For many people, code and design are not complementary. But for Aaron Seymour, a designer and lecturer in the School of Design, they most certainly are.
Indeed, Aaron’s most recently curated exhibition, Hello World: Code and Design examines how code is escaping the black box of the computer and being materialised in the world in different ways.
“When people think of coding, they often think of someone sitting in front of a computer in a little office cubicle writing software. As a parent of two young kids who are both learning coding at school, there’s a lot of rhetoric around how coding is this essential literacy of the 21st century,” says Aaron. “But I don't think those conversations often conjure an image of what that might mean in the future beyond being a professional software engineer.”
That’s where Hello World comes in.
From a dress constructed entirely from laser cut acrylic, to a 3D printed gun, each of the 22 works displayed in the exhibition showcase objects and technologies from across design – fashion, textiles, moving images, graphics and the handmade. And each reveals the social, political and economic impact of code on the world.
As part of the exhibition, which ran in the UTS Gallery from 24 July to 14 September, there was a strong public program of events which included 21 curator talks and two panel discussions. Weekly high school workshops, in collaboration with U@UNI and Women in Engineering and IT, were held for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and young women interested in STEM. The students toured the exhibition before undertaking a 3D modelling and printing workshop in ProtoSpace, UTS’s new state-of-the-art digital fabrication facility. According to Aaron, these workshops give students a “taste” of the possibilities of design.
“It's really important for people to realise that technology isn't something that is bestowed upon them from on high. It's something that they can work with, that they can rework and have some agency over.”
Aaron adds, “It’s about engaging with young people and switching them onto the creative and critical possibilities of how they can take technological systems and make them their own.”
If you missed out on Hello World: Code and Design, fear not! You can still interact with the exhibition by visiting art.uts.edu.au and downloading the full exhibition catalogue.