Toni Polkowski 28. Mai 2012 Design

OFFF 2012 – Impressions By Mattia Bernini

Mattia Bernini is the name behind visualaddicted and he asked me if I want to publish his impressions of his visit to the OFFF 2012 festival. Of course, it is a great way to get an insight at one of the best meeting place with conferences, workshops and performances by the most relevant artists of our time.

Mattia Bernini is a young designer/photographer artistically grown in the uk, precisely in East London. Currently studying BA for Interaction and Moving Image at London College of Communication he enjoys freelancing for clients and getting involved in exciting project where he sees himself challenged from a creative point of view. Recently happily realized he got featured in the offf festival official book in Barcelona as well as having been selected for the Graphic Biennale.

The 11th edition of offf festival, the most important post-digital culture festival happening in Europe, has been a continuous “crescendo” in creativity, fun and excitement slowly revealing its most prolific and fresh artists to the incredible international crowd of designer gathered in Barcelona for this annual event of pure contemporary progressions of design. This year’s International Festival for the Post-Digital Creation Culture has been held at the new DHUB, a monolithic building brilliantly hosting the fair. An incredible succession of talks, workshops, exhibition and event to fulfill the hunger for creativity of the 3500 designers, students and design lovers gathered in Barcelona from around the world.

After a week of digesting the immense quantity of information, projects, videos, installations and incredible designers showcased at the festival I can finally draw a resume’ of the highlights and share them with cromoart’s “aficionados”.

A major attention throughout the festival have been dedicated to the incredible world of generative art with examples of work in different web platforms or moving image.

A must is to report the jaw dropping talk by the astonishingly innovative and mind-blowing Memo Akten. This London based artist stepped on the stage with the confidence and personality of an established artist- the presentation covered an incredibly broad spectrum of medias and techniques from interaction design, to video, stills, music, installations showing his personal as well as commissioned work. This artist so far has been the highlight of the festival providing us with a personal insight to the way he works.

The stage has then been assaulted by the outrageously american Joshua Davis and his super detailed illustrations and tatoos. A proper performer that has kept the whole 3000 strong audience crying with laughter. The strong influence of skate subculture can be detected in his constructions and combinations of graphic elements drawn from stain glass window, hotel carpet patterns and Marc Thiele’s basement. His portfolio is the result of traditional graphic design and peculiar cutting edge research into the world of Processing.

Next on the list is the inspiring and stimulating talk given by the American developer, artist, photographer, philosopher and poet Jonathan Harris. Talk that centered on a search of himself and meanings for his life through different solitary journeys around USA’s territories instead of its successful past into generative art even though the few examples he showed the audience were enough to please any eager code addicted. Incredible importance was given to the unique interpretation of different signs that lead to the creation of poetry consequentially read to the audience while a series of images was shown. Truly inspiring!

Then, of course traditional graphic design took over in term of the number of avant-garde studio’s from all over the world making my life selection extremely difficult and painful.

The fresh and brilliant approach of the Swedish studio Snask kept the crowd incredibly entertained with their sharp wit and humor- quite unusual for a couple of Nordic folks. Wit backed-up with a collection of works of the finest quality. The presentation unfolded with behind the scenes incredibly fun circumstances and briefs’ anecdotes. A piercing 10 survival point guide on how to be a designer: “Having enemies is good and necessary”. Even when dealing with serious matters such as rejecting intern applications Sansk still find a way through subversion to have their fun using their infamous “secretary” called George Micheal.

Straight after comes an amazingly inspiring talk by Spanish studio Losiento, a duo of incredibly skilled craftsmanship armed with genius, humor and paper. The presentation provides the audience with a selection of works that spans through branding, corporate,editorial, photography, pure experimentation and a true typographic exploration with unpredictable and excellent outcome. A unique example of paper craft’s mastery with the production of outstanding works such as the design of a 4d type that can be read from 4 opposite points of view.

Final talk of day two have been held by the unmissable New York based James Victore – a legend in the american design community. James isn’t afraid to turn his back to computer based design trying to go back to origins with lots of hand-crafted typography. A design approach that focuses on providing meanings and a moral approach for the New York community- to be noted the redesign of the probation departments of New Yorks. Fun and humour have been a constant throughout.

Note of interest from other fields must be given to artist such as Lucy Mcrae, Nico Casavecchia, Daniel Eatock, Jessica Hische, Champagne Valentin, Brosmind and Upper First.

The bright Lucy McRae gave an incredible insight about her career and major creation with a detailed description of the process that lead to concepts as well as the realization of the incredible body architectural pieces so typical of her works. Her interest and passion for the human body, architecture, chemistry, paint, ballet, gardening, mass produced objects and photography allowed her to explore the deepest realms of a sometimes grotesque beauty. Her collaboration with singer Robyn have got her to the worldwide attention of the critics.

Nico Casavecchia is an argentinian self taught director specialized in combining filmmaking philosophy with motion graphic techniques exploring this realm of contemporary visual art. A very confident and down to earth talk that inspired the crowd as few other did.

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