Interview with myself

As part of my Pilot-Project at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, during which we are supposed “to re-consider and re-write our MA project proposal, to develop visual material to describe our project and carry out a number of small design exercises that help to define our project”, I started to interview myself in order to find out what I really want and why I’m here. This is quite an interesting experience… I started the interview with the beginning: why I decided to study in Oslo (because this is a question that many people ask me). The next parts of the interview will hopefully follow soon!

Hello Tabea. Thanks for sharing your time for this interview.
It’s my pleasure.
You just started with your Master degree in Design at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts this september. Can you tell me, why you’ve chosen to study at this school? I guess, it’s not the “place to be” for Design students…
Well, there are several reasons. I’ve first heard about the Oslo National Academy of the Arts about 2 years ago. Two friends of mine (Fabio Franz and Bianca Elzenbaumer) applied there for the same MA. We have a quite similar approach and interest towards design and when I decided to undertake a MA myself, I looked and read through the website of the school and found it to be  interesting. I was looking for a Master program which is concerned with social and environmental issues (and not only with design for making things more beautiful or “creative”). After having worked in advertising, I was unhappy with my profession as a designer and wanted to use my MA studies to research alternatives for working as a designer but also for living as a human. It seemed to me that the Oslo Academy of the Arts offers the right setting since they have a focus on Social Responsive Design and encourage students to think and work in a social and/or environmental context. The MA program also has a nice mix of working both theoretically and practical. And I know from my BA studies which I undertook in Bolzano (a small town in northern Italy) that small and not popular universities can still offer a very good education. I don’t want to do anything because it sounds good in my CV or because the majority of people say I have to do it. But I want to make decisions because I feel and judge by myself that it’s right for me. I think that everyone has a different recipe for life. And a small voice inside my stomach told me that Oslo is the right place for the moment… And to be honest: there have been also some practical factors why I’ve chosen to come here: the study fees are low, the city is close to nature and I have the possibility to learn a new language and get to know a foreign culture…
And after having studied for 3 month now: what do you think? Are you happy with your decision?
Yes, definitely. I already learned a lot which makes me quite happy. Of course, I also had some struggles and still have to get used to a different approach in teaching compared to what I’m used to. I’m used to get evaluation and marks on my work and that people tell me if I’m producing bullshit or give me ideas what I could do instead. During the last months, I felt that I have to learn to evaluate my work by myself which is not easy and all the motivation and effort has to come from myself, too. But it’s great like this – it helps me for my personal and professional growth. To do things because I decided that it’s interesting and worth, is much more satisfying than to work with ideas from others. And not only is it more satisfying but it also helps me to question and understand myself…
So what do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts?
Good question. I think, it’s what I just mentioned: I’m learning to think by myself and to develop my own criteria of judgement (or at least I become more aware and self-assure about this). At the same time, I’m not afraid to just try things out. Before I went to the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, I always had this huge pressure on my neck called perfectionism. Now, I’m learning to be more relaxed about this: I learn to experiment, to try things and to fail but to try again. Doing this, I feel that I don’t block my creativity anymore and the working process becomes richer and more fun!
And is there something that really annoys you about your studies?
Not really annoying, no. But sometimes I miss an “atmosphere of passion” for what we’re doing, especially when I worked in groups. Everyone was always busy with many different things and I often had the feeling that people don’t want to spent more time than necessary – instead of trying to get most out of a project and pushing themselves, they are satisfied in an early stage. But maybe this is a very healthy attitude… And then, I sometimes miss a positive negative feedback – something that helps me to go further, a critic that challenges me and makes me rethink or question myself and my work in order to reach new dimensions…
What do you want to do during the next one and a half year?
In general: I want to broaden my knowledge. I want to learn to speak Norwegian, explore the country and I want to be able to read a book from John Wood (or another english intellectual) without thinking that my english has the level of a kindergarden child. And more specifically I want to explore and show alternatives for living as a human and for working as a designer. How can design get out of materialism? I want to encourage people to re-think their attitudes and that a life which is less focused on status and possession can be something positive and desirable. And that having respect for nature and it’s resources does not have to be a constraint for us. Uh, this still sounds so vague. Maziar will kill me! But this is how it is. This is what interests me.




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