Arts Thread

ARTSTHREAD

In advance of the deadline for Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci, we interview Vrinda Mathur, a 2022 graduating student from Rhode Island School of Design, Master of Industrial Design.

Our Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci is open internationally to all art and design undergraduate or postgraduate students graduating in the Academic Year 2021-22 and the deadline to apply is August 31 2022.

See Vrinda’s ARTSTHREAD Portfolio



ARTSTHREAD:Where are you from?

Vrinda Mathur : I'm originally from New Delhi, India. I recently graduated from the Master of Industrial Design program at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, United States, where I've been living.

ARTSTHREAD: What is the name, theme, concept and final outcome of your graduate project/thesis?

Vrinda Mathur : In my thesis project titled A Fleeting Landscape: Resurrecting the edges of the estuary, my aim was to make visible the often forgotten ties that connect the residents of Providence, Rhode Island to the wetlands that surround us. This project invites the city dweller to experience a mixed media microcosm of the marshes and experience what has been obscured through the encroachment of urban development. With the help of a strong storyline backed with historical and scientific research, I designed and presented a diorama of the cityscape with visual elements including the design of a public bench, photographs, film and visceral elements of audio, textures and scents of the landscape in question.

It is an invitation to look closely, find the connecting dots to the marshes, take a pause, and ground oneself in the environment that surrounds them. A heightened sense of knowing. A new superpower. You are able to spot the salt marsh meadows with their scientific name, Spartina patens growing from the crevices of the pavement. Patches of tall, golden grasses appear as you are headed closer to the shore; A signifier of disturbed lands, growing in marsh-like ponds. Your eyes and minds become tools for recognition, your voice - an activation. You are a marshian.

ARTSTHREAD:Can you describe your concept and creative process?

Vrinda Mathur : The experience is built through a combination of ephemera set to teleport the viewer to an alternate landscape in the salt marshes of Rhode Island. Using objects of familiarity from the streets, the proposed design hacks public benches into a physical embodiment of historical and scientific research. The concrete tiles are symbolic of extractivist interactions (infrastructure development, unsustainable land use, increased agriculture, and aquaculture) layered atop the stratigraphic representation of a salt marsh. When immersed in this geo-psycho installation, the viewer reunites with nature, with a landscape lesser known.

My process includes a mix of research and development methods including primary research, readings, documentation through photos, videos, drawings and texture recordings. Some of my interviews with subject matter experts have been very enlightening towards the project and have helped in shaping a genuine narrative. Engaging an audience early on in the process has always been my priority and in this work specifically, my aim was to first draw them into knowing about a lost, forgotten, unrecognized landscape. It was a process of empathy through experience design, material exploration and the final creation of an orienting device through my installation.

Vrinda's final thesis is a visual exploration of Rhode Islands salt marshes.



ARTSTHREAD: Can you explain the thinking behind the key concepts and outcomes of your project?

Vrinda Mathur : When I began my research process nine months ago, I became a research vessel myself. Exploring the landscape of wetlands in and around Rhode Island. Every visit to a marsh site unveiled refreshing details, ones that I couldn’t always find in books and articles. I would spend hours clocking inundation patterns, finding Ribbed mussel habitats living beneath the soil, understanding the many plant species that built this ecosystem. This primary research was supported by many subject matter experts who provided their valuable time answering questions about ecology, hydrologic patterns, invasive plant species and most importantly how our habits as post-Industrial humans are negatively impacting the ecosystem and the myriad services it provides to mankind. All of this qualitative information had to be communicated to the audience in a way that was non didactic, easy to grasp and engage with towards a community powered response to the recognition of lesser known wetland ecosystems. By embedding ecological curiosity through objects in the public space, the project becomes a physical manifestation of scientific and historical data in the form of public infrastructure (in this case, seating/ bench design).

