FIELD: Audio-Visual Adventures in Graphic Design

Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn from FIELD take us on a journey through their work in generative design. By connecting emotions, failures and lessons learned, they reflect on their position between being designers and artists.

Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Grahn from FIELD © Gerhard Kassner / Monotype

When Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn from FIELD take the stage, they seem a bit rushed and out of breath. “I was told they just finished their last talk three minutes ago,” says Sonja Knecht as she welcomes them to the stage. The introductory showreel video gives them a few minutes to catch their breath.

FIELD is a generative design studio from London. Together with a team of 12, Vera and Marcus work on projects driven by technology, art and nature, often within a design and branding context. The two partners are serious about their business: “We are creatives, we want to create. So, we want to create value – and value lies not in endless client presentations.” Their striking audio-visual work draws the audience in within the blink of an eye and we truly believe in their passion and honesty.

“Everything we do is born out of motion.”

Honesty really is prevalent in FIELD’s presentation. The way they talk about their projects, experiences and approach feels so true and right, even though they were not scared of talking about failure. Their adventures in art and design contain an entire range of emotions, and they guide us through some of them with examples of their work and little anecdotes:

Attitude

Be it skate culture or Dirty Dancing, whatever inspires you can help form your own personal style. Attitude in design has been mentioned in quite a few of this year’s TYPO talks, and the key insight here is: have one.

Confusion

That’s where the creative process often starts. But not necessarily in a negative way – confusing questions help get to the core question: “What’s the pain you want to work with as an artist?”

Inspiration

And not the inspiration we find while scrolling through Tumblr or Pinterest. Personal journeys, driven by your own interests – that’s where inspiration comes from. Keep reinventing yourself through that.

Excitement

Sometimes, an idea is much bigger than you are. Vera describes a new idea as “a moment of virginity”, the possibility of a new start. Sometimes it works, and sometimes “it might be a stupid thing”.

Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn from FIELD. © Gerhard Kassner / Monotype

Let’s take a quick break: Every emotion Vera and Marcus are talking about is connected to a piece of work, be it an audio-visual installation, a series of covers created through generative design, or an interactive sculpture. These projects really come to life through combination of sound, code and emotions:

Ignorance

It’s not just a feeling, but also a place you might find yourself in after a while. Sometimes, the pressure of a creative project might just be too high, and everything starts flickering.

Fear

Feeling fear is okay. There’s a brief moment of tension in the talk when Marcus says, “Sometimes, we’re scared,” and Vera interjects that “We are not really feared. But sometimes, big corporations work with fear.” And that’s poisonous. Saying no to fear and scary projects can be a magical answer.

Admiration

Get over yourself. Or, better: get to know yourself and the position you’re in. After a big project, Marcus found himself stuck with the question: “How do I ever make it as an artist, if people don’t recognize us as artists?” But the art had already been created. He’d made it.

And finally —

Courage

That’s the key to recognition. You will have to summon the courage to show your work – that’s the only way it can get recognized.

All those emotions are a cycle, and they come and come again. They repeat. To succeed, you need to be naive and committed. And if something doesn’t work, you may need to try something else. “Good things happen. There is always a chance you can make them happen.”

Marcus Wendt & Vera-Maria Glahn / Field.io

Field

Generative Design Studio (London)

FIELD is a London based studio working at the intersection of art, design, and technology, led by co-founders Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn. Creating expressive and dynamic digital artworks, immersive audio-visual installations and non-linear narrative experiences. The interactions between abstract and figurative form, sensual perception and synaesthesia, procedural systems and emergent simulations are recurring themes in their research.

Their work has been exhibited at galleries in Europe, the US and Asia, including La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, the China Museum for Digital Art in Beijing, and the British Library, and included in festival programs worldwide including Ars Electronica and onedotzero. The studio collaborates with cultural institutions and global brands on commissioned artworks and generative design solutions, including Nike, Deutsche Bank, HP, Nokia, GE, and Aol.

Written by Christoph Rauscher •