Highlights from Design Indaba 2017: Day 2

With Day 1 of Design Indaba opening on a resoundingly positive note, Day 2 showed no signs of slowing down. Among today’s many highlights, were discussions on the possibility of wearable tech, live performance art pieces, artfully executed instances of naming and shaming, and so much more. Check out some of our personal highlights below.

Image: Triggerfish Studios

Storytelling as a vital tool for growth 

The journey of Triggerfish Animation Studios

Triggerfish’s CEO Stuart Forrest kicked off the day with an inspiring talk about the origins of Triggerfish, their many ups and downs and how their passion and commitment to new forms of local storytelling saw them produce two of Africa’s two most successful film exports: ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ and ‘Khumba’. Clips of each of the films were screened as well as a taste of their latest project, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, which screens at tonight’s FilmFest. 

Books to Prisoners

Rhode Island School of Design graduate Bo-Won Keum is a designer with a passion for stories. Keum’s talk consisted largely of the unpacking of her pioneering initiative, Books to Prisoners which sees a regular donations of books of all kinds to various inmates across the USA, through a dedicated team of volunteers. The project aims to foster a culture of reading, self-improvement and the pursuit of knowledge. Keum also placed a strong emphasis on the importance of print media, saying that when you bring physical media into a space, you are making a difference and laying the foundations for lasting change. Find out more about the project here

Politics as performance

Jabu Newman and The Foxy Five

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of The Foxy Five  so to see them take the Design Indaba stage was a highlight of its own.Newman, the creator of the webseries, walked the audience through the origins of the project while playing key snippets of a few episodes. She later delved into issues of representation in film, specifically the representation of black womxn in film. Her talk was brief, yet impactful and filled to the brim with insight. Ending off the presentation was a live performance by select members of The Foxy Five, flawlessly executed.  

Robin Rhode

South African-born, Berlin-residing artist Robin Rhode was certainly one of the most well-received speakers of the day. To discuss his work, his method and his subject matter, Rhode used live performance art. A series of canvasses lowered onto the stage were scratched, painted, punctured, and even climbed upon in a fast-paced visual and vocal performance. Throughout, Rhode drew parallels between past and present South African politics dealing with issues of race, class and more.

From the series ‘Paradise’

Forgive your enemies

Lernert & Sander

Quite possibly the crowd favourite of Day 2, Dutch artists and filmmakers Lernert & Sander took to the stage with a hilarious and delightfully candid presentation of their work. Throughout their presentation, the duo highlighted instances of their work being blatantly copied and re-purposed without credit, but urged the crowd to join them in exercising forgiveness. Right at the end of their presentation, the duo were joined on stage by a live choir who belted out the contents of a snarky and lyrical email addressed to their many copycats, which they then hit ‘send’ on, essentially executing the first ever live passive-aggressive email.

Image by: Lernert & Sander

Music and creativity

Blinky Bill

Nairobi-based “Blinky” Bill Sellanga is a singer-songwriter, beat maker, producer and one fourth of Kenyan art and music collective, Just a Band. Sellanga opened his talk with a live musical performance before talking through Just a Band’s origins and how they came to produce Kenyás first viral music video. Throughout his talk, Sellanga also strongly advocated for a sense of individuality and absurdity in the creative process.  

Giorgia Lupi and Kaki King

Giorgia Lupi is an award-winning information designer, artist and the co-author of ‘Dear Data’, a book that visualises the details of everyday life, while American guitarist and composer Kaki King is known for her genre-defying percussive and jazz-like melodies and energetic live shows. After mapping her own ‘physical data’ over a period of a few months and analysed by Lupi, King ended up with an original song, composed by her very movements. King performed the song live at Design Indaba, accompanied by data illustrations by Lupi.

‘Dear Data’ by Giorgia Lupi

Designing to solve problems and change lives 

AirBnB’s Joe Gebbia

A highly anticipated talk, AirBnB’s Joe Gebbia was the final speaker to take the stage and used his time to demonstrate the use of design in solving societal problems. Gebbia led his talk with a seemingly bizarre analogy – duct tape as a beacon of design. According to Gebbia, whenever you see duct tape, you should see a design opportunity, as something is broken, therefore having been designed badly. He went on to apply this line of thinking to all areas of design before explaining his ‘duct tape’ moment of starting AirBnB – the worldwide peer-to-peer home-rental startup which interestingly enough, began as a welcoming mattress in his own apartment. Gebbia ended off on a humanitarian note, explaining how AirBnB has become a tool for social change, with AirBnB users opening up their homes to refugees, disaster victims, and even cities, towns and villages in need of a tourism boost.

Thoughts on Twitter

Field notes by Alice Edy

Another set of beautifully illustrated notes, quotes and doodles from today’s set of talks. Follow Alice Edy on Instagram

Food for Thought

A few of our favourite lines from today’s speakers. 

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