Ideas Marathon day 1 (or zero)

So I signed up for  AcrossRCA for this year too. AcrossRCA is a week of interdisciplinary projects for the whole college. This year I signed up for ‘Ideas Marathon’, which is about representation of spatial concepts through any medium – photography, moving image, performance, dance, food, manifesto, ritual, installation, collage, narrative, poem etc etc. It could be anything.

The first day started with the description of the week and some references which could be found on Ideas Marathon blog and then each one of us talked about 3 images of our work (which we have sent from the night before). All of them had something interesting to present, although two projects I was really impressed by were the ones by Pauline Emond in Printmaking and Scot Kaplan in Sculpture (the AcrossRCA project I signed up this year has representation of 9 departments of the school).

Pauline brought to the session a ‘lamp stone’, which was basically a lamp made of stone, an intuitive action after looking at the lamp of her room for long time. The stone material actually represents the heavy thoughts she had about the lamp and she also had plans of making it in large scale too.

Scot Kaplan’s ‘Control Room’ is a room where the subject (Scot) is inside without the ability to look outside – there’s one way mirror which allows the outsider to view inside but not the insider to look outside – and lets the viewers to ask questions or request actions for the time of three minutes. The viewer basically has the total control of the subject and the whole project explores social behaviours. Scot said that 90% of the time he was asked to get naked or to answer to very personal questions, which reveals many things about the society we live in today. Links saying more about his work: 1 and 2

For my presentation I showed my Rubber band typeface, Drawing by touching and The future of the poster. People were more interested in the typeface, the sounds of it and the performance of the letterform. Also the Drawing by touching project raised questions such as ‘Would you flatten the objects so you can draw only the shape of it?’, ‘Would you speak while you were drawing to say what you experience at the time you touch the object?’, things I haven’t thought until now and I found them really positive comments. It was a good group to show my work to, as they all come from different departments and they have different things to say.

For the first day, I had to pick one space from a list of one hundred spaces and represent it in any medium. The rest of the week is essentially this, picking one word on one day and presenting your idea on the next day, and then at the end of the next day you pick another word etc.

Ideas Marathon- initial list of typologies

So have chosen the word ‘observatory’ for the first day. First of all I thought of observatory for galaxies/stars/sky. I remembered ‘Another Earth’ film which says the story of a girl winning a trip to the twin planet of Earth, but at the end of the story the film is about finding someone’s self and not about the life in another planet. At some point I left it there and went to wash my new trousers which was over dyed and I couldn’t mix it with the other clothes in the washing machine (how ridiculously they make trousers these days, just prints and paints who get damaged in so short time). As I washing it in the bath tub became all blue and when I unblocked the bath tub to leave the water to go down, I noticed that the soap with the blue water going down looked like a galaxy: the dark blue colour could be the sky, the bubbles of the soap could be the stars/planets etc.

It’s a shame I haven’t taken a video out of it but I’ve taken a picture before I unblocked the bath tub:

photo 2

Then I remembered of the coffees I make at the cafe I work for and the latte art that sometimes looks like a galaxy too with its bubbles. Then I remembered the theory of resemblance of Michel Foucault in his book ‘The order of things’ in which he talks about how our eyes or face or anything could be like the galaxy and basically humans as concepts are reflected everywhere in the universe. So my end point was to make a telescope that when you look into it, you actually look to yourself looking into it. I found it ironic and funny and even surprising to look into there in order to look at the universe but instead you look at someone’s eye staring at you and after 2-3 seconds you realise it’s you! And that’s the universe, you. My idea actually suggests that we should look to know ourselves and humans in general and later look at the whole universe.

Reference I got for my idea was James Turell and his spaces for ‘private view’ of the sky


So that’s that, and for the second space I’ve got is… hospital. One of the students had hospital for the first day and she was talking about the smell of the hospital then one of the tutors talked about the opposite smell which could be a bakery. Then I imagined walking into a bakery and instead of stepping into the pleasing atmosphere of a bakery, the shop is really silent, the sales assistants wear breathing safety masks and gloves and suddenly there’s an emergency: a croissant bleeding chocolate. Everyone is running, everyone’s alarmed to rescue it. ( I stopped there, because it seemed better to pay attention what the others were talking about than mind-travelling).

I might make another post for my idea tomorrow, it seems quite exciting.


Interim Examination Presentation

Yesterday was my interim examination. The aim is of course, to judge my work produced this past year, reflect on what I have learnt, themes emerging, strengths and weaknesses and what could happen next year.

The exam was in form of a panel of 3 tutors, the Head of the course, one senior tutor and my personal tutor.

