ISSUE #13 – Theses of today and tomorrow
It is now an established tradition: every two years, before summer, ISSUE publishes a selection of exemplary theses produced within the school’s various Master’s programmes1. Once again, the aim of this publication is not so much to present the best of the theses, but to offer an overview of the diverse issues faced by the school’s graduates, and the original methods, often specific to art and design, that they use to tackle them.
This second edition covers the 2021-2022 period, heavily influenced by the context of the pandemic. Its strong impact on the student community can be felt directly or implicitly in the choice of topics, how they are treated, and political engagement. Precarity, discrimination and inequality became more visible and unbearable during the various lockdowns, and run through the theses, for instance when questioning cultural activities in nursing homes (Camille Sevez) or narratives of African emigration (Mbaye Diop). The use of the first person, singular or plural, in a logbook (Oélia Gouret) and the experimental weaving together of voices (Loreleï Regamey) bring into conflict an active singularity on the one hand and power, be it patriarchal, capitalist or biopolitical, on the other. Digital tools, which made it possible for students to pursue their cognitive work remotely, are critically reassessed, whether it comes to the utopia of a supposedly immaterial Internet – whereas the Internet is actually heavily anchored in our physical environment (Chloé Michel) – or to virtual spaces where the multiplicity of genres, ethnical groups and world cultures fails to be represented (Tiki Bordin).
Other research works show a desire to escape this anxiety inducing context. Patrycja Pawlik explores techno in Poland, which couldn’t be heard live during the pandemic, as a generator of immersive spaces. The retrofuturist architecture of the ski resort of Avoriaz as a catalyst for fantastical imaginary worlds (Robin Delerce) and the spelling out of author Karelle Ménine’s poetry on our cities’ walls offer other escape routes. By focusing on the blackout decreed by the British authorities during the Second World War to protect cities from enemy night bombing, Martin Zambaz’s thesis can be read, for its part, as an allegory of those two years placed under the sign of silence.
The HEAD’s editorial office put together this partial panorama of the concerns spanning our community at the school with the help of the heads of the various Masters programmes, with our warmest thanks for their contribution.
Cover image: Elorri Charriton for ISSUE