Welcome to the Sound & Image Lab 2015 course portfolio. Part of the Communication Design undergraduate program at the Fine Arts Faculty of the University of Porto, the course aimed at acquainting students with the fundamental elements of digital sound and image and at expanding and questioning the primacy of software tools in design processes. Students were introduced to unconventional methods of sound and image manipulation such as databending; afterwards students were also invited to participate in conditional design exercises and to experiment with procedural generation techniques, first on paper and then with the use of computers. The course also approached a creative computer programming tool – Processing – in an informative but not mandatory way.
The projects in this portfolio – built by single students or teams of up to three elements – present both the wide range of students’ interests and the wide range of possibilities granted by the topics discussed in Sound & Image Lab. Students were given no briefing or theme, instead they were given a blank page in which to explore fundamental procedures and elements of digital media. I am delighted with the responses given to such a tough challenge, ranging from algorithmic typography to computer games, from conditional design board games to procedurally generated colouring books, from comprehensive branding proposals to clothing or ceramics, all exploring databending techniques, to multiple approaches at audio visualization and dance and performance… you get the idea.
Finally, I’d like to leave a warm word for all my students, most of whom I expect to continue to meet in the halls of FBAUP, but also a very special word for all Erasmus exchange students I was privileged to work with. Seeing the University not just as a place for teaching, but also as a place for learning from students and for promoting relationships – most important of all the bonds between students, I warmly welcome students from abroad into the classroom. It was fantastic to see how something seemingly so cold – the digital, the procedural – could be so animated and warmed by exchange students’ cultures, experiences and personal philosophies: Aneta and Tina’s traditional Latvian belt, Jynyoung’s Korean typography, Niccolò’s travels in Chile through remote Araucania, Nefeli’s soothing ‘nightmares’, Signe’s fearless idea that acting a bit like a fool defines play – and Amanda, Caroline, Fabrício, Karina, Ruta and Natalie… Thank you for all you taught me.
July 6th, 2015