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Chaos at the Museum, Buenos Aires – Day 1

December 26, 2016 in Random

DELAYED BLOGGING… Better late than never, right? The truth is: there were so many interesting people to meet, and experiences to digest, I never would have managed this account in real time.

Between November 17-20, I attended the international conference Chaos at the Museum, which was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My trip was completely funded, in terms of registration fee, airfare and accommodation by the Cultural Export Strand, Arts Council Malta, to which I owe my deepest gratitude. I am very lucky to be offered these opportunities by my home country (pssttt… Maltese citizens and residents… YOU ARE TOO!)


Here are my notes from the 17th… Enjoy!

I will try to link in as many people profiles as I can, but, if I have missed something or someone. let me know in the comments below.


Day 1 – Thursday November 17th

The day was structured to include keynote speeches in the morning, and smaller, more focussed “Tools Workshops” in the afternoon. The main intention of the conference was to “turn the museum inside out.” This would be tested through the more hands-on Creative Workshops. In these, groups of up to nine participants would develop ideas to intervene at eight different sites around the Museum of the City, where they will aim “to unearth questions that have not been asked, to expose stories that have not been told” and, in doing so, reveal the exceptional fabric of the City of Buenos Aires.

Key aspects from this day was the panel session as well as keynote speeches by Walter Hood and Andres Roldan. Walter Hood is an American architect who builds conscientious parks. Some examples included part of Central Park as well as designing for the fragile ecology of a Los Angeles park. Andres Roldan was involved in both the Explora Science Museum in Medellin, Colombia, as well as a number of social urbanism projects. For Explora, designers asked themselves how they could create situations which allow the public to interact with content in a fun, memorable way.

We were then introduced to the other members of our making group, and were asked to participate in a few ice breaking activities which would introduce us to our Creative Workshop team, which was Team 12. Our assigned site was the Basilica of the Convent of San Francisco of Assisi, on Alsina 380. The topics we were asked to touch upon were faith, religion, beliefs and spirituality.

My groups was composed of myself and Rob King as English-only speakers, Felicitas Luna, Mariangeles Metivie, Carina Viviana Mercado as Spanish-only speakers and Marie Eugenia Salcedo, Nicolas Jose Nucifora and Karen Andrea Antorveza Paez as biligual Spanish and English speakers.
Tools Workshops:

Sounds, vibrations and echoes: strategies to listen and resonate the city and its stories – Martin Liut

After lunch, we separated ways and participated in Tools Workshops. The first I attended was run by Martin Liut. It began with a short walk to Plaza de Mayo. The way places are built, dictate how we communicate to each other. Back inside, we each discussed our individual approaches towards using sound narratives:

Should the audio be high quality? We don’t want to remove the spontaneity, although we would need to be alone to record high quality sound, so it is a compromise. Capturing sound is however less invasive than a picture. Clipping a microphone to headphones, looks like I’m listening to music. What sounds can be discovered by retiring the visual?
Cocreating Stories – feel, listen, connect – Magui Kämpf

The second participatory workshop looked at designing via looking through our mindscape.
When we were finished, we looked at a map of the space and were asked to overlay
Our emotions during the experience
2. The activity and people we met
The idea is to get out of the box thinking, and be ready to take a step back and see another perspective. Each person then stood on the name they had suggested in order to speak as them. This is an opportunity for dialogue between various stakeholders to be envisaged. My main takeaway was that there are no fixed ways in which we can get people to engage, however we can make invitations which call their attention.

Stay tuned for Day 2!


Arup at the V&A

November 4, 2016 in uncategorised

I had heard about Arup plenty of times when I was studying architecture. I was aware that they were a major engineering and consultancy firm, that they had collaborated in building many great buildings -namely, the Sydney Opera House, but I hadn’t really thought much about them. Architectural education -at least in Spain in the ‘00s- still places emphasis in the romantic idea of the architect as an artistic genius that will create anything -from a piece of furniture to an entire city- on his own. Engineers were dumb brutes only fit to crunch numbers, management a necessary evil, and teamwork something that we would have to learn on our own in the Real World. As the years went on I became more and more disillusioned with that unrealistic and ultimately toxic view of creativity in design.

Ove Arup, who was born in 1895, was someone with the opposite attitude: raised an engineer (but with a background in poetry and philosophy as well), but with some pretty clear and open ideas on what design should be:



The Underpinnings Museum

November 1, 2016 in uncategorised

A useful research tool for contour students has just launched, which I thought you might like to know about. The Underpinnings Museum is a new online resource which aims to showcase and document exquisite objects, and is dedicated to the evolution of underwear through the ages.

The Underpinnings Museum - photography by Tigz Rice

Whilst high profile exhibitions on the history of lingerie hit the headlines in Paris, New York, Sydney and now London, and brands seek to celebrate their heritage by looking to their archives for inspiration, lingerie lovers can struggle to find in depth information and analysis of garments. The Underpinnings Museum aims to satisfy this desire by offering free access to all, with high-quality photography capturing the garments in exquisite detail. Each object is accompanied by extensive technical and historical contextual information.

The museum creates an invaluable community resource for lingerie lovers, fashion students, historians and home sewers, with permanent items and regular exhibitions offering an unparalleled depth of insight and fresh perspectives on the world of undergarments through the ages and across the globe. It’s an ongoing project too, constantly updating and expanding its collections. Beginning by documenting an extensive vintage collection dating between 1880-1960, the project will add crucial historical pieces to the archive and explore contemporary design controversies.

The launch exhibition is made up of thirteen pieces that the museum’s director, Karolina, and I chose to show the breadth of her collection and give a brief glimpse into women’s underwear in the early twentieth century. Each was carefully photographed by Tigz Rice and offers a taster of what is to come. I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of documenting the collection and will let you know when the next exhibition goes live.

V&A Friday Late: Brief Encounters

June 26, 2016 in uncategorised

Appropriate for the V&A? We say YES!

Last Friday the Victoria & Albert Museum hosted a Late Night inspired by the Undressed exhibition with activities addressing underwear’s relation to everthing from sexuality and gender to fashion and form.  From French lingerie designer Fifi Chachnil to Coco de Mer founder Samantha Roddick and many more, the event offered numerous talks, activities and an intimate fashion show relating to underwear through the ages.

collage va

In contribution to a charity shop we were offered to “knit-a-tit”, a special handmade breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. To be honest, Yasmin and I did not quiet manage to finish it as it turned out to be quiet tricky…. but at least we tried!

Fifi Chachnil
My personal highlight was the performance of French lingerie designer Mademoiselle Fifi, founder of Maison Fifi Chachnil which is marked by frivolous beauty, who presented her very own album during the event. Her designs have previously  been shown in an intimate catwalk show in the Grand Entrance Hall earlier that night.

Baloon Bustles
Since we are striving and upcoming lingerie designers, we thought it would be fun to join the arts and crafts workshop Baloon Bustles and make some quirky paper corsets using cardboard, gems and crepe paper. I think we totally made the most of it!

It was an overall fun evening in the V&A, looking forward to the next Late Night!

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