Simulacra: Waves of Nostalgia

Rene Leppanen

SIMULACRA: WAVES OF NOSTALGIA aims to offer a unique exhibition experience through the projection of various audio reactive visuals along with an immersive audio track. Taking inspiration from video games and early internet aesthetics, its focus is on the emulation and reinvention of cyber Y2K visuals and sounds from the late 90s and early 2000s with the intention of invoking the feeling of nostalgia within the viewer. Along with the video itself, the project includes a smaller scale event identity for this said exhibition, following the same aesthetics in select design graphics, such as posters, brochures and more.

The motion graphics within the video are a combination of animated 3D graphics produced and rendered in Blender as well as background and polygonal graphics produced through animation in TouchDesigner. All of these graphics were made audio-reactive in TouchDesigner to communicate with an audio track produced specifically for the video in Ableton to complete the nostalgic audio-visual experience.

Rene Leppanen

Communication Designer and creative from Finland, now living in Berlin. Living in the intersection of chaotic and controlled, at least when it comes to my creative work.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

20 years is a long time to plan ahead, but hopefully working either with my own studio or something that allows me to have an ease and flexibility in my work routine. Of course I see myself only in creative work in the future!

What is a good design for you?

Personally I enjoy design that tries to break norms either through disregarding existing rules and principles and/or design that is provocative in manner. On the odd occasion I do enjoy certain design that may be considered 'classically' good. Anything relating to queer, POC or other minority issues is also of interest to me.

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

The end of my studies proved to be the most challenging, as for a while I have felt quite tired of studying and the concept university or school. Even though the workload lessens as the semesters move on, to me personally being demanded creative work of a certain caliber can build up a feeling of exhaustion over time when you cannot work and progress on it in your own terms.

Who or what inspires you?

For me personally, I've become one of those people that say their experiences inspire them. I feel that I've been lucky enough to live in so many different places and meet so many different people that now everything that I see around me and anyone I meet can be an inspiration. More recently though, I feel that the topic of gender and gender fluidity is a big inspiration for me creatively as I've come out as non-binary and it has brought me such euphoria.

How do you approach a new project?

New projects can always be daunting, whether the topic is something you enjoy or not. I personally take some time and let my thoughts and mind run free for a bit. Usually with a new project I just have so many ideas that I need to think over what can actually be relevant and what is not. After this I can begin the real planning and create my moodboards and such to begin the creative process. It is always good to generally approach a project with positivity though since you never know what you could get out of it.

What advice would you give to students who just started studying in your programme?

Pick your elective classes carefully (if there are still electives in the new programme), you might find something really cool that you like or you might be stuck in a class you don't really enjoy. Also, don't put too much pressure onto yourself in projects. This can really just cause you to stress about everything, even the little details, which will cause you to burn out eventually. I've been there!

Have you changed during your studies? How?

I have definitely changed in both a personal and creative manner. While I am still notoriously bad at procrastinating, I have become more aware on how to manage my time, which was mostly thanks to my internship. In the creative mindset, I have become less wary of design rules and feel that sometimes its nice to create designs that just make me happy while still communicating their message in a new way. Basically, I care less about being perfect in terms of things like the grid system or legibility, which are still important of course, but they can be ignored in some cases. Personally, I am glad to have changed into someone who is more like myself and that is a journey I am working on everyday!

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

Originally I was torn between the game design sector and the communication design sector. Being from a traditional art background, I felt hesitant going into something like game design where a lot of skills with certain computer techniques were needed, which is why I went with communication design, even though our course can be technical too in different ways. Overall, I am happy with my choice since as soon as I started learning in the programme, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

What are you not going to miss in your studies?

Working and studying at the same time. I feel that I procrastinate a lot and having work from two sides overwhelms me quite a lot. So, having the time to either focus on my studies or to focus on my work projects would be better, but doing both at the same time has been a large cause of stress for me.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

Finally go out and enjoy Berlin with a close group of friends after being stuck doing all the work for the past few months!

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Daisa Teixeira Jerônimo