© Fred Deakin
© Fred Deakin
© Fred Deakin
28 August 2015
by João Guarantani and Fred Deakin
For the second year running, ADF and British Council Argentina have teamed up with Trimarchi, a unique Graphic Design festival which takes place annually in Mar del Plata, Argentina. It's known as the 'Woodstock of Graphic Design' for its unusual blend of music and design, and draws audiences from all across Latin America.
ADF's own João Guarantani caught up with Fred Deakin to get a sense of his plans and expectations for the upcoming trip across the Atlantic.
Could you tell us if you’ve ever been to Argentina or collaborated with designers there?
No, unfortunately not. But I have strong links with the region as my mother lived in Chile for around 10 years and my sister still lives there. I know they're very different places but there is a creative flow between the two.
I hear that Argentina is particularly European compared to other South American countries, so I'm imagining what that looks like and I'm looking forward to seeing it.
As an important regional platform celebrating Graphic Design attracting audiences from across Latin America and beyond, what are you looking forward to regarding your presence at Trimarchi?
We live in a truly global village now and, from what I can tell, Trimarchi is a truly global conference, embracing a design community that is emerging internationally and I'm excited about seeing it first hand.
I'm also looking forward to experiencing the strong musical element to the festval. I've been told by Lawrence Zeegen, Dean of the School of Design at London College of Communication who went last year, that it’s as much a music as a design festival. This sounds really unique and I don't think anyone else is doing it. I have a strong background in both design and music, so it sounds like an amazing event.
Can you tell me about what you'll be doing as part of the fesitval?
I'm doing three different things: I'm running a workshop, giving a keynote presentation and DJing.
Running workshps is always a good way to get an insight into national differences, to flavour what's different about a place. I've been running these 2-week workshops with designers and creative individual teaching them to work in a more professional set-up, basically starting new design studios from scratch. It's a hands-on experience of collaborating and presenting your work in a commercial context, up to the point when you're pitching it to investors. As Professor at University of the Arts London, I'll be cherry picking some of the teaching experiences and cramming these into the workshop. I'll need to squeeze 2-weeks' worth of work into 3 hours!
And what about your presentation?
I'll be talking about my design background, my career path, and what I think about the state of contemporary digital design, how things are changing so fast. I'll use my career as a case study.
We're really experiencing the best of times on the one hand: new access to platforms and technology, opportunities emerging all the time; and also the worst of times: the democratisation of design is creating a rough context for designers, and it's still a tough economcial climate out there. It's easy to begin life as a designer now, but it's hard to sustain it. I see my job as helping kids who want a similar career to mine.
I'm excited about the potential of digital and the use of online platforms. While I'm in Argentina, I would like to explore different partnerships to teach remotely and to have a dialogue with Argentinian students.
The bit I'm really looking forward to is the DJing as well. Everyone knows of the South American party spirit, and as the guys at Trimarchi ask me to do it, I thought it would be a good way to bond with the crowd.
Fred Deakin makes music, creates art and design, teaches, writes and performs. He currently runs the collaborative organisation Fred & Company which specialises in interactive art and educational projects. He is also Professor of Interactive Digital Arts at the University of the Arts London.