MA Industrial Design student Marta Monge has been working towards her Degree Show for the past year. She has focused on a topic that seems to be in constant debate: immigration. Marta has developed a series of toolkits for travelling across sea and land. They also include advice on how to avoid detection at border control. Watch out for updates when we talk to Marta again nearer to the start of the show.
How has your work developed since we last spoke?
Marta: I was getting things prepared, but since then I’ve spent my time finalising everything. I’ve been looking at the details and refining everything I’ve been talking about for the past year! You have to keep working until the last day; it’s your chance to show your work so it’s worth exploring it all properly.
I’ve become a lot more aware of all the decisions I have made throughout this project, I feel more ready to communicate them in a convincing, finalised way. It was really hard to put all my ideas into a concise format to exhibit at the show.
I ended up making a video; I think that it is a really good way of telling a story in order to allow people to understand what they are looking at. It was hard but it was also an effective way to understand myself too. It was a good self-exploratory process; it made me decide what was important about my project.
With the deadlines over, how are you feeling about the show?
Marta: My project has to speak for itself a bit. The only things that I am going to show are the objects, the video I’ve created, evidence tags and a series of police reports. I want these to act as a storyboard for my project and I hope that people will spot something, become interested in the object or file and progressively become more and more intrigued. I just really hope that my project sparks a debate and encourages people to continue the conversation that I am proposing.
Have you enjoyed working on this project?
Marta: Yes, absolutely! It has been very challenging and I found out a lot of things about myself and how I work. I think I have changed a bit since I started, I am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I think it has also made me a bit more aware of what I want to do next!
Do you have any recommendations for people coming to Show Two?
Marta: There is so much to see from technology to more crafty objects. I think it is nice that you can go from mixing up technology and religion to looking at how technology can interact with people living outside of their own countries and how people can use technology to feel more at home. There are a lot of really different approaches that I believe make the exhibition alive.
Tell us about your project and what inspired your brief.
Marta: I knew that I wanted to work on something that would be socially engaging. Over the summer I noticed the Lampedusa migrant issue in the news. I was interested in people’s reactions, how the problem was being managed and the migrant’s journey.
I looked at the way migrants would do things like cross the Channel or the Sahara with basically no instruments. I wanted to design something that I thought summarised the biggest issue within this larger problem. I felt that this was to demonstrate how migrants actually overcome all the hazards and dangers in order to arrive in Europe.
I’ve been working on creating a toolkit that they could use to get across the sea, the desert and through border control using materials that are accessible and local to them. I have tried to create an object for each route, which will hopefully tackle the biggest issue they may have to face. For example, I focused on the techniques of crossing the boarder without documentation at popular ports such as Calais.
What research did you do?
Marta: I did an endless amount of research. I looked into different agencies that are trying to tackle these issues. I also did a lot of digging on YouTube. Just typing in something like ‘Calais immigration’ brings up shocking videos of migrants running to get into a truck as it boards a ferry. I read a lot of articles with regular people who witnessed things like people getting out of the underside of a trailer they had been using. I also did lots of research into the police reports that come out of such instances. There is also a lot of challenging your idea, what you want your outcome to be and what your argument really is. There is also a huge process of trial and error.
What have been the main challenges during this project?
Marta: I think trying to narrow down my thoughts was probably the most difficult challenge I faced. I am manufacturing products that will be used by people who have only basic tools. I tried to put really cheap materials together in a way that was charming and effective. I think that was the second biggest struggle.
How are you currently preparing for the show?
Marta: At the minute I am building everything! I have been doing mock-ups for a long time to ensure that any issues I may have had are resolved in every way. You have to find the exact shape and product that will communicate your message and this takes a lot of time. Right now I am also working on the communication part, my technical package. I keep bearing in mind the broader scale of communication within this project too. The setting up of the degree show itself will be a real challenge.
What is the general feeling within your programme towards the Degree Show right now?
Marta: Right now we are so focused on our own deadlines; they are really the main concern. But once that part is finished, we are probably going to start obsessing together about how the show will look and how we are going to communicate our work together within the exhibition.
How does the Degree Show differ from others you’ve worked on?
Marta: This is the first really big exhibition where it is really my own project, for me that’s a big thing. You have one shot and you want to make it really look good. You never know who might come, but you know that so many different people from different backgrounds will be here. Maybe, they might feel inspired by something you are displaying. I want to spark arguments and get people thinking.