Through the design process, I designed different experiments to engage the user with the wetlands. It wasn’t just about learning what the ecosystem did for us, but to understand how we are closely related to it. It is a fragile landscape, one that we can neither enter nor shirk away from. My aim was to build a microcosm of the marsh and bring it to the people, making visible the often forgotten ties that connect us. Anthropogenic stressors such as unsustainable land use, filling of wetlands for infrastructure development, agriculture, paving for residential use etc. have continued to degrade the marshes and swamps. In the last fifty years, 35% of the world’s wetlands have been lost. In New England, 37% of the wetlands have been reduces and in Rhode Island itself, a staggering 53% of marshes have been lost since 1832.

This project gives the audience an opportunity to learn about the marshes and engage in local restoration activities.

ARTSTHREAD: Are you 100% back on campus or are you still working all/partly from home? Please describe
your environment?


Vrinda Mathur : I was fortunate enough to be on campus a 100% during my thesis year I.e. 2021-2022

Vrinda Mathur Vrinda designed multiple elements of the project to engage viewers in different ways; including an installation replicating marshlands.



ARTSTHREAD: Has being back on campus given you a new perspective on the university/your class colleagues/
tutors?


Vrinda Mathur : Absolutely, the way my cohort and professors united with empathy during the most challenging times of the Pandemic was comforting. It came with its own set of pros and cons but I think we made it work in our favor. Nothing compares to the community driven approach of working in studios and shops collaboratively and it was evident when we all came back stronger, safer and ready for thesis research!

ARTSTHREAD: Has the need for online learning changed your outcomes?

Vrinda Mathur : In terms of access to information, I have expanded my project outcomes towards both digital and physical visibility.

ARTSTHREAD: Did you need to innovate when you had to work by yourself at home?

Vrinda Mathur : Of course! I have always been interested in reinventing my design practice using tools that are more readily available than seeking expensive alternatives. This is palpable in a myriad projects where I have tried techniques of diegetic prototyping and creating three dimensional works using found objects. Albeit, challenging, I was able to think outside the grid and involve collaborators and stakeholders through other means (Thanks to my friend, technology)

ARTSTHREAD: What's one thing that has helped you get through the last 2 years? What are the most positive learning outcomes from this process?

Vrinda Mathur : I would attribute this primarily to two things; First, the support and encouragement from my friends, family, professors and even subject matter experts who have been generous with their time and that extra step to get on a Zoom call or respond to multiple calendar
invites and emails. This communication has been key. And, second, the joy my work brings me. I was inspired more than ever to continue doing good work, explore deeper research themes and completely pivot my course.

ARTSTHREAD: How do you think design can help improve the world?

Vrinda Mathur : Design as a discipline is often veiled under the pretext of making things ‘look good’ and I have always argued this lay opinion. Everyone from the fortune 500’s to city governments have turned to design thinking as a methodology for solving wicked problems that our world is facing today. From objects such as a safety pin designed by Walter Hunt in the mid 1800’s to the design of airplanes and skyscrapers, it has all branched out from this one common denominator. It gives us the ability to think, research, share, find opportunities and create a response in an ever evolving process with epiphanies and failures on the way. Design has the power to cater to each and every realm including health, technology, climate change and food insecurity which are some of the greater challenges of our times. Bringing design into the education system at an early age will also open avenues for students to choose and look towards a creative practice, thereby increasing the recognition and respect for design and other creative fields.

ARTSTHREAD: What are your hopes for the future?

Vrinda Mathur : In the next few years, I see myself working across different subjects through the medium of art and design, becoming an agent of change for the discipline and its ability to respond to the ever evolving needs of humans and the environment alike. I have been an advocate for climate change adaptation and awareness and will continue to create with empathy, precision, collaboration, and leave an imprint however big or small in the lives of the people I engage with through my practice.

ARTSTHREAD: Thank you Vrinda - we wish you all the very best!

See Vrinda’s ARTSTHREAD Portfolio

Images in slider: Vrinda and her work

Our Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci is open internationally to all art and design undergraduate or postgraduate students graduating in the Academic Year 2021-22 and the deadline to apply is August 31 2022.

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ARTSTHREAD

In advance of the deadline for Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci, we interview Vrinda Mathur, a 2022 graduating student from Rhode Island School of Design, Master of Industrial Design.

Our Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci is open internationally to all art and design undergraduate or postgraduate students graduating in the Academic Year 2021-22 and the deadline to apply is August 31 2022.

