‘How can the notion of the ‘script’ be used in a situated design practice? ’
Ollie Palmer is a researcher within the Situated Art and Design research group. He is also the Pathway Leader of the Situated Design master’s programme at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures.
Ollie Palmer is an artist, designer, and educator whose work focuses on control systems and the absurd. His work encompasses filmmaking, installation, programming, composition and performance. He has exhibited at venues including the V&A Museum, Royal Institute of British Architects, Palais de Tokyo, Seoul Museum of Art, and Paris Opera Garnier. He holds a PhD from Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, titled ‘Scripted performances: designing performative architectures through digital and absurd machines’, which examines methodologies of working through scripted design processes and the role of the philosophical absurd as a critical tool within design.
Within the Masters Institute of Visual Cultures, Ollie is Pathway Leader on the Situated Design masters. He also teaches two elective modules, which are open for students from Situated Design, Ecology Futures, and Visual Arts and Post-Contemporary Practice, but the course materials are open for anyone to access and use. The first is entitled Scripted Design, and is a direct manifestation of his PhD research and research within Caradt, teaching Oulipo-inspired constrained design processes. Students perform their work in public, and the module results in a student-curated public exhibition. The second course is entitled Parallel Worlds, and encourages students to engage with the process of world-building (as seen in corporations, film studios, theatre, and more) in order to enhance and augment their existing practice. Both of these courses are taught via structured podcasts and dedicated websites which enable anyone with an internet connection to participate.
From 2011–2014 Ollie taught master’s students in the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, supervising projects as diverse as a machine for creating a giant floating cloud of cotton candy, inflatable ‘soft’ robotics, digital sycamore seeds, and series of slime-mould-inspired robotic frames which roam London’s parks. Teaching interests include advanced fabrication and prototyping techniques, passive dynamic robotics, programming and physical computing, as well as filmmaking and graphic design. In 2017, he authored and taught a design ethics seminar series at the School of the Art Institute Chicago.
From 2018–19 he taught on three courses in TU Delft’s Architecture department. One had its roots firmly in futures design, asking students to envision design scenarios and architecture for the post-oil port cities of Dunkirk, Naples, and Rotterdam. Another course explored the relationship between text and image in architecture, combining technical and creative writing, and drawing skills. The third course was about pure creativity, encouraging freedom of process, thought, and medium, in an otherwise largely technical professional degree. This is something Ollie finds particularly important, as he strongly believes that creativity is achieved by acknowledging and exposing one’s own vulnerability. By emphasising the importance of this humility to students – encouraging them to acknowledge that they are the product of social and environmental forces – ultimately produces more reflexive design with greater emphasis on social responsibility.
This research project aims at answers to the question how the notion of the ‘script’ (as invoked in computation, psychology, and performance) can be used in a situated design practice.
Research Group: Situated Art and Design
Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.Read more
‘People are the product of their relationships with their environment. It’s important to understand how technological developments influence these relationships.’
‘Almost everything I design is based on giving form to the invisible.’
‘Through an interplay of design and research, the apt questions and necessary tools can be discovered and applied to each research project.’
‘The essence of the situated, cinematic experience of dance lies in the mental interaction where the public becomes co-author.’
‘I’m interested in how we can implement situated learning within design education.’
‘Attention during interaction is personal, not a given fact.’
‘I’m looking for methods that take people as a starting point.’
‘Getting comfortable with ambiguity enables designers to absorb feedback and use it to make better design choices.’
‘I look at the ways in which citizens can play an active role in shaping their cities, and how new media and technology can contribute to this.’
‘For me, the iterative design-research process is an exciting journey towards designs that can transform human consciousness.’
‘Power, control and chance play an important role in every creative process. I explore this complicated correlation.’