Mary Lim

Friday, October 16, 2015

ds: death

First I want to go over the project requirements and specifications for my own use and to ground my research and design process:

Brief
Design an identity for an international poster competition, exhibition, and gala for The Mexican Museum of Design in Mexico City (MUMEDI) with the theme To Death With a Smile.

Components
logo, poster, gala (invitations, envelope), exhibition (catalog cover), website, the event space, extra collateral

Audience
fellow designers

Questions to ask yourself
How can we create a fresh, new way of depicting death?
How can we resolve the conflicting notion of death (fear) and smiling (acceptance, humor, triumph)?
How can we think about the spatial and print components simultaneously, and incorporate space into the brand? (ex. conceptual motion)
How can we approach the design with a respect for other cultures?

Example
A9 for AIGA - designed by Laura Berglund
http://lauraberglund.com/aiga-a9-awards/lfy34umzfeofmfw53psqnkr1yj4wn5



There are a lot of elements to this project, but I'm excited to problem-solve and think about how to incorporate space, web, and print. This is such an interesting topic to take on, especially because death has heavy connotations that can be treated with seriousness or humor with equal substance. The most interesting things come from paradoxes, and I personally think there's more truth to paradoxes than there are to black and white statements. 

As I was researching, Whitman's This Compost came to mind. The poem is about how everything living is made of from death (like compost). The viewer in the poem realizes this fact, and is suddenly terrified to be living in a world where death is inescapable. Last stanza of the poem:

Now I am terrified at the Earth! it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distils such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,  
It renews with such unwitting looks, its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.

From this I realized that death is inescapable spatially (nature, your own body) and mentally (manifested in photography, journaling, blogging, documenting). Perhaps I can bring this idea into my concept for the design to connect the gap between the event space and the flat surface.

Statements I could base my designs off of that interpret To Death With a Smile:
-Death makes us aware of the circle of life.
-Everything living is made of death.
-Taking a bite out of your own sugar skull is taking a bite out of death.
-Accepting death is triumphing over it.

Some spatial inspiration:


 

Images/books about death:











Interesting methods for burial/funerals:

Paradox
Everything living is made of death.

Acceptance
Accepting death is triumphing over it.

Direct Symbolism
Taking a bite out of your own sugar skull is taking a bite out of death.



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