Creating a new visual identity for a festival can be overwhelming, so vast are the possibilities. In coming up with the look and feel for this year’s DESIGN Canberra, ANU Art and Design alumna Zoe Brand first delved into the past.
“My jumping off point was The Shine Dome, AKA the home of The Academy of Sciences,” she says.
"In my practice I use text as a material, so I began with the history of the building and more specifically with the speeches given at the opening ceremony of this now iconic Canberra building.”
Zoe, who earned her Bachelor of Visual Arts with First Class Honours in 2015, was drawn to the language in the opening speeches from 1959. In designing the centrepiece work for the DESIGN Canberra festival, she honed in on a particular question: where do we go from here? which she describes as feeling as relevant now as it did then.
“Not only is it an important question to ask, but also an interesting one to answer within the framework of the DESIGN Canberra festival,” Zoe says.
The stencil-like font and text on discs that make up the ‘look’ of this year’s festival has its roots in her third year in the ANU Gold and Silversmithing workshop. Her main body of work, called “A Failure to Communicate, More or Less”, was a series of 14 white powder-coated aluminium disc pendants.
Zoe says that she sees possibility in mundane, everyday throwaway statements.
“I collect, examine and remove them from conversation and build the text into signs. I wonder how a sign is read when the context of its placement changes from wall to body.”
She’s also interested in how we recognize and understand signs.
“Jewellery is a sign on the body; it can lead us to glean some information (rightly or wrongly) about the person who is or isn’t wearing it, and we can come to conclusions even before they have spoken a word.
“I take this approach to jewellery quite literally and use text in my work as a very direct means of communication, even if sometimes it’s a little ambiguous how a viewer might understand it.”
Zoe sees herself as a conceptual artist and uses jewellery as her medium.
“However, I’m fortunate that my work traverses so many other disciplines such as fashion, craft, and design.
“So I’m able to really explore the opportunities that arise in a way that is sympathetic and in line with my practice."
The DESIGN Canberra festival runs 6-26 November. More details can be found on their website.
ANU in DESIGN Canberra
DESIGN Canberra festival events featuring ANU alumni, staff and students – or held at ANU:
1-22 November - Exhibition: Joanne Searle and Kirrily Humphries
7-12 November - Canberra Modern: Talking Points
9 November - Transit: Jeremy Lepisto: Opening Event
9 November - Alt-Route: Cultural Geographies of The Capital: Opening Event
11 November - Canberra Modern: Modern(ist) Love
11 November - Canberra Modern: Modernist Dinner
11 November - Open Studio: Alison Jackson
11 November - Open Studio: Jeremy Lepisto
11 November - Open Studio: Dan Lorrimer
11 November - Open Studio: Kirstie Rea, Lisa Cahill, Julie Ryder
12 November - Canberra Modern: Photography Walking Tour of ANU
12 November - Canberra Modern: Modernist Market
14 November - Canberra Modern: The Other Moderns
16 November - Canberra Modern: The Cocktail Hour Lifestyle with The Martini Whisperer
18 November - Open Studio: Anne Masters
18 November - Open Studio: Sharon Peoples
18 November - Open Studio: Phoebe Porter
18 November - Open Studio: Annie Trevillian
24 November to 3 December - ANU School of Art and Design Graduating Exhibition