Home / Away

After arriving back on Canadian soil after our three-week course abroad, everything seemed to feel very normal. It was strange to think how quickly we can slip back into our everyday routines, like flicking a switch. Having travelled a fair amount, the feeling wasn’t new to me but it always seems to spark some reflection. I think in a way, the natural transition is because we leave a part of ourselves there, the part that is so bohemian and free and whose heart is just too full and soft for the grind of reality. However, while the transition seems natural on the surface, deep down we feel that missing self. When finally, after weeks or years we look back upon those places through our memories, it always seems to be this ideal version soaked in beauty, like a filter that makes everything glow.

My final piece is meant to focus on not only these emotional reflections, but to explore the difference in design tactics between these settings. Our design training at OCAD often conforms to a certain visual standard which may not resonate in areas where design is less accessible. Of course, this was a major factor from the beginning of the course, where our objective was to implement participatory design. With this in mind, the goal of my final project is really to explore the relationship between the away self, the home self, the away designer and the home designer with a personal and introspective view.

The physical setup of the piece so far consists of a largescale print, running from wall to floor, consisting of colorized images of Costa Rica’s tropical flora and the flowing sea which meets the coast. A translucent material such as organza/mesh will be stretched slightly above the print, forming a kind of wave shape. The mesh overlay is meant to act as the metaphorical ‘veil’ in which we view our times abroad through memory. Two stones hold the veil in place, and in the corners near the wall there are two bottles labelled coconut water but with minimal graphics reminiscent of design practiced at home. The bottles also pay homage to our project objective of managing waste. In the original concept, an additional component such as postcards or posters was to hang on the wall above or beside the installation, which would further display the contrast of institutionalized design. Depending on how elaborate the final installation is, this may or may not be included but must remain cohesive in some way to its counterpart.

The piece that has manifested so far is more of a scaled down prototype with ample room to grow and evolve. Between now and the exhibition, I intend to experiment with scale, materials, transparency, lighting and added graphic elements such as typography in order to increase visual interest and viewer engagement.  Home / Away is an art/design installation inspired by the relationship between travel and home and the transition from one to another, both as a designer and an emotional being.

[side note] in the images I have provided a rough sketch for possible future updates to the final. This includes plans for up-scaling, added components, lighting, projection and other installation formats.

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