• Archive for May, 2009

    Learning should be fun

    May 28, 2009 // Comments Off on Learning should be fun


    My philosophy is that people learn the most when they enjoy their work and have fun. Then the mind opens up and ideas pass through.

    So the most challenging task for the teacher is to make the subject interesting and the learning environment pleasurable. How to get the eyes sparkling with interest and create an understanding of the importance of the task? And when one succeed in that it is fun to be a teacher!

    Andri came by with a guitar one day and Rejão, the musician in the class and Gildo played and sang.


    Posted in SOLEY BLOG, Soley work in ENAV

    Illustrator Course in ENAV

    May 16, 2009 // Comments Off on Illustrator Course in ENAV

    Soley takes a Saturday to run a workshop in Illustrator. The students are hungry for more knowledge in software and there is scarcely time during the week. She ran two workshops this Saturday.



    Posted in DogS ACTIVITIES, Soley work in ENAV

    Transport Design/Service Design

    // 1 Comment »


    Evangelican service designers talk like they have invented something new. I really do not care if people think they have invented the wheel again if it works and they are happy. But military planners, society builders, philosophers and architects (sometimes all in one and the same person) have been planning services and social solutions for as long as society has existed. There have been techniques, rules, solutions and problems that we had to learn about while studying architecture. Some successful and unfortunately many bad cases of social problem solving that has resulted in more disaster than was foreseen. My upbringing in architecture and design happened in one such historical moment when we attacked Modernism as the dogma of our forefathers and decided to address context again and named it Post-Modernism.


    All this is fine and why do I divulge into my past? Because I am interested in service design as a way of contextualizing design problem solving. To move design away from the formalistic laboratory of the design (school)  studio to the ethnographical contextualization of design problems. In that light, service design (can also call it social design) is architectural design, communication design, interaction design etc. The visual communication design students in ENAV here in Maputo have been given the task by Soley to create a tool that will explain to the Maputo citizens how the public transport system works. This has to be explained somewhat further.


    Most of public transport here in Maputo is run by very entrepreneurial young men in small vans named Chappas. These are predominately second hand (actually 8th hand) Toyota HiAce vans that would not pass a control test on other continents. The cars, made for maximum 8-9 people transport up to 25 people at the time, each passenger paying a 5 meticas (ca 0,15 dollars) per trip. Since this public service is a private enterprise they race each other to pick up the most number of passengers (trying to overtake each other), and the routes they take are really only known to the driver who most often has installed a super, super active sound system with huge base boxes and the Marabenta Drum and Base runs to cover the noice of the falling apart car. There is also a semi-public driven bus service that is slow and unreliable and needs not be explained here.


    Since we came to Maputo I have gone through the experience to take the chappas, sometimes for specific transport and also to gain experience of this public service. There is no way to understand how the system works, one just has to jump aboard, read the name-sticker on the car and hope it passes close to where one is going. Of course not speaking the local language yet does not help. We have also realized that flat maps that we Western people are used to are not common and many friends have difficulty in using them, relying rather on landmarks and mental mapping systems that are more linked to visual and experiencial memory rather than to a Cartesian grid system.


    The students are to come with proposals that serve the local public and visitors to the city so that it is possible to understand clearly and use the transport system effectively. There are of course many famous such system in the world, maybe the best known the London Underground Map designed by Harry Beck, actually an engineering draftsman, and the Paris Metro profile including the stations designed by Hector Guimard.


    The task for the students I have seen as fourfold primarily.

    a) to simplify the everyday (efficiency)

    b) to create a collective profile for the whole service and unifying element for the city

    c) to divulge information clear and fast

    d) to make the mundane more ejoyable


    Friday May 15th was the first presentation by the students of the research group work. The research is more complicated than in the normal Western design school since the information is not available through Google, but the students had to do more ethnographical work on their own every day, relating directly in themselves to the current problems and issues that could be addressed. The discussion during the presentations was actually much more about social engineering than graphic design. That was very stimulating and the teachers made some very good comments to the students about such issues. I saw a realization that graphic designers can be fundamental in social engineering and political motivation. This is good for young design students and for the school environment that is mostly arts and crafts orientated and not with proper design entrepreneurial perspective.

    So, is the project a service design project? Dealing with logistics and processes? Using people as prototypes for checking social engineering? In my opinion it is although the project is just a simple graphic design school project. It is a project that is fundamental to society here in Africa, while much of graphic design understanding is more geared towards advertizing campaigns and posters for commercial enterprises. More news later when the project unfolds, but we are discussing now how to continue over the next weeks. All suggestions thankfully received.



    Posted in DORI BLOG, Soley work in ENAV

    Video Art, Maputo

    May 8, 2009 // No Comments »

    We went last night to a video-art exhibition/event in Avenue des Artistes. This location is a very nice place here in Maputo, where they stretch canvas over the street in two places, put out furniture and run it as a bar/club. It is to be recommended to anyone visiting the city. We have been there for concerts etc. Last night there was a show of a collection of short films and video art. Soley’s student is one of those showing his work, but the evening represented ca 8 film makers with a variety of shorts. It was interesting to see the subject matter selection and the experiments. The work was not really technical, but documental in form, various clips of people from Mozambique demonstrating their skills or activities. The event was typically artistic in execution, a screen in a small room and we had to crowd somewhat to see something. But of course the most eager got the front seat at the sofa table.
    In the break there was a performance art event. I must admit that I do not know the name of the artist, but his activity was interesting, and again not very conceptual but demonstrative.



    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections

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