Nonexpert Knowing - Critical material experiments

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Nonexpert Knowing - Critical material experiments

Helsinki
2020

MA Thesis

FOR / AT:

Aalto University Department of Media

ROLE:

Author, Researcher

This thesis examines the agency of non-expert knowledge in experimental making processes. It draws upon sociological discourse to question the growing expert-laypeople divide. Non-expert knowledge is any knowledge lying outside commonly understood notions of expertise, i.e. outside hegemonic knowledge structures. This social divide, understood to have a psychological impact, is seen through current research about phenomena surrounding professional anxiety, such as the Impostor syndrome. Within this context, the research explores the agency in non-expert knowledge by engaging in methods that allow for non-expert agency to materialise in the making process. The research employs an assemblage of methods based on existing literature. It draws from jugaad (a cultural outlook to hacking from India), critical making, tactical reuse, embodied tinkering and reflective practices. Through this combination, the method aims to be critical, reflexive and responsive to situated ecology. The agency of objects and material affordances offered by the situation are signs of ecological vitality that the research addresses. Thus, it asks two questions: 1) How does non-expert knowledge exercise agency in the critical making process?, and 2) How does non-expert agency address situated ecological vitality through the critical making process?

The research follows a methodology of practice-led research. The methods mentioned above were applied to experimental making processes, which were carried out over the span of one year by the researcher to test the agency of non-expert knowledge. These experiments were recorded using process-oriented autoethnography through self-filming, sketches, texts and images. The results discuss the making processes by introducing the thematic thinking behind them, as a consequence of the non-expert approach. These themes, ‘Rubbery Making’ and ‘What’s going on Cladonia Rangiferina?’ are discussed through case reflections of making processes. Further, the results include a curated YouTube playlist of relevant lectures, included as a part of the making process as well as process films. The discussions address questions about ecological vitality by recording examples of material agency and affordances. It establishes how non-expert agency materialises in the making process through ecological interaction. The research is limited to the processes carried out by the researcher but poses a possibility for expanding the approach to other participants. It explores and applies theory about sociology, critical media theory, and new media materialism.

Advisor_Samir Bhowmik | Supervisor_Markku Reunanen

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Infragraphy Vol 2

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Infragraphy Vol 2

Espoo
2019

Student publication / Essay / Contemporary art / Circuit bending / Inequality

FOR / AT:

Aalto Medialab

ROLE:

Author, Graphic Designer

from Samir Bhowmik's blog post: INFRAGRAPHY Volume 2. is a compilation of critical student artworks and short essays dealing with the materialities of media technologies and their environmental implications. These works and texts are the outcomes from the course ‘Media and the Environment’ in the Fall of 2019 at the Department of Media, Aalto University. The course was a series of scholarly readings about and around the themes of media including media’s relations and impacts on the so-called Anthropocene, thermocultures of media, ecologies of fabrication, media and plastics, Internet of Things, Planned Obsolescence, e-waste, and media’s energetic landscapes. A key approach of the course was also introducing artistic methods and practices that could address emerging media materialities. The final exhibition of the course was a collection of student artworks as a response to the contemporary discourse of political economy of media and related environmental implications.

Editor_Samir Bhowmik | Authors_Gurden Batra, Ameya Chikramane, Punit Hiremath, Eerika Jalasaho, Reishabh Kailey, Leo Kosola, Kevan Murtagh, Surabhi Nadig, Takayuki Nakashima, Julia Sand, Liisi Soroush, Hanna Thenor Årström

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Core

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Core

Helsinki
2018-2020

Ethnographic findings reports

FOR / AT:

Scope Impact OY

ROLE:

Visual designer

Scope Impact (previously known as M4iD) is a social impact company, accelerating social change at scale. They are based in Helsinki, Finland, and their work in equality, gender and health spans Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. "Core is a pioneering three-year project (2018–2020) aiming to better understand, equip and empower women to lead healthier sexual and reproductive lives. Moving beyond vertically-driven thinking about care-provision, Core charts a way forward to better respond to dynamic sexual and reproductive health care-seeking behaviours among women in India, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. It combines human-centered design and interdisciplinary approaches to co-create new solutions for women’s sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing." - excerpt from thisiscore.org. When I was commissioned for this project, I adapted the Core brand identity and illustrations for diagrams, report decks and the Life-Course tool.

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Fitech's Advanced Project Management

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Fitech's Advanced Project Management

Espoo
2018

Educational material for a Business management course

FOR / AT:

Tampere University, Åbo Akademi University, Aalto University, University of Oulu

ROLE:

Visual designer

This Advanced Project-based Management course was organized concurrently with FITech's Advanced Project-based Management course with Aalto University as the host university in 2018. FITech (Finnish Institute of Technology) is a network of universities of technology in Finland and it is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The course is organized in cooperation with Aalto University (Prof. Karlos Artto), Åbo Akademi University (Prof. Kim Wikström), Tampere University of Technology (Prof. Tuomas Ahola), and University of Oulu (Prof. Jaakko Kujala).  I was hired to develop a consistent visual language across the diverse course content emerging from different professors from different universities.

