In the past few years onlab had been invited to several universities and art schools in Europe to teach as visiting professors.
onlab is interested in the practical discourse and so our main objective in teaching is to establish the missing link between academic teaching and professional practice. Decision-making under time pressure, selection of sophisticated yet efficient production techniques, and transdisciplinary collaborative skills are usually only acquired after entering professional life. It is possible, however, to develop these skills beforehand.
We are therefore planning to start our own Summer School in Berlin in August / September 2011. We will offer a 2 week workshop as well as a parallel program with public lectures and discussions with professionals of diverse backgrounds.
The application process will start next year in spring. If you’re interested send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t send your portfolios or questions yet – this is just to set up a mailing list to provide more information soon. Please do spread the word!
To get an idea of onlab’s teaching approach check some of the topics of lasts year’s workshops:
‘Ménage à 3’ – 3 weeks, 3 teams, 3 guests, 3 products
Bauhaus Universität Weimar, Germany
Commonly “Ménage à Trois” signifies the relationship between three people. Which methods of editorial design can help to capture the essence of a person? Which possibilities can be used to communicate individual content and character? And how to create a magazine within one week?
The student’s task was to portray three guests that were invited to spend a day in the Bauhaus. They were to produce a magazine consisting of three issues, each dedicated to one person – Rachel de Joode, Barbara Stauss and Mika Mischler – to be completed in one intensive week. Each week three student groups contributed three booklets to the issue. The teams were to conduct interviews, develop concepts, edit content, and finally design the booklet and oversee its production. They experienced the entire production process of a magazine within a short period.
9 locations to find: a poster scavenger hunt!
Hyperwerk, FHNW Basel, Switzerland
The idea finding process was the focus of the workhsop. The students were to extract the essential and convey information in the subtlest way possible. The very challenge and excitement of a scavenger hunt is to give hints and to codify information neither being too cryptical nor too explicit. This fine line promises experimental dimensions in the use of communication strategies and visual language. And so each poster was designed as an indication of the next location. On the final scavenger hunt the group had to decode each other’s posters in order to find their way through the city which was great fun!
An experiment on designing alternative magazines
University of the Arts Bremen, Germany
During his teaching assignment in Bremen, Nicolas asked his students to explore new and challenging ways of designing around a topic that is commonly communicated in rather plain ways in mainstream media. ‘Sex’ was the topic and the students were to give it multiple meanings and readings. Everyone relates to the topic of sex in a very personal way. To articulate a subjective angle and to find an adequate formal approach was the core challenge. The result is real pleasure.
‘Exercices de style’
1 week, 1 book, 1 story and 34 ways of designing it
School of Applied Arts La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
After teaching there as visiting professor earlier this year, Thibaud is now holding a permanent teaching position at the School of Applied Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds. He had been invited to hold a workshop where he invited Anna Haas, Adeline Mollard, Linda Hintz, Yassin Baggar, and Matthias Hübner to collaborate.
‘Exercices de Style’ by Raimond Queneau is a collection of 99 retellings of the same story, each in a different style. In this workshop, every student was given one version of the story with the task to study the whole span of editorial forms and develop a visual concept for each version. A book with over 300 pages gathering 34 reinterpretations was produced in limited edition and exhibited in the school.
‘Design from outer space’
Shares of a whole: An image subdivided into 28 parts
College of Education Bern, Switzerland
Teaching to non-designers was a new experience and the concept of the workshop had to relate to the student’s future jobs as school teachers. Therefore onlab chose a pedagogical method in which the working process was at the very fore and the formal results were secondary.
An ASCII-rastered portrait of the astronaut James A. McDivitt, commander of Gemini IV, was subdivided in 28 framed pieces. Every student received a frame with a abstract fragment of the portrait without knowing that they are parts of a whole. The students had two days to freely interpret the pattern under the topic ‘design from outer space’. Exploring graphic expressions and visual languages based on an abstract pattern was the underlying strategy to reveal the manifold approaches that are possible to tackle any design problem.