A Closer Look at Designism 2.0’s SEE Panel

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Enmeshed as we were in top-level Art Basel debriefings, we quite unfortunately missed out on all of the fun on last week’s Designism 2.0 confab. While Alissa masterfully chronicled the event, giving us the design scoop on Darfur, Dove, and the devil’s advocate in Wolff‘s clothing, it is ultra-tricky to blog about a panel of which you’re the skilled moderator (and a modest one at that). So we looked to our chum Benjamin Kessler, who devoted a post to the Alissa-moderated panel over on his Graphic Design Forum blog.

Entitled “SEE,” the panel featured designers Ji Lee, Andrew Sloat, and Ellen Sitkin discussing their passionately undertaken independent projects, such as Sloat’s “Drainage Ditch” (that’s “Sloat” in Dutch), a series of short films that Kessler calls “a fun, patriotic mix of typography and cinema,” and Sitkin’s Project M. And then there’s the creation of Lee, who donned an Afro wig and amber-lensed aviator shades for the occasion:

Fed up with the banality of the advertising world in which he made his living, Ji Lee invited the people to talk back by pasting empty voice bubbles on billboards and posters on the streets and in the subway. The “Bubble Project” phenomenon spawned a book, Talk Back: The Bubble Project, and has spread around the world via the internet, but perhaps just as rewarding was the “adrenaline rush” Lee says he got from his guerrilla activities. Sloat said his movies come out of a desire to subvert his own political stridency with a more “open-ended, sentimental” message. Sitkin felt that her day jobs in design didn’t fulfill her need to explore “the human side” of the discipline. Each designer found a project suited to his or her personality, one that spoke to both overarching desires of young political artists: to do good and to be understood.

Thirsty for more? Check out Core77’s coverage, read more from Ben, and then mark your calendar and ready your iPod for January 3rd, when the Art Directors Club will post a podcast of the whole shebang here.