Just the right blend of fine and design

The end of year exhibition at Kibbutzim College showcases the hard work of the students, who thrive in the creative environment.

By RACHEL SARENKA SMITH
August 4, 2011 07:05
3 minute read.
Design

Design. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Kibbutzim College's design department is missing only one thing: a location in central Tel Aviv to provide easier access to the students' art. Despite the location restrictions, the end of year exhibition this year showcased the hard work of the students, who thrive in the creative environment.

The school, located in Kiryat Hachinuch just north of Tel Aviv, is structured differently than other design schools. It provides design training for teachers along with instruction for students, attempting to combine both design and teaching. The main focus of the department also differs from a traditional design department. At Seminar Hakibbutzim, the students stray from the conceptual dialogue of design and shift to products that have more purpose, while still attempting to synthesize fine art and design.

The exhibition of the students' final project was extensive, with several rooms dedicated to each specialty.  The first section, visual communications, spanned from video installations to students' photography.  One of the most creative projects was a work that documented immigrants in the Central Bus Station: the book included pictures of immigrants photographed next to the artist, while the page was folded over to cover the face of the artist.  It displayed the overwhelming sense of being an outsider, coupled with a feeling of solitude that was captured through the photograph and the folding of the page.  Other projects included students' interpretations of other artists' writings, like Paul Gauguin's thoughts about his trip to Haiti.  The students were encouraged to create their own dialogues with the books, including their own photographs, quotes, and collages.

Some of the most interesting projects were created by Russian students whose parents immigrated to Israel, most of which explored the theme of identity and--again--immigration.  One of the projects in this section of the exhibit was a beautiful book that documented the artist's relationship with her parents through paper-cutting.  The artist had not used laser cutting; rather, each intricate cut and corner was done completely by hand.  Several of the video installation projects originated from an interest in explaining language; one artist displayed the Hebrew alphabet through the human body by painting each letter on the body's form, while another explored pronunciation of language by analyzing how one can make language visual.

The rooms that showcased costume design were impressive in both the final product, and also the other design skills clearly involved in the creation.  The elements of industrial design were apparent in most of these projects, especially the leather-work and laser-cutting.  It proved a true knowledge and merging of the different design disciplines, and the projects themselves were extremely cutting-edge and inventive.  Throughout the rooms, the designs promoted freedom of expression and combined precise tailoring with improvisation: one artist created her beautifully-tailored dresses with the hats cleverly attached to the bodices.

The most practical projects were found in the industrial design exhibit.  These creations ranged from projects to help water purification in third world countries to innovative multi-use objects.  The most impressive design was an aquaponic system that uses a sustainable growth method, combining water, animals and plants in a symbiotic environment. The fish exchange waste--valuable nutrition for plants--for clean water filtered by the plants.  This project attempted to demonstrate a tool for growing and maintaining one's own agriculture and food.  Several other projects showed a synthesis of craftwork and practicality, particularly in furniture design.

The structure of the program itself aims at interdisciplinary program--each student learning techniques from different facets of the department.  The first and second years of the program are devoted to creating and learning the basics of design, sculpture, drawing, and workshops in fashion design and computer programming.  This approach aims to give each student the tools necessary for a successful future in design, without honing in on a specific area.  In the students' third and fourth years, they may concentrate in their areas of interest.  Each student chooses one major specialty, along with a minor.  It is in the fourth and final year that the students create a final project, which focuses on either visual communication/multimedia design, product design, or costume design.

With careful guidance and immense talent, these students have every resource at their disposal.  Their projects reflect a reinvention of product design, and a view of art through a highly progressive lens.  Through a mesh of fine art and practicality, they are well on their way to creating a new frontier of design.

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