A couse partisipant’s project by: Johanna Tysk
KOKO Labs was developed in response to the need to reposition a practice from mainly Graphic Design (with community work/activism “on the side”), to a transdisciplinary practice encompassing art, design and social work. The needs were both internal – defining and understanding the “disciplinary positions” and their different roles within a practice, and developing a methodology coming out of those. But also external/discursive – communicating a “transdisciplinary discourse” that can be understood by practitioners across all three fields, including suitable models and formats for knowledge exchange and reflection connected to this “new discourse”.
Challenges included finding a “theme”/concept/method to “hold” this transdisciplinarity, related to both internal inquiries and knowledge exchange with other practitioners. Also finding a language and a visual identity that communicates across disciplinary boundaries, and finding a way to present previous work in a way that makes sense in relation to where the practice is going.
Process and outcome
1. Design and copywriting for a digital platform for KOKO Labs. (Graphic identity, content for
about, projects and bio).
In terms of visual identity, I did research on websites and graphic expressions connected to these fields, to land in my own expression that draws from all these influences, and presents the audience with something new and unexpected. As far as my work, I went over my portfolio since seven years back, edited it according to the current focus of my practice, and “re-wrote” the narrative of my own practice by presenting the work and the topics that fueled them in relation to my current practice.
2. ‘The path to conflictual harmony – a dialogue in the conjunction point of art, design and the
social sphere’ (Initial draft of publication, to be added to and released when launching a
The internal process of understanding the “disciplinary positions” within my practice, started during the spring semester, when I interviewed various professionals from the fields of art and design, to “inform” my own standpoints. This work resulted in an essay where I started exploring a methodology of allowing three versions of my professional self (the designer, the artist and the community organizer) reflect on the same case studies, as well as broader societal issues, through their differing perspectives. During this process, I also started sketching out the transdisciplinary concept of what I later named “Conflictual Harmony” – a space where the tension of differing social, disciplinary or cultural perspectives can be used, not fixed, and seemingly opposing or conflicting elements can “battle” in a way that allows for fruitful co-creation, learning, and a more just and enlightened way of relating to each other, ourselves and our surrounding world.
To deepen my own understanding of this concept, and “build discourse” engaging professionals from art, design and the social sphere, I invited in a range of professionals to “battle”, or engage in conversation with me, based on their reference points, professional interests and experiences. As a first step, I had everyone associate freely around the concept of “Conflictual Harmony.” I then responded, searching for “common ground” in relation to the cross disciplinary and cross-cultural platform I´m building, and went back and forth a few times, finally editing the material into a coherent conversation for my contributors to approve or edit.
3. ‘Art x hiphop x social innovation – a conversation between Stockholm and Atlanta!’ (youtube
conversation staged during our workshop with Cenk Dereli).
A video conversation moderated by me inviting in three professionals from art/design/social innovation in Atlanta, to reflect on the conjunction point of hiphop, art, and the social/political sphere.
Download ‘The path to conflictual harmony’ here (PDF)> Conflictual Harmony
View “Art x hiphop x social innovation – a conversation between Stockholm and Atlanta!” here (Video)> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5PGyOg3rtM
Johanna Tysk, based in Stockholm, operates within and across the fields of art, design and social work. Johanna received her B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta in 2007. Her early professional career includes digital advertising and design for ad agency Publicis Modem in New York, as well as art direction, branding, graphic design and illustrations for a wide range of freelance clients in Stockholm. Clients ranging from national media companies to independent artists and start-up children´s brand Tröstisar, that today sells their first invention Cuddly band-aids in fourteen countries, and has received numerous awards in the US. Since her return to Stockholm in 2008, Johanna has had a strong engagement in grass roots social movements like Love Tensta and StreetGäris, where she has explored strategies for social transformation through new forms of organization and communication.
In recent years, Johanna´s practice has moved to encompass art and social work, with an expanded notion of design as a process, an approach and a frame work for participation and project management. In 2012, she organized the week-long festival Creative Call, where she connected local suburban groups and established institutions like Moderna Museet and Kulturhuset, to a multidisciplinary group of artists representing the urban creative culture of Atlanta. She has also initiated an on-going project using theatre and theatrical exercises to explore structures and relations connected to issues of immigration and integration, and has lead a number of collective mural paintings with children and youth in collaboration with social practitioners Stadsmissionen and Folkets Hus Fisksätra.