Sadie Brookes (she/her)
I am a multi-disciplinary communication designer working across physical and digital platforms with a specific interest in space, abstraction and systems. My work this year has been focused on combining research-driven concepts with creative coding, web, editorial and exhibition design.
I have been exploring the boundary between two-dimensional design and the three-dimensionality of lived space, through photographic and sonic approaches to abstraction. I enjoy working through process and iterating on ideas to create work that asks questions of what role communication design plays in the wider context of society.
Seeing Sound is an audio-reactive website I coded and designed to manipulate visuals with a microphone input. The user can control different parameters of the website that can be affected by areas of the frequency spectrum of the mic input. This project stemmed from several p5.js tutorials and an interest in visualising poetry or spoken word. My goal was to create a publicly accessible audio visualiser that could be used for a variety of different applications, such as immersive environments, lectures, clubs or for 2D and digital use.
Still I Rise
How can we visualise performance? Can we see the energy or cadence of the spoken word?
In written text, emotion can only be imagined or interpreted through punctuation, however, the spoken word immediately holds more power. Using my website, Seeing Sound, I have highlighted the cadence a poet uses in their work and emphasised how they intended their words to be heard, here shown in the performance of ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou, where I hope to capture the energy of her words.
Take a Line
How do we find comfort in both real and virtual spaces? Which elements or artefacts are lost in the process of manifestation, where something digital becomes physical and vice versa? Do we need protection from this sense of loss of reality?
This project started by trying find the boundary line between the flatness of two-dimensional design and the three-dimensionality of real space. I am interested in the rapid development of our digital world as a representation of reality and if a sense of place, or comfort, could ever be provided in the virtual space. In trying to find a material, human quality to express this rift, I chose to use the material and emotional softness of a blanket as the intermediary between these two spaces.
The work at present exists in two parts; a photograph superimposed digitally on a ‘blanket’ and a digital photograph printed on a physical ‘blanket’. A photograph inherently forces a flat representation of a 3D space, and so the photographic mesh exists as a reminder of this process, giving form to the image.
Girl, Woman, Other
Penguin Cover Design Award 2022 for ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo.
The novel follows twelve characters in interconnected stories that are powerfully and vibrantly written. Each character has a chapter; within the chapters their lives overlap, but their experiences, backgrounds and choices differ greatly. The characters are flawed and complex, which is why I gravitated towards the use of fabric and pattern design, where materials warp and weft over each other but can also fray or knot. In my cover, I used twelve different coloured threads, some connected or overlapping, others remaining independent to represent the winding stories in the novel.
Towards Spatial Neutrality
I was your house. And, when you leave, abandoning this dwelling place, I do not know what to do with these walls of mine. Have I ever had a body other than the one which you constructed according to your idea of it? Have I ever experienced a skin other than the one which you wanted me to dwell within? – Luce Irirgaray, Elemental Passions
Towards Spatial Neutrality considers how western spatial practice is inherently gendered and reductive based on historical norms that are repeated and reinforced through architectural design. The text discusses how the concept of gendered spaces has affected our built and lived environments and will critically examine how works by Eileen Gray and Tadao Ando offer a non-conformist approach to architectural practice. I set the book in Univers as it has a visible sensitivity between thick and thin lines, avoiding perfect geometry, where with this, I hope it represents a neutral typeface.
Banned: A Poster Exhibition
In March, we curated Banned: A Poster Exhibition, an exhibition showcasing letterpress posters. The designs for this exhibition aimed to showcase the process of production of the work displayed. Inspired by the GSA caseroom, we recreated the letterpress printing rolls and hung the various prints on fishing wire, mimicking how they dry.
Photography by Fin Brannan and Sadie Brookes.
Utilising the digital assets given by the identity team focusing on the idea of punch cards and how our ideas materialise into physical form, we wanted to emulate the mechanical process of clocking in with punch cards. We decided to play with the idea of digitising the physical and created interactive elements such as a custom cursor, icons and opening animation to mimic the motion of physically clocking in.