I've been in Helsinki taking part in a residency with HIAP, The British Council and Helsinki Design Week for just over two weeks now. It's really feeling quite homely now. I know the town pretty well now, I've met quite a few people and have been going in and out of my studio to various Design Week events pretty regularly.
At first it was quite lonely, I knew no one here on the ground and although it is by no means hostile, it's not the most inviting or tourist-focused city, so it's hard without a guide to do more than wonder around poking your head through doors.
Last night I did a small presentation at Frame, next door to my studio to other residents, assembled guest and Helsinki design luminaries about my practice as well as hearing about the work of Angela Washko and Alex Young who are also in residence here. Presenting some of my work, including some smaller projects in the context of the Finnish design scene rose the question of the artist/designer divide, which is a bit more predominant here than it is London. There was also interesting discussion afterwards of how the financial and governance systems of Finland demand much more rigorous career definition than the vague, hand-wavey definitions one might get away with in the UK.
(photo via Juha Van 't Zelfde)
There'll be more reporting towards the end of my stay here, including some blog posts for the British Council. Until then, I'm doing a Pecha Kucha this evening and then a lot more hanging out with local designers and artists.
There's also a load more photos from my time here over on flickr.
Something I did while I was talking last night was show some of the digital sketches I do every few weeks. To me they're my equivalent to drawing, just producing mindless visuals that require a certain amount of patience and concentration for no-one's benefit but my own. However I thought I'd share the latest one with you all. I've got the rest over on my vimeo and flickr.
The talk I gave at Future Everything back in.... March(?) is finally online. I was sort of vibing off the back of that great China Mieville talk about monsters as well as Near Future Lab's ongoing work on normalcy to introduce the idea of monsters as part of that normalcy and thus a necessary part of good design fiction. (Starts around 3:15. They didn't cut up the talks for some reason, go figure.)
Straight from Helsinki, I'm going to Venice for the UrbanIxD symposium. It's a bit sad seeing this project head towards its end, I've met some great people, done some great work, and had good times since first taking part in the summer school last summer.
I'll be doing a talk at Brussel's KIKK festival in early November which actually looks like an amazing lineup. This follows on from Sydney's Web Directions South keynote in late October, which I'm a bit properly excited and terrified of. There's also a few bits of writing to coming out soon, Monopoly of Legitimate Use is being exhibited in a couple of places and some other things.
What an anti-climax.
(In honour of the demise of BERG and the fact that these things that never happened weekly anyway will not be weeknotes anymore.)