Last October we took part in an experimental design workshop organised by Design Inquiry at the  MECA, Maine College of Art, Portland ME (USA). DesignInquiry is a collaborative platform founded by Peter Hall, Margo Halverson, and Melle Hammer. DesignInquiry began on an island off Maine. DesignInquiry was established as a response to a perceived gap between academic and profession-based learning; between the richness of participatory learning at design school and the frequent lack of time for experimentation and research in the working environment.

DesignInquiry invites makers and thinkers of all disciplines to contribute projects to its 2019 topic: Currency, the base for a week of experimental research and collaboration to come to a new understanding and provocative research. The workshop Currency was part of the exhibition DesignInquiry: Futurespective,  a series of installations that demonstrate how DesignInquiry engages in open-ended extra-disciplinary exchange. 

Currency is often taken simply to mean money, but if currency also suggests relevance, presence, value and systems of exchange, what exactly has currency in an era in which value systems seem to be shifting? Within this project we like to use the portal as currency to explore the practice of interdependence. Allowing time, space and continuum (for public) and DesignInquiry participants to assemble thoughts on the urgency of being a portal. Through this mode of practicing, we are able to assemble new ways of understanding and using foreignness as a positive catalyst to understand self and others. Allow to activate, allow to open, in order to enter in..

Within this project we invited the public and participants to explore and assemble their notion of portal, as a tool to access self, other, space, time, material, context. What form of portal is needed to create attention, and positive catalyst to rethink or way of living? How can we shift from being in a portal to become a portal allowing a thin space to appear, transcending oneself.

A portal is a pathway to a shift, a shift in point of view, a shift in understanding, an experience that leads to a new way of being. It is a physical description of a [design] process.

The work resulted in a daily make, daily print, daily act, daily connect. 

Daily Make : a series of textile Noren, tactile gestures exploring the notion of portal.

Daily Print : a collection of texts, words and processes of the daily research.

Daily Act : testing making and  dialogue with the work in public.

Daily Connect : sharing lives, work and thinking towards creating awareness and communal activities with public and Design Inquiry group.

Work by Judith van den Boom, Emily Luce, Gunter Wehmeyer, Kiana Thayer.