See Vrinda’s ARTSTHREAD Portfolio



ARTSTHREAD:Where are you from?

Vrinda Mathur : I'm originally from New Delhi, India. I recently graduated from the Master of Industrial Design program at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, United States, where I've been living.

ARTSTHREAD: What is the name, theme, concept and final outcome of your graduate project/thesis?

Vrinda Mathur : In my thesis project titled A Fleeting Landscape: Resurrecting the edges of the estuary, my aim was to make visible the often forgotten ties that connect the residents of Providence, Rhode Island to the wetlands that surround us. This project invites the city dweller to experience a mixed media microcosm of the marshes and experience what has been obscured through the encroachment of urban development. With the help of a strong storyline backed with historical and scientific research, I designed and presented a diorama of the cityscape with visual elements including the design of a public bench, photographs, film and visceral elements of audio, textures and scents of the landscape in question.

It is an invitation to look closely, find the connecting dots to the marshes, take a pause, and ground oneself in the environment that surrounds them. A heightened sense of knowing. A new superpower. You are able to spot the salt marsh meadows with their scientific name, Spartina patens growing from the crevices of the pavement. Patches of tall, golden grasses appear as you are headed closer to the shore; A signifier of disturbed lands, growing in marsh-like ponds. Your eyes and minds become tools for recognition, your voice - an activation. You are a marshian.

ARTSTHREAD:Can you describe your concept and creative process?

Vrinda Mathur : The experience is built through a combination of ephemera set to teleport the viewer to an alternate landscape in the salt marshes of Rhode Island. Using objects of familiarity from the streets, the proposed design hacks public benches into a physical embodiment of historical and scientific research. The concrete tiles are symbolic of extractivist interactions (infrastructure development, unsustainable land use, increased agriculture, and aquaculture) layered atop the stratigraphic representation of a salt marsh. When immersed in this geo-psycho installation, the viewer reunites with nature, with a landscape lesser known.

My process includes a mix of research and development methods including primary research, readings, documentation through photos, videos, drawings and texture recordings. Some of my interviews with subject matter experts have been very enlightening towards the project and have helped in shaping a genuine narrative. Engaging an audience early on in the process has always been my priority and in this work specifically, my aim was to first draw them into knowing about a lost, forgotten, unrecognized landscape. It was a process of empathy through experience design, material exploration and the final creation of an orienting device through my installation.

Vrinda's final thesis is a visual exploration of Rhode Islands salt marshes.



ARTSTHREAD: Can you explain the thinking behind the key concepts and outcomes of your project?

Vrinda Mathur : When I began my research process nine months ago, I became a research vessel myself. Exploring the landscape of wetlands in and around Rhode Island. Every visit to a marsh site unveiled refreshing details, ones that I couldn’t always find in books and articles. I would spend hours clocking inundation patterns, finding Ribbed mussel habitats living beneath the soil, understanding the many plant species that built this ecosystem. This primary research was supported by many subject matter experts who provided their valuable time answering questions about ecology, hydrologic patterns, invasive plant species and most importantly how our habits as post-Industrial humans are negatively impacting the ecosystem and the myriad services it provides to mankind. All of this qualitative information had to be communicated to the audience in a way that was non didactic, easy to grasp and engage with towards a community powered response to the recognition of lesser known wetland ecosystems. By embedding ecological curiosity through objects in the public space, the project becomes a physical manifestation of scientific and historical data in the form of public infrastructure (in this case, seating/ bench design).

Through the design process, I designed different experiments to engage the user with the wetlands. It wasn’t just about learning what the ecosystem did for us, but to understand how we are closely related to it. It is a fragile landscape, one that we can neither enter nor shirk away from. My aim was to build a microcosm of the marsh and bring it to the people, making visible the often forgotten ties that connect us. Anthropogenic stressors such as unsustainable land use, filling of wetlands for infrastructure development, agriculture, paving for residential use etc. have continued to degrade the marshes and swamps. In the last fifty years, 35% of the world’s wetlands have been lost. In New England, 37% of the wetlands have been reduces and in Rhode Island itself, a staggering 53% of marshes have been lost since 1832.

