Rather than being led to despair though joblessness, apparently we should be uplifted by the fact that we’re all works of art, designed by God. I wonder what graduates embarking on their search for employment would make of yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day from Rt Rev Lord Harries of Pentregarth?
Fortunately, judging from the work at their current show, students just completing courses at the Royal College of Art are a savvy lot:
First of all, contrary to the rest of the economy, the market for unnecessary luxuries seems to be booming. At least for the moment, the contemporary art market is awash with hedge fund managers and cash-rich buyers from Russia and Hong Kong. Wealthy Middle Eastern and Chinese tourists ensure that high end designer accessories also continue to sell like hot cakes, with Mulberry reporting a 358% rise in pre-tax profits for the year to March 31st.
Of course RCA students are the crème de la crème of the art and design world, so their projects and shows are also generously sponsored by large corporations and wealthy individuals. Plus, each graduate is professionally packaged and presented to the outside world via the show’s brochure and website.
But what’s most important of all is that these are the young people we’ll be relying on on to help us get out of the horrible mess we’re in. To this end they have absolutely brilliant ideas, combining sustainable solutions with commercialism, and a genuine sense of caring.
Tom Jarvis’ practical tools to service an orchestra are based upon his own experience as a professional trombonist. His designs fulfill a real need, as devices to remove stuck tuning slides and mouthpieces from brass instruments aren’t currently available and these inventions will enable players to service and repair their own instruments. He’s also designed a clever and cool looking set of inflatable musical instrument cases, like the one shown for double bass. They’re comparatively cheap and use lightweight technology to achieve the same protection as a hard-skinned case… plus, they deflate for easy storage.
Veronica Ranner’s project proposes a ‘probable future of acceptable tissue technology.’ Biophilia investigates organ crafting, and the possibility of using genetically modified silk worms to weave the biodegradable scaffolds for organs (such as hearts) and tissues, create biosensors, and even consumer products, as an alternative to computer generated design.
Craig Allen’s A Happy Thamesmeadium has private enterprise exploiting the happiness index to create an archipelago of wellbeing in Thamesmead, an area that currently boasts the highest levels of negative equity and repossessions in London. Developers Candy & Candy will be involved in the creation of social housing, as will Coca-Cola’s Institute of Happiness – and it’s all dependent upon Crossrail.
LingJing Yin’s Touch the Sound considers how we can become acoustic containers for our memory. In an ongoing project, she’s developing technology to enable autistic children to explore and express emotions and feelings through their senses. Her bespoke device records at the push of a button, but the only way to play back the sounds is to touch another person. A short film at the RCA shows how a musically talented autistic child, Sarah, is able to interact with other members of her family using her senses of sound and touch.
Curiously, it wasn’t Yin’s film, but Robert Ware’s remarkable DIY computer generated design installation of St Paul’s that caused my eyes to well up with tears.
God is out there, creating some pretty fine works…