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Resumé af Maibritt Marjunardóttirs speciale

Speciale titel: Fucking Jävla Kuk-Kinship - a study in acceptance, of finding my way back home after having tried to escape for so long | Det Kongelige Akademi - Arkitektur, Design, Konservering

“There's only one good thing about a small town. There's only one good use for a small town. There's only one good thing about a small town. You know that you want to get out. When you're growing up in a small town. You know that you'll grow down in a small town. There's only one good use for a small town. You hate it - and you know you'll have to leave”

Not too long ago I rewatched Lukas Moodysson’s coming of age classic “Fucking Åmål” and seldom have I felt so represented in a movie as when Elin exclaims “Varför måste vi bo i fucking jävla kuk-Åmål?”2 In that one iconic sentence, my years as a bored and frustrated teenager stuck in a much too small and uneventful town, came flashing back before my eyes. As a child I never really gave much thought to the fact that I lived in such a small place, but as soon as I came closer to being a teenager it became more and more obvious that I was indeed living in fucking jävla kuk-Tórshavn, where nothing ever happened, where there were absolutely no cool people, where trends had already gone out of style before arriving, where people didn’t even bother or dare to make or wear anything other than boring knitted traditional-patterned-fisherman jumpers, and where I could just not wait to escape so that I could be a part of something bigger and, maybe more important, something cooler. 

Despite being Faroese, I have never seen myself as a “Faroese designer”, and I never held any desire to create traditional or “typical” Faroese knitwear.On the contrary I’ve spent most of my life trying to escape the fact that I am from the Faroe Islands and at the same time denying that my heritage and where I come from has any influence on who I am as a designer. However, I have now experienced how the last five years of my design education has pushed me to the realisation that it has in fact affected everything  that I am and do as a creating individual. 
This revelation left me with an internal division and a feeling of always being a bit off, both wanting to fit in and stand out at the same time, and the process of making my MA graduation collection “Fucking Jävla Kuk-Kinship”, therefore became a kind of self examination. A study in acceptance, of finding my way back home after having tried to escape for so long. It has become an investigation of how I can build bridges between tradition and modernity, and by doing so creating connections between the past, present and future.

Bridgimg the past, present and future

Reconnecting - an alternative sustainable approach.

During a lifetime our skin will have been more covered by textiles than it has been in its own natural state, yet, we have come to point in time, where we have managed to mechanically remove ourselves from the world we live in, and where textile materials seem to have lost close to all of the value that they once held. The world we live in today is spinning at an all time high tempo, it is spinning so fast that we can no longer  keep up, and modern people in the modern world are now longing for more sensitive and down to earth experiences. 

According to the design philosopher Tim Ingold we perceive not only with our eyes, our ears or the surface of our skin, but with our whole body, so his first and most obvious point is that a literally grounded approach to perception could help restore touch into its proper place in the balance of the senses — for it must surely be through our feet, in contact with the ground that we are most fundamentally and continually in touch with our surroundings (Ingold, 2004). So figuratively, and maybe even quite literally, Ingold would have us stripped of our shoes in order to walk barefoot like our early ancestors in order to detach us from the streamlined ways of life that we have been accustomed to, and reattached to where we come from. But is this call to a more shoeless way of life even possible in this day and age? Or are there maybe ways in which we can compromise, build bridges and maybe even merge a more connected and traditional point of view with the modern societies that we have created? And why should we even consider this? What could we possibly have to gain by moving backwards?

Sustaining tradition as a contemporary strategy

Throughout four semesters at the New Landscapes for Change MA programme at the Royal Danish Academy, I have consistently and continuously worked with a hands-on approach that is driven by a deeply rooted fascination, curiosity and love for materiality and tactility. In a world where we are wasting valuable materials in huge amounts on a daily basis, I believe that the importance of the connection between body and material is more crucial than ever, as this could help ignite the spark needed in order to dare to walk new and better paths together.
I am naturally drawn towards slow practises, repetitive movements, and submerging myself into meditative or almost ritualistic craft methods. With my MA graduation project I seek to go further down, and fully embrace this path that I have already laid out for myself. These acts of slowness allow me to be present, to feel and experience a profound connection to my heritage and the materials that I am working with, and with Ingold in mind I wonder, if it might be, that in order to get a better appreciation, understanding and emotional connection to the textiles we wear, we need to actually sense them, to make that bodily, haptic and sensory connection between our bodies and the materials we adorn it with. 

In terms of sustainable design thinking, I aim to design with the intent to evoke some kind of curiosity and find ways to embed some kind of storytelling in the designed object, that can contribute to a stronger attraction or connection between user and product. In order to solve the problems in the fashion industry today, one would need to take on and challenge embedded consumer tendencies as well as promote in-depth structural changes of the fashion system as we know it. I will use my project to look at a tiny fracture of this massive issue, carving a little hole in the world for myself as a designer.

Leading design scholar Donald Schön argues that a good design process functions as a conversation between designers and the reflection they can make from having a “conversation” with their samples. The process of experimenting with prototypes will, whether intentional or by chance, produce outcomes other than those intended. As designers we have the ability to shape our process in accordance with the insight we gain. Each sample is a local experiment which contributes to the global experiment of reframing the problem, and as we take a step back from our work and reflect upon the information that our samples tell us, we are able to see the consequences and implications of the steps we have taken, which then helps us to form new information to move forward with in our projects (Schon 1983, 94). 
Building on Schöns, as well as Buchenau & Suri’s texts on the significance of prototyping and iteration in the design process, I aim for this material conversation, interpretation and evaluation, to be the cornerstone for my project development (Buchenau & Suri 2000, 432).

Material research

For my MA thesis, my work has been driven by a need and desire to explore my storytelling as a designer. Originating from Adhi Nugraha’s claim that as long as some elements of traditions are maintained by continuously developing them, as long as some elements of tradition are continuously transformed in the creation and production of new objects, a part of our tradition will be kept alive and sustainable (Nugraha, 2012). I have sought to deconstruct my own predefined presumption of what my rich cultural tradition as a Faroese woman should look like and thus working towards presenting a new point of view and writing my own story as a continuous but new story on top of the ones told before mine.
“All cultures are creative and dynamic, but they are also unique, fragile, and irreplaceable. A culture neglected for a single generation can be lost forever. It is therefore crucial to create a safe environment in which all cultures can develop freely.”

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Senest opdateret 16. november 2022