30 September 2008

Using the medium as the message

I love this work of Julius Popp. It demonstrates to me how the use of message with a medium can have profound impact. I'm curious about a similar translation when working on design for development. When one is seeking to survive, can the solution be messaged through art and technology? If so, how?

Verbal Research

Contact FM Interview from Kara Pecknold on Vimeo.
This radio interview recalls much of what I did this summer. Take a listen if you are so inclined. I am posting it here because listening to it again reminded me of the thoughts I've had in the process of my research. Hearing yourself discuss your ideas is an incredible tool (one that my writing can sometimes lack).

29 September 2008

Research Map

I'm working out the path of my research and how it will become actualized in project form. Not being in Rwanda seems to hinder some of my practice-based inquisitions. But for what it's worth, this is my thinking so far. Much contextual reviewing to engage with if I'm to actually position this research effectively. Feedback is welcomed (click on image to see it larger). And of course, a time line is being undertaken. This part is a little bit harder and notably blank right now.

26 September 2008

Visualizing Research

As a writer, I'm struck by the new found freedom to use visual tools for my research process. Wordle provides a tool to do this online. Here's my blogs visualized self.

25 September 2008

I want to be a pilot

This video was shared with me by a visual artist who knew of my time in Rwanda. It is poetic and moving, to say the least.

Beyond that it has multiple layers. And a layer that strikes me in light of my thesis work is, "How do we communicate adaptive strategies to a young boy who is infected with HIV and living alone in Kibera?" Watching him wade through mounds of garbage makes me both cry and consider. Consider how waste management could make life better (not to mention all sorts of other basic needs being fulfilled). Thankfully, some have begun to look into this idea.

As I listened to each line of his poem, I was struck by what he had to say about the West's involvement in his country and how even that had provided all that he could hope for. Suffice it say, this is sticking with me (as Kibera is in Kenya and at times, the level of poverty is not that far removed from some of the realities I saw in Rwanda).

I am also challenged with his words that we flippantly toss out, "I want to fly away." Right.

20 September 2008

You Make Me

While in London, I visited the Tate Modern (I could seriously move in there!). While Christopher Wool was not exhibiting during my visit, I did take note of this postcard and have become quite drawn to his typographic work as an example of how communication design and art merge.

19 September 2008

Sketch Book

During the summer, I worked on a book with words from Rwanda. I found it incredibly therapeutic and it became a way to encourage my analog side. I can find myself stuck on the computer too often and this helped me look at things from a different angle using language and image.

This word itorero means congregation or place where people gather.

We also got some media coverage over the course of the summer. Here's an article that appeared in the New Times paper after our exhibit. Click on the image to read.

14 September 2008


Kwibuka means "memory" in Kinyarwandan. And I'm chock full of them. Today marks my last day in Rwanda. I'm sitting in the airport waiting for a flight to Nairobi and ultimately London. And finally, I will return back home to the reality of school and the process of filtering through all that I've absorbed (as it relates to my thesis, not to mention my life).

This experience has been truly transforming and I am grateful to have been able to experience every moment of it.

05 September 2008


We actually pulled off our exhibit at the Kandt House Museum of Natural History. The event drew about 100 guests from all sectors of society. Minister Romain Murenzi (responsible for Science and Technology) opened the show and Rose Mukankomeje from the office of the Rwandan Environmental Management Agency (REMA) also attended. We were interviewed on two of the major radio stations and there should be a spread in the Sunday edition of the New Times Paper. The women even got to sell a few items and I offered up posters to raise funds for our efforts.

We got a lot of feedback indicating this was a successful experience:
It promoted the Kandt (that most Rwandans are unaware of)
It offered a cultural and social activity (which is atypical)
It highlighted how art and science can merge together for economic development
It brought people together for a common purpose and provided something aesthetic and meaningful

I am exhausted but absolutely delighted with how everything turned out. What a great capstone to my experience here.

The site is live (but will need some North American soil tweaking still).