Thursday, 27 November 2014


Today I partook in a two day workshop with 'The Design Republic' founder Ian Anderson. Pervious to the workshop Anderson sent out a preliminary brief which had to be completed to attend the session, a link to this initial task is featured here

The workshop started with a talk from Anderson in which he introduced the specifics of the brief and what he expects to see from our responses. Due to the confusing nature of the task Anderson also gave examples of ideas previously executed by other students who had completed the workshop.   

Notes from the introductory talk are featured below;

  • Do something pointless for an hour - Document it & present it. 
  • Response should display clear and concise thinking.
  • Doesn't need to be the best design - idea focused.

  • In the presentation show how pointless the task was, tell a story. 
  • 5 minutes presenting time.
  • Idea should be easily communicated.
  • Does the documentation convey the idea in an engaging way?

  • One student cut grass with scissors.
  • Documented with stop motion.
  • Physical documentation was booklet.
  • Another student pressed their return key repeatedly for the hour.
  • Documented with statistics showing distance covered.


After Ian's talk I immediately progressed with the task by creating a spider diagram exploring possible tasks I could do for an hour. 

My favourite ideas are listed below;
  • Tie strands of my own hair together to make a long continuous strand of hair - Pointless exercise as the length of hair would have no function or reason to exist.
  • Roll fags continuously for one hour - Pointless exercise because I don't smoke.
  • Light matches for one hour - Pointless as if the match does not light or illuminate something it is not fulfilling its primary function. 
  • Draw boxes on a large piece of paper for an hour -  Pointless as the outcome has no purpose or function. 


After defining a selection of ideas that I wanted to develop I progressed with the brief by thinking through how I could document my favourite ideas. During the initial talk Anderson discussed how defining the method used to document the pointless exercise is an important part of the task. Therefore, when thinking of ideas I tried to think of documentation methods that had relevance to the chosen idea. 

  • HAIR - Length of hair generated could be scanned in or photographed - A problem was identifies here, as it is probable that the hair might not show up well during this process.
  • HAIR - For the physical documentation I considered making a concertina book which would display the whole length of the hair strand produced in the hour. 
  • MATCHES - Time-lapse recording the ignition and burning of each match - Relevant technique as it will compress the process down into a useable video.
  • MATCHES - For the physical documentation I considered making a poster displaying all of the matches burned, this will help to visually communicate the total amount burned.
  • CIGARETTES - Document rolling process with stop motion film - Relevant technique as it will compress the process down into a useable video.
  • CIGARETTES - For the physical documentation an infographic could be made showing the process of rolling and the total amount produced. Additionally, I also considered making a hand made booklet with images of the cigarettes produced. 


I chose the burning matches concept over other my pointless ideas mainly because I think the process of burning the matches is more interesting and, if recorded properly will be more visually engaging for the audience than other proposed ideas. As Ian outlined, a key aspect of the workshop is to engage your audience with your ideas and communicate the process like a story. Upon evaluating each of the initial ideas this one stood out to me as the one that is most likely to achieve the level of audience engagement desired. 

Subsequent reasons for choosing the idea relate to the fact that the ideas is easy to execute, all that is needed is a supply of matches and an area to burn them in. Additionally, I also perceived the idea to be completely pointless as the matchsticks are not fulfilling any of their functions and I am not gaining anything form burning them. Therefore, the concept clearly answers the brief of 'Doing Something Pointless'.  


After choosing my idea I decided to quickly progress with completing and documenting the hours task. Decisions were made throughout the day to quickly progress with the brief as Anderson mentioned that time management was a crucial part of the workshop. 

As I decided to burn matches I could not complete the task at university because of the various health and safety problems that would have occurred. Therefore, I bought four boxes of matches from Tesco's and went home to complete the hour of burning.  

I used my phone to document the process which also handily converted the images into the time lapse which can be viewed below.

Overall, I feel that the documentation process was successful as it shows the process of burning matches in an interesting and visually engaging way, this is important part of the brief as when I present my response to the group the video can be used to help communicate the process.   


After I had completed the hours task and documented the process of doing so I progressed with the brief by creating the presentation. As Ian outlined in his preliminary workshop briefing the presentation forms a definitive aspect of the overall task as it will help to communicate your idea, why you chose to do it and if it was truly pointless. 

I want my presentation to engage the viewers and tell the story of the process that was undertaken to complete the task. Therefore, before creating the presentation 

  • Total amount of matches. 
  • Total amount of matches burned during hour.
  • Average burn time of match.
  • Injuries that occurred - if any.
  • Length of matches burned.
  • Relevance of this length to the world.
  • Smallest amount of match left after burning.  

Once I had found the information for each of the statistics I progressed with the production of my presentation and the creation of the illustrations that will be featured in it to visually support the points covered. 

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