Last week I participated in the Registration Summer School, a three day workshop and lecture series held in Deptford, south-east London at the Old Tidemill School. Other than their kick-ass website, and despite a vague amount of information on the program of the three days, I was enticed to apply based on the simple objective – approaching problems in experimental ways – and the provocative theme – fear. And it was free, thus encompassing all my desired ingredients for an opportunity to meet and mingle with other London designers.
As the theme of the week was fear, within our applications we were asked to submit our greatest fear, mine being doppelgängers. While in recent pop culture a doppelgänger typically refers to your celebrity look-alike, their cultural and literary history is much more intricate and ominous, often alluding to impending death or the prevailing subconscious. Even within its simplest abstraction, a doppelgänger can imply an unknown commonality of yourself, the end of individuality.
We were also asked to write a threatening letter to ourselves. I used this quote from Edgar Allan Poe’s William Wilson:
“You have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforward art thou also dead – dead to the World, to Heaven and to Hope! In me didst thou exist – and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thyself.”
Creepy stuff, complimented by the chosen location – Old Tidemill School in Deptford. The former primary school is currently inhabited by London property guardians, a couple of whom ran the summer school and hence used the location as a dual reason to establish purpose to the old building and hopefully delay demolition. After getting used to the child-sized bathrooms and an odd collection of scattered relics referencing the previous use, it was quite a fabulous space, inside and out.
Over the three days, I participated in two independent, day long workshops – the first by James Langdon and the second by the Design Displacement Group. Information and images to follow in subsequent posts. On the third day, the summer school hosted a series of lectures by Rejane Dal Bello, Anthony Burrill and Julien Simshäuser to name a few.
Overall, it was an inspiring and engaging few days accompanied by some great new friendships. While of course being its first year, the summer school had its hiccups, I was otherwise quite impressed with its organization and guest involvement. Not to mention a fabulous excuse to procrastinate job searching, explore a new part of London and invent freak-tastic future scenarios with other quirky designers.