Teaching in motion graphic design

A week ago I taught our first-year student in Motion Graphic Design, 66 students from Visual Communication DMJX. It was the last week of a course (three weeks course). We were focusing on the history of motion graphic. We didn’t have time to make a deep research, but we could get an insight and an overview of the period from when somebody started to work and experiment with moving images up to now.
I made a list of 23 designers/artists who had an impression on their posterity in one way or another; visions and beliefs, developed new technology, significant expression method, etc.

The list looks like this:
Walter Ruttmann, Hans Richter, Oscar Fischinger, Len Lye, Mary Ellen Bute, Norman McLaren, John Whitney, Saul Bass, Maurice Binder, Robert Breer,
Stan VanDerBeek, James Stanley Brakhage, Lis Rhodes, Pablo Ferro, Robert Abel, Zbigniew Rybczynsky, Richard Greenberg, David Daniels, Kyle Cooper, Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, Karin Fong and Julian Vallée.

Divided into 23 teams, the students got one designer from the list to work with. Their goal was to create a title sequence for a documentary about the designer. They were not allowed to copy the style of the designer or use any kind of footage from their designer. Based on their research they made an interpretation. They took decisions about the angle of the “story” and visual style; and unfolded the idea in 25-50 seconds long title sequence.
The last day took form as a chronological journey; the students presented their designer/artist for each other beginning with the first pioneer in motion graphic.

I have held similar course before, but this year I was much more focused on the process rather than the results. I encouraged the students to talk about their “breakthrough” in the design process; let them be aware of which tools were useful and which was unnecessary.
In the end, it seemed like most of the teams really loved the designer they had worked with, and that is one of my goals with the course; amazing motion graphic is not necessarily from this decade, thoughts and visions from the past can sometimes be very relevant also today, especially when the are made with modern technology.

What is in it for me?
It strengthens my knowledge of the designers on the list, and I got lots of inspiration while experience the student way through and their interpretations, sometimes it went too far from the source (the designer), and sometimes it looks a bit like a copy.
Getting questions about style, history, technology, interpretations, etc make a lot of interesting discussions.

Inspiration from:
Michael Betancourt / The History of Motion Graphics / ISBN 9781434441508

Audiovisual workshop

Last week I organized a workshop (at DMJX) in cooperation with a composer and sound designer. The workshop was created for a mix of sound- and motion graphic design students.
The workshop, which we have conducted before, was an experiment without a unique answer. The students worked in teams, and all that they needed was their personal memories, reflections, and interpretation to create a solution.
The output: 45 seconds long audiovisual work.

The sense of smell has a special direct way to the memory center in the brain. An odor can lead us back into the past, remind us of a particular location, and evoke emotions – everything personally experienced.
We can recognize a lot of different smells, but our vocabulary comes to an end while describing it.
In this workshop, we transformed the impression of smells to sound and image. The senses of smell directed the senses of seeing and hearing and thereby created the mood, style, and tension for an audiovisual artwork.

· Sniff to two smells, describe and classify them
· Make an interpretation and write down a short synopsis.
· Outline the idea by using specific visualization methods for both sound and image.
· Produce the final solution.
· Presentation and feedback.

We have some underlying goals for this course like; cooperation, transforming impression from one sense to other senses, experience how the sense of smell and its impact had an influence on our perception.
This year, I was more aware of understanding the assignment as an art project, based on this thought, I think it gave the students a bigger freedom to work with their own style and be more experimental in the few days the course was going on.