11 June 2010

Prototyping and art

Speaker: Simon Starling, Conceptual Artist: Five Thousand Years (Some Notes, Some Works)

Being at a craft symposium, it’s refreshing to hear from an artist and their take on prototyping. Simon Starling is a conceptual artist and was the winner of the 2005 Turner Prize. He talked about his fascination with transforming objects into new through using existing objects, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys that he’s been undertaking for over a decade.

One of the most interesting points he raised was about time, how that in prototyping, although it takes a long time, once a prototype has been made, it’s all about speed, getting it out there before someone else does - while he is the opposite, and likes to slow things down.

An example he gave was needing balsa wood for a project, rather than going to a hardware shop he decided to go to Equador to get his materials. A waste of time ornecessary because it stays true to what he believes in? In art does one have more time to indulge in things like that because in industry this would never be possible would it?

While he talked us through some of his past projects, the one that stood out for me the most was a concept he about different people creating a cupboard, but making the same cupboard using instructions that were emailed to them. It touches on prototyping in a different way – the fact that several different people can try and make one prototype but end up with something slight different and I really like that. It’s just like following a recipe but unlike a recipe, a prototype shouldn’t have the same creative license to make changes otherwise it will lose it’s intention and I guess that’s one of the many things that makes prototyping so unique (and as the symposium is showing there are hundreds of things about prototyping that most people have never thought of before!


  1. Pleased to hear the Symposium is still as challenging and as interesting as it was yesterday.

  2. sounds really interesting, wish i could have made it along. luckily i have your lovely blog to keep me informed! thanks!