This project gives the audience an opportunity to learn about the marshes and engage in local restoration activities.

ARTSTHREAD: Are you 100% back on campus or are you still working all/partly from home? Please describe
your environment?


Vrinda Mathur : I was fortunate enough to be on campus a 100% during my thesis year I.e. 2021-2022

Vrinda Mathur Vrinda designed multiple elements of the project to engage viewers in different ways; including an installation replicating marshlands.



ARTSTHREAD: Has being back on campus given you a new perspective on the university/your class colleagues/
tutors?


Vrinda Mathur : Absolutely, the way my cohort and professors united with empathy during the most challenging times of the Pandemic was comforting. It came with its own set of pros and cons but I think we made it work in our favor. Nothing compares to the community driven approach of working in studios and shops collaboratively and it was evident when we all came back stronger, safer and ready for thesis research!

ARTSTHREAD: Has the need for online learning changed your outcomes?

Vrinda Mathur : In terms of access to information, I have expanded my project outcomes towards both digital and physical visibility.

ARTSTHREAD: Did you need to innovate when you had to work by yourself at home?

Vrinda Mathur : Of course! I have always been interested in reinventing my design practice using tools that are more readily available than seeking expensive alternatives. This is palpable in a myriad projects where I have tried techniques of diegetic prototyping and creating three dimensional works using found objects. Albeit, challenging, I was able to think outside the grid and involve collaborators and stakeholders through other means (Thanks to my friend, technology)

ARTSTHREAD: What's one thing that has helped you get through the last 2 years? What are the most positive learning outcomes from this process?

Vrinda Mathur : I would attribute this primarily to two things; First, the support and encouragement from my friends, family, professors and even subject matter experts who have been generous with their time and that extra step to get on a Zoom call or respond to multiple calendar
invites and emails. This communication has been key. And, second, the joy my work brings me. I was inspired more than ever to continue doing good work, explore deeper research themes and completely pivot my course.

ARTSTHREAD: How do you think design can help improve the world?

Vrinda Mathur : Design as a discipline is often veiled under the pretext of making things ‘look good’ and I have always argued this lay opinion. Everyone from the fortune 500’s to city governments have turned to design thinking as a methodology for solving wicked problems that our world is facing today. From objects such as a safety pin designed by Walter Hunt in the mid 1800’s to the design of airplanes and skyscrapers, it has all branched out from this one common denominator. It gives us the ability to think, research, share, find opportunities and create a response in an ever evolving process with epiphanies and failures on the way. Design has the power to cater to each and every realm including health, technology, climate change and food insecurity which are some of the greater challenges of our times. Bringing design into the education system at an early age will also open avenues for students to choose and look towards a creative practice, thereby increasing the recognition and respect for design and other creative fields.

ARTSTHREAD: What are your hopes for the future?

Vrinda Mathur : In the next few years, I see myself working across different subjects through the medium of art and design, becoming an agent of change for the discipline and its ability to respond to the ever evolving needs of humans and the environment alike. I have been an advocate for climate change adaptation and awareness and will continue to create with empathy, precision, collaboration, and leave an imprint however big or small in the lives of the people I engage with through my practice.

ARTSTHREAD: Thank you Vrinda - we wish you all the very best!

See Vrinda’s ARTSTHREAD Portfolio

Images in slider: Vrinda and her work

Our Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci is open internationally to all art and design undergraduate or postgraduate students graduating in the Academic Year 2021-22 and the deadline to apply is August 31 2022.

ARTS THREAD Newsletter

Of
Interest

Ella Walfridsson - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci

Ella Walfridsson - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci

July 14th, 2022
Written by Honor Rose Cooper Hedges
Graphic Design, Typography, GDGS Student Q&As
Records Fashion School Uganda students honour late classmate with collection

Records Fashion School Uganda students honour late classmate with collection

July 6th, 2022
Written by Calum Ross
Fashion Design
Vrinda Mathur - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci

Vrinda Mathur - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci

August 24th, 2022
Written by Honor Rose Cooper Hedges
Industrial Design, Storytelling, GDGS Student Q&As