Contexts & Situatedness
How can the ideas and social imaginations of water, as a central component of human culture, be situated to explore new or marginalized perspectives, practices, communities, worlds, and possible futures? Which approaches, practices, tools, or platforms provide the most potential to explore, engage, represent, project, challenge, contest or disrupt ideas of identity and community in relation to water – the majority stakeholder of every human body?
Branding is traditionally understood in the context of logos, commodities, visual identities, advertising and/or marketing. As consumers we recognize such materials as explicit 'front facing' brand representations, however, in the contemporary world, branding is a complex eco-social network of meaning that penetrates countless aspects of life. What in previous times was a logo and direct campaign is now a collection of colors, textures, smells, images, experiences, and emotions. What was formerly buying into a singular fixed projection of self, is now an ecosystem of tools, platforms and practices to project, express, represent, challenge, oppose or disrupt ideas of identity and community.
This programme will question branding practices that result in an army of branded water bottles, floating keychains, USB sticks & sustainable totes; and move beyond single-use t-shirts, fanny packs, trucker hats & gift shop posters. As the utilization of data has become more commonplace, the novelty of personalized, (micro) targeted communication has worn off to some degree. The overwhelming static of clickbait, user-tracked, micro-targeted, virtually-assisted experiences, results in an ever-present landscape of highly personalized, yet tragically shallow interactions.
Emerging trends exemplify the growing need to reimagine brand experiences, relationships, and interactions, in part, through physical spaces. By materializing new ways to engage various 'stakeholders' students in this programme will be challenged to create the literal 'tools' that are required to build new worlds. As designers/producers, we rely on the development of brand presence and messaging across different scales and levels of focus from a systematic perspective, but the large challenge is to translate this into brand experiences that seem natural. This can be expressed through extraordinary and explicit brand experiences, but often is most meaningful as everyday interactions that just 'happen to be around' in a moment of engagement or need.