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Writer : Alexandre Humbert 

For the past three years in April, Alexandre Humbert (tutor MA Contextual Design) organises a workshop titled “the Frame, the Fragment and the Object” for the upcoming graduates of Contextual Design Master, aiming to explore the filmmaking process from the designer’s perspective. This year, for obvious reasons, it didn’t happen as it did the past few years. 

The quarantine that has been put into place for over a month ago is disturbing the way we teach, the way we design and the way we communicate amongst one another all over the world. In such a context and given the emergence of video content in the design field, the methodology of this workshop challenges the film as a material for designers to play with. In this particular case, the confinement space became the film production set with one specific object as the tutor: the rug. 

Every student had to choose a rug inside of their confinement space as the starting element to create their films. The texture, the format, the color and the function of rugs are all different aspects related to film construction. The rug is not only an inspiration to construct films, it is a way to escape the physical space we are locked in. 

In 1967, Michel Foucault defines the notion of heterotopia, the idea that a physical object could host imagination: “The garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space.” In the meantime, Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven, founder of Macguffin, are preparing the next issue of their magazine which will focus on the Rug. 

Together, we curated a complementary selection of “objects” that engaged in different ways with the current context. From New York, London, Ljubljana, Paris, Eindhoven, they have produced a collection of 2min films reflecting their own practice in an intense three-day production time. Their room became their film set, their phones became their cameras and the constraints imposed by the confinement became design opportunities. The eight selected films dive into a diversity of rugs such as the communal one, doormats, traditional Persian carpet to design occupations, escapes, syndromes, optimistic visions and dramatic fictions around the exceptional confinement experience. 

Below you find the eight selected film descriptions including a link to each video.

Film Title: My room´s skin 
Designer: Flora Lechner 
Selected Rug: Leather rug, 80x150cm 
Confinement location: Eindhoven, NL 

Description: My rug is my room, my room’s skin. My rug is a landscape, a summary of my room’s inhabitants. It ties together the colors and peels that float around in the surrounding space. It absorbs and gathers them to create a new geography my room’s skin. My rug is like a boat floating on the floor of my house. A peel out of many peels, lying still and pretending to be lifeless. It is alive, it has become my friend, my host, my everything. My room’s skin is my second skin. My rug is alive. It wanders from place to place, discovering different corners of my house. Spreading its vividness wherever it goes. My room’s skin is a fragment of my house I am captured in the skin of my room, my rug.

Link to watch Film: 

Film Title: The Rug Syndrome
Designer: Miguel Guevara Parra
Selected Rug: The Rug Syndrome, a medical condition Confinement
Location: EKWC, Oisterwijk, NL

Description: “I’ve been feeling a bit strange lately. I went to the doctor, she says I’m alright. When I got back home, I inspected myself in the mirror once again. Funny how the expression on my face looks so cold and serious when nobody but me is looking at me. Funny how the doctor couldn’t get to see it cause I was wearing one of the rugs on my face. This is why I wanted to call you. The doctor couldn’t tell but, I’m dead sure I’ve got the rug syndrome.”

Link to watch Film: 

Film Title: OCCUPATION: 
Occupation Designer: Meghan Clarke 
Selected Rug: Communal Hallway Carpet, 3600cm x 178cm 
Confinement location: Eindhoven, NL 

Description: PRODUCTIVITY. PRODUCTIVITY. PRODUCTIVITY. I occupy time so that it may not be occupied for me. Non-productive productivity - an established rubric turned upside down and inside out. It is not a resistance but a small sabotage, calculated and prepared, offering momentary control. Count it out. Count it out again. Heel to toe, 140ft. Sincere absurdity - all in a day’s work. 

