Throughout the history of art and design it has often been observed that adversity and discomfort have stimulated the creative process rather than hampered it. From Vincent van Gogh’s obsessive and lonely wanderings to Georgia O’Keefe’s sojourn in the deserts of New Mexico it seems that the creative spirit benefits from hardship.
“If you are feeling uncomfortable and alone you know you’re doing something right,” says Bio-Architect, Neri Oxman. It seems then, that the starting point of the creative process is an acceptance of uncertainty, of learning to live with the discomfort of not knowing the answers, but knowing that the answers will be found if you search hard enough. Innovation is often the result of confronting the status quo and pushing against the grain. So lockdowns, small budgets and restrictions of almost any kind are not necessarily detrimental to creative production and may in fact stimulate it.
Our students are gifted designers, so what emerges from whatever methods they have developed during this season of discontent, will be unexpected and original; even beautiful. Innovation of all kinds was already evident as the academic year progressed, with communication design being used to explore typography and language, gender stereotypes, propaganda, the disposal of plastic and the pursuit of happiness to name just a few. We all look forward to their next steps, especially since this Showcase of student work allows for its form and identity to continually evolve in response to the progressive uploading of content over the next year. This is an exciting prospect that may demonstrate the principle that intense pressure initiates progress.