Workshop with TDR

pointless learning

The first of our workshops was dedicated to the sharpest graphic designer of our times: Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic.

4th – 5th March 2016. Bellissimo / Luca Ballarini hosted the workshop of TDR’s founder, operative in Sheffield since 1986. Ian Anderson is also the creator of Warp Records’ most famous covers as well as the head behind the artworks and projects for Coca-Cola, MTV and PlayStation.

The participants were called to imagine and record a pointless action, and had the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and confront the creative techniques of Ian Anderson.

Below, the pictures of that day, taken by Andrea Taddei.

Four of us took part in the workshop. Following Ian Anderson’s instructions to do something pointless for an hour, our group chose to discover what happens when writing and drawing without using our main sense: sight.

This exercise bordered on metaphysical: four blindfolded people, two on each side of the table, wrote and scrawled whatever came to their mind on a large white sheet, without being able to watch what they, or anyone else, was doing.

One hour “in the dark”, passing from an initial embarrassment and silent concentration to a playful and funny atmosphere, from euphoria to boredom, from carefully preserving the invisible order of the writings and drawings on the big sheet to listening and trying to interpret what was happening around.

The result is what you see above: not quite worth framing, yet a unique and emblematic picture.

Bellissimo’s team presented this experiment to Ian Anderson and the other participants of the workshop with a performance: one began to tell what had happened, and soon after a second person started talking, overlapping the speech of the first one. Then came the third, followed by the fourth person. In the end, everyone was talking over each other, resulting into an incomprehensible mix of voices. Suddenly, the four voices stopped, and after a few seconds of silence, everyone pronounced a sentence, expressing the feelings that had emerged from this pointless action — which was not so pointless after all.

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