Link to watch Film: 

Film Title: Folds on the Perimeter of a Rectangle 
Designer: Niall Keville 
Selected Rug: Faux Persian Rug, 119x170cm 
Confinement location: Boyle, IRE 

Description: The rug sits in our living room like an alter at the heart of the house. It protects the floor, presents a soft-landing zone for those who have just lit the fire after a long day and provides a meditative space, grounding the body. From the ground, a new frame of what is above. The aspect ratio of the rug is folded, and by folding, drawing new frames. Taking inspirations from both Sol LeWitts’ ‘Folds and Rips’ series (1966 -1860) and Bruce Naumans ‘Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of a Square’ (1967). Both Artists had methods in working with the restrictions and possibilities presented in squares and rectangles. They allow the form and material to dictate their drawings and movement respectively. The rug presents a similar opportunity but it doesn’t deny the everyday sentimentality and meditative aspects as the minimalists did. 

Link to watch Film: 

Film Title: Wonderworld 
Designer: François Chambard 
Selected Rug: Natural wool felt custom-made rug, 1270x180cm, 6x9’ 
Confinement location: Brooklyn, New York, US 

Description: Walking around my neighbourhood during the lockdown is the eeriest experience. The place is usually bustling 24/7. The streets are now empty, uncannily quiet. Strangely walls have gained a growing and reassuring presence. Slowly I started to notice them. Walls I have ignored for 15 years. They bear an invisible aura. They help access another world. In my house, there is a simple rug that works very much like those walls. I made it and have lived with it for many years. I like its unassumed sophistication, all what it expresses without the need of a pattern, let alone a language. It feels things. The rug is link between us, a portal to the world and the walls outside, an interface between what’s here and what’s there. It opens to a different dimension. The rug is a ground, the rug is an earth, the rug is a world. 

Link to watch Film: 

Film Title: A Gesture of Rug
Designer: Weixiao Shen Selected 
Rug: Second hand rolled up rug. (145*95cm) 
Confinement location: Eindhoven, NL 

Description: There’s a rug in my place, always rolled up and kept underneath the heater. But I know it unrolls itself during the night.

Link to watch Film: 

Film Title: Archiving Boredom 
Designer: Paul Bes de Berc 
Selected Rug: Fictional rug, made out of tape 
Confinement location: Eindhoven, NL 

Description: I look around and see scattered on the floor all these objects now composing this still-life depicting me at this specific moment. The days that pass by bring with them these accidental sculptures that that keep forming and dissolving themselves. Everything moves, all the time. The room never becomes anything else than a construction site evolving towards no goal, if not the one to reflect my interiority. I told myself several times that I should tidy my room, but never found a methodology that would suit me. As soon as I was trying to assign an object to a certain location, I was destroying the possibilities for it to be somewhere else. As soon I was building a methodology of tidying, the construction site ceased existing, and it was over. My room, my interiority, wasn’t a reflection of my changing self anylonger, but a fixed state of things from which nothing could ever emanate. As I lay by the rug, only fixed territory of the room, unalterable frame in which life passes by, I realise that I am not only this still-life at this specific moment, but rather the accumulation of every state of the room. I realise that I am the objects around me and their past, their movement in space, their traces, that I am, as Isamu Noguchi would say: the landscape of all I have seen. 

Link to watch Film: 

Film Title: The Vertical Theatre of Doormats 
Designer: Peter Fung 
Selected Rug: Green screen-ed doormat and 41 other ones on Sint Adrianusstraat Confinement location: Eindhoven, NL 

Text: The Vertical Theatre of Doormats is a temporary screening of doormats on Sint Adrianusstraat in Eindhoven. Played on rotation from 21.00 - 21.30 on every Friday in April, the video is an archive of doormats from the neighbourhood documented during the COVID-19 lockdown. While the video collage is an ode to the often neglected object, by screening onto the empty street, the work explores the boundaries that separate the indoor and the outdoor; our isolated singular experiences and our collective imaginations. 

Link to watch Film:

Published: 23-Apr-2020 10:00


Home Featured
  • The Rug: Host of imaginations

    Flora Lechner

  • The Rug: Host of imaginations

    Weixiao Shen

  • The Rug: Host of imaginations

    Meghan Clarke

  • The Rug: Host of imaginations

    Paul Bes de Berc