Steadfast in versatility: the substrate of a multi-modal practice by Veronika Valk

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Abstract

The research is about inventing ways to produce spaces of inspiration that catalyse curiosity and generous, resilient creativity which goes beyond the local, national or regional borders, enhancing public space, while operating in the transforming context of Estonia. The work evidences certain ‘joyful’ approaches to publicness in design activity, in which the search for functional realities not only incorporates but immerses itself in and builds upon other disciplines as well as on institutional, ideological and structural processes. When practice’s activities propagate through a multiplicity of expressions (simultaneous drawing, model-making, installations, construction supervision, texts, and so on), the set of ‘devices’ with, upon and within which the designer operates could be called the practice’s substratum (substrate). The research poses a question that to evolve a practice, is it necessary to transform its structure, purpose or agenda, or is it a question of how to renew its substrate? A closer look at an existing practice reveals how a practice’s substratum might shift in response to a contextual change. A multi-modal versatile practice bears within it the capacity to facilitate (positive) or to resist (negative) societal change. The research points to the potential for some specific open-ended ‘protocols’ to emerge from the observations offered.

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