunch of the day. We happily welcome the tightly wrapped buns with cheese and then make our way to Central Station.