Friday, February 19, 2010


Logging onto the university online noticeboard system, I encountered this lovely and helpful-but-could-they-have-told-us-earlier-than-today notice on Reflective Discourse (i.e. what you learnt from the academic year.)

I see the word 'reference'.
Let's zoom in a little bit more...

reference... WHAT?!?

I somewhat expected them to expect third-years to drum up something more academical-reading, but to the extent of referencing one's own diary? What kind of tortured soul am I supposed to be, Orson Welles? Does it not pleasure the teaching staff enough to see us final-year students going through the grind, only adding to the hoi polloi that we should be caged literary souls alongside that of OCD'ed freaks as well?

One thing I learnt is, design tutors tend to forget things more easily as opposed to technical tutors, who keep track of minutiae increments filed in mind. It does make me wonder whether successful designers end up having goldfish attention span length (hence the Galliano-like behaviour spectacles.) This year also gives an outlook on how tutors mark one's work - the system employed to enable tutors mark academic work makes it look as if it's certainly worth behaving like a donkey early on during the year as tutors set their expectations on various students. It is after all an academic circuit and not quite the professional fashion show circuit. But then, sticking to the regime helps develop professional discipline.

Referring to professional designers, it does make me rethink of my work experiences to date. There is no shortage of professional designers who [is forced/chooses to] merchandise*, as opposed to design, to round up their collection for the showroom, which eventually makes money for their living. Maybe because the design units are too small? Maybe there should be more duo designers to share the grey matter burden?

And now, to the issue of geographical cluttering.
Fashion capitals exist not only because of the resources promptly available (as for Paris and Milan) or number of designers clustered within one city. Culture plays a big part, too. For example, Indonesians would be aware of the fact that Jakarta spins money whilst Bandung comes up with ideas. The extensive endowments towards the setting up of public cultural spaces such as well-curated museums and performance halls has given most of Western Europe its cultural heft. (And the fact that it used to colonise vast swathes of the world, with artefacts available for not-so-voluntary picking on the natives' side.) Call it the rich man's cabinet like Banksy did if you like, but going to museums does help. I didn't exactly have an idea of what makes quilting it is, despite the wealth of craft books the college retained and that I read through, and all the shopping/market research that entailed (the shops only had those lousy square-diamond-quilted stuff as copied from Chanel. Ew.) I proceeded to hand-quilt a jacket lining for a friend's Christmas present, got thirdway through, went to the museum (whilst waiting for my visa), saw a quilt from the 15th century and realised where I went wrong. And how dedicated they were back then: white coarse threads on white fabric, with lousy needles, and nothing showing that is bigger than a pinprick on a quilt 4 metres by 6 wide. Try doing that under candlelight, if your eyes won't give out on you. (But then, they had the whole village and it took them a good few years to complete, I only have myself and maybe a few helpers and a few months to outdo that by a factor of three.)

Indonesia is still very weak on the culture dissemination factor, which is why I cringe everytime I think of going back to Jakarta for good. Lack of good museums, lack of good publications, and it can take a good two hours to reach the other side of town. Madness. I try to find jobs over here too, on this island and across the Channel and Atlantic pond, which is why I find this year so draining. Home and EU students can kick back their job hunting until after graduation by virtue of being able to stay back without needing a visa after graduation. Some tutors occasionally seem unable to comprehend the matter at hand because they need no visa to secure jobs around the world, and consequently thinks that me doing the job hunting early is having mixed priorities. I think they just don't get it. (Maybe I should try marrying an EU national for the passport. Two hours can get me to another country over here.)

Or, as one recent graduate put it, karena kita bukan seperti mereka. Discrimination still runs; maybe rather unintentionally because it's harder to employ non-EU individuals, but could also due to the whole past-colonialism issue (G will be happy to fill you in on this.)

This post definitely deserves the Y3 tag.
If there is one major issue I hold against the college, it's for its abysmal administration. Getting one's timetable released after the term started brings the term 'fashionably late' to a new level, albeit one that is callous instead of chi-chi.

Alright then, that's enough reference material for now.
I don't like complaining on my blog, but for the bloody discourse then I complain it is.

Take care.

*merchandise: re-presenting the same garment cut in different fabrics and different colours

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