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Pop the bubble

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Pop the bubble

Delhi
2017

Speculative campaign about filter bubbles

FOR / AT:

Aalto University

ROLE:

Visual designer

When a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behaviour, and search history), it leads to the formation of Filter Bubbles of information/misinformation. Users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles. The intent behind this campaign is to convey the dichotomy between the seen and the unseen, to highlight the existence of ‘the other side’ to a story, and to raise awareness about filter bubbles.

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Epsilon

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Epsilon

Mumbai
2016

Campaign for condominiums

FOR / AT:

Shapoorji Pallonji Group \ ASDS Mumbai

ROLE:

Visual designer

Epsilon Towers are contemporary residential towers in the suburbs of Mumbai. They promise a modern and convenient lifestyle and at 69 storeys, are the tallest in the vicinity. The work involved application of a cohesive brand thinking across print and promotional material. The project was undertaken with the graphic team (Sadhna Prasad, Purvika Sharma and Aparna Kale) at ASDS, a Mumbai based design studio, under the guidance of Ajay Shah.

Creative direction_Ajay shah \ Design team_Aparna Kale, Sadhna Prasad

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Masaan

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Masaan

Mumbai
2015

Social media campaign

FOR / AT:

Drishyam Films

ROLE:

Visual designer

Masaan (translation- Crematorium; also known as Fly Away Solo in English) is a 2015 drama film directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, co-written by Varun Grover. The film is an Indo-French co-production produced by Drishyam Films, Macassar Productions, Phantom Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Arte France Cinema and Pathé Productions. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival winning two awards. I was hired by Drishyam Films to work in collaboration with social media whiz Jahan Singh Bakshi, to design a digital promotional campaign for the film across Facebook, twitter, youtube and other digital PR activities

Film director_Neeraj Ghaywan \ Film writer_Varun Grover \ Marketing strategy_Jahan Singh Bakshi

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Waiting

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Waiting

Mumbai
2015

Film deck and poster

FOR / AT:

Drishyam Films

ROLE:

Visual designer

A Brochure/Deck designed for the film Waiting. A retired professor (Naseerudin Shah) whose wife has been in a coma for eight months meets a terrified young woman (Kalki Koechlin) whose husband has slipped into coma after a sudden accident. At the heart of it, Waiting is a film about a special relationship between two people who befriend each other unexpectedly in a hospital. Tenderly and humorously, the film besets you with its central query—what it really means to love someone—is it to let go of your beloved in spite of your emotional need for them or is it to unconditionally accept them in whichever shape or form they are. The visual style of the deck resonates with that of the film - serene and unassuming, yet injected with sparks of warmth and intense emotion. It is intended to give an overview of the film and be used as primary pre-trailer communication. The film has been directed by Anu Menon, produced by Drishyam Films & Ishka Films, released in April 2016. Watch the trailer.

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Hunterrr

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Hunterrr

Mumbai
2015

Social media campaign

FOR / AT:

Shemaroo Films

ROLE:

Visual designer

Camp, kitsch, and jarring were the keywords describing the look for the Social Media Campaign for the movie 'Hunterrr', yet another coming-of-age comedy/drama which romanticises male sexuality. The campaign was inspired by 90s nostalgia and the aesthetic of popular Indian visuals from the era. The polar opposite of minimalism, decorative elements were used with reckless abandon.

Marketing strategy_Jahan Singh Bakshi

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Everyday beautiful

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Everyday beautiful

Bangalore
2015

coffee table book

FOR / AT:

Fortis Infra

ROLE:

Art director

Photography book as marketing material for Under the Sun, a residential property in Bangalore.

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Berger Paints Colour Catalogue

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Berger Paints Colour Catalogue

Mumbai
2013

Colour trends, curated palettes, shade card and advertisements

FOR / AT:

Berger Paints ltd. / Freedom Tree Design

ROLE:

Junior designer, Colour curator

Colour trend research and shade card designed for the Berger Interior Collection for Berger Paints in India. The work involved colour curation, creating palettes and colour stories; inspired by Indian Handicrafts under the theme ‘Colours of India’.

Design team_Aanchal Desai / Siddhi Jadhav / Creative direction_Latika Khosla

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Swarathma - the Inside Story

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Swarathma - the Inside Story

Bangalore
2012

Band biography / coffee-table book

FOR / AT:

Graduation project

ROLE:

Visual designer, Author, Researcher

A Bangalore based folk fusion band, Swarathma’s sound is contemporary Indian folk with a fusion of Rock, Carnatic and Jazz. Their songs speak of joys, sorrows, hope, pain, loss and optimism. Their stage presence is as eclectic as their music and they are known for their loud, kitsch and vibrant look. The objective of this project was to create a Coffee Table Book about the band and infuse it with their energy. The book is an interpretation of their sound, look and personalities.

Photography_Sruti Menon & Shriparna Sarkar

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