For the past decade, Connections has been the first project for students on MA Industrial Design. Each student creates a dynamic, mechanical object that reflects their own personality, which then link together to form a single seamless kinetic sculpture exploring identity and collaboration.
Students are asked to create a kinetic sculpture that represents them as an individual and also as a group, they are given a number representing their order in the chain, and the students then unite their devices, setting into motion a chain reaction from first to last machine. This year’s iteration was brought together on 20 October at the newly opened Heath Robinson Museum, dedicated to the illustrator loved for his whimsical ad hoc machines.
The brief for the project introduces the design process in terms of connections: “Connections between disciplines such as design and architecture, music and performance, philosophy and physics; connections between objects; connections between departments in an institution and business; connections between people and machines; connections between markets and consumers, individuals and environments, subjects and objects.”
While Connections offers disciplinary interpretations, it is also a metaphor for difference and unity within the year group. The majority of students are bilingual, or have English as a second language, so though they make individual pieces the final machine is brought into being through a vital process of collaboration and conversation.
The joy of watching this machine run is what happens as you connect from machine to machine, its not necessarily about what happens within each machine. The joy comes from the transition from one person to the next and those connecting points.”
Jeffrey Doruff, MA Industrial Design student
At the Heath Robinson Museum, with an audience gathering – including a bundle of school children – the moment of truth comes when the machine is set in motion…