An Afternoon Exploring the London Design Festival

So I know I haven’t been very good about posting for the past week and half, but this is my attempt to fall back into a routine and proper schedule. Cameron and I moved into our permanent flat on Friday morning, and spent the weekend doing the decidedly un-exciting, but necessary task of making it feel like home– getting sheets, towels, groceries, and finally getting internet today!

On Monday we had our first day of classes, which was exciting, if only slightly intimidating as I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately everything went well, and we each feel really good both about our courses, and our classmates. One of the most fun things so far has been getting to know everyone, as almost all of us come from different academic backgrounds, and there are numerous countries represented.

On Monday afternoon when we finished class for the day Cameron and I thought it would be fun to go explore some of the London Design Festival housed in the Somerset House (conveniently located on the edge of the King’s campus). There are a variety of installations ranging form conceptual to practical, and even a virtual reality experience, which we have an appointment for on Friday.

Before you even enter Somerset House you pass through what is usually a fountain space, but is instead the temporary home an installation by Marc Quinn called Frozen Waves, Broken Sublimes. The installation features four sculptures that enlarge objects you would find on the beach into monumental scale. They are both beautiful and whimsical, interacting with both the space and the viewer, inviting closer inspection from every angle.

There was also a series of interactive exhibits presented by Twitter, and although don’t have a twitter account, they were interesting and insightful nonetheless. In one project a typewriter ticked away as it composed the world longest collaborative book, composed of tweets by real people in real time. Another flashed trending words on a large projection, showing which words are used most frequently, and the number of times, as hashtags. One particularly innovative one involved a therapeutic experience  aimed at hospital patients, projecting a large, soothing image onto the ceiling along with sound as the viewer relaxed on a large cushion in a pleasantly warm room. The image could be changed via tweet, but I was happy to experience the waterfalls and beach scenes chosen by patients in the preliminary project.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 16.18.20

On the more utilitarian side, a company called Punkt aims to help people distance themselves from they phones and open up channels for actual conversation and interaction. Their device is basically an analog phone that functions only for calls and text messages. Because of its simplicity of use it is made of durable materials with a simple user interface. As someone who is far too connected to the various apps on my phone this prospect if both liberating and terrifying. I’ve lost my phone before and quickly spiralled into an anxious state- worrying that something horrible would happen and I would have no way of getting in touch with anyone. Yes, I realise this is a problem, and as much as I see the value of a simpler phone interface, it terrifies me to be so disconnected.

This weekend we plan to do a bit of relaxing! As we are officially settled in Notting Hill we may explore Portobello market to have a break from schoolwork, but I am definitely looking forward to having a bit of time to just breathe.

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