So, this is my space at the RCA. I thought I should start with this as one of the good things of the RCA is the studios – and of course your space shows something about yourself.


This is for ‘Design Without’, the elective I had for the last 6 months, an intensive course of one-week projects. It helped me to ‘train’ my brain to come up quickly with ideas and resolve them in one week, engage with new concepts and new approaches to my work, explore further video and experiment other mediums as well, challenge myself and just try new things. With Design Without I have a better understanding of research and I’m now able to articulate ideas better and see what works and what it doesn’t.

Drawing by touching from Savvas Zinonos on Vimeo.

Drawing without touching: An experiment of the senses. The brief was asking to consider a desirable augmentation of one of the senses. Instead of enhancing one of the senses I decided to remove one – but in a way, when you remove one sense, the other senses enhance, so it worked. I blindfolded myself and asked my flatmate to hand me objects I’ve never seen. With this experiment I had a different understanding of the tactile sense, everything became texture and shape. Further questioning is how blind people visualise objects they have never seen.

The panel seemed interested in this and asked me if I just discovered something there or it exists ‘out there’ and what if I drew the same object after looking at it – a probable next step. I admitted that it probably exists out there but I haven’t explored it further because it was a one-week project.

This is my response for the FUSE project, which asked us to question the assumptions we make about typographic languages. I was interested to perform language/typography through a medium and see how this becomes choreographical. I’m also planning to bring more people in and see how they communicate.

I stated again that people seemed interested in the ones without the rubber bands but I found this problematic because the gestures are created because of the rubber band, so it probably doesn’t communicate what I want it to communicate.


A project I’m still experimenting with, the brief for this project was about coercion and how governments use consumerism to distract and manipulate the masses. I was interested in the language politicians use, how they ‘re-arrange’ and distort reality and present it to us as the truth. This reminds me the rubik’s cube. I’m looking at articles and quotes by politicians. For example in this video, the initial quote was “The continent is enjoying a very fortunate era” by the German finance minister.


This is again a project that has to do with politics. The brief was asking to re-map Europe and I came up with the idea to ‘re-map’ the myth of Europe. I continued the story and I made it to adapt in today’s Europe situation. I’m using the mechanism of tiles to reveal the real meaning of words – Asterio becomes Capitalism and so on.

_MG_0011 _MG_0013 _MG_0017

At my presentation I showed this mock-up as well, which is a long strip which can be places on a wal in a space for a spatial performance.



The mechanism for ‘Re-map’ Europe is actually inspired by this project, which was a collaboration between the V&A and the RCA. We were asked to respond on the theme of the future of the poster. My response was commenting on the nature of the poster – through the loop of future, present and past, it suggests the omnipresence of the poster as something being static, something that gives you information (the piece of paper you take, and the poster as something that has an expiry date and something that leaves in the street (throwing the paper on the floor).


This is for Visual Research, the mandatory drawing elective. I had a very strange idea of what VR was in the beginning and what it was trying to do, although at some point it became something that I can have a break from everything else and just produce stuff.

An animation exploring and questioning the nature of an object – ‘drawing with drawing pins’.


Drawings for a brief that had to with observing objects again – using the technique of frotage.


A brief for landscapes – I look at my bed sheets as an aerial photograph of a landscape


I’ve never spoken about the Cultural Interfaces project on my blog. This collaborative project with students from 3 different courses of RCA was sponsored by Blackberry, aiming at communities of London.

Our project was for Hackney Stream, a class of elders who learn how to use computers. We ran a couple of workshops with them and found out that the reason they go to Hackney Stream was to come together – and particularly at a Spotify workshop we noticed how many stories they have to say about music and their culture. So our brief was to bring these cultural, technological and social elements together using music and story telling. We wanted to make them start conversation between them and come together.



So we introduced a device that has three play lists, each one distinguished by a different colour, one private, one shared with friends and relatives and one shared with the rest of Hackney/the world. By shaking it, it skips a song, by tapping it on surface twice it likes a song, which later goes into a top 10 list of Hackney Stream with the most liked songs. It also has a recording button which records stories for Hackney Stream or to be shared with other people.

I never had to do collaborative work for such a long time and it was a very useful experience. I realised how everyone has a different role and the level of commitment you have to show to this if you want a really good outcome, because if one doesn’t turn up at the meetings and stuff, the whole thing goes bad.



They seemed interested in the work presented although they pointed out that it’s all unfinished, experimental work. I’m aware of this, and as my elective was all about one-week projects, I took advantage of that time to experiment with a lot of different stuff so I can take themes that emerged from these projects – such as language, interactivity, motion and probably performance – to take further in the second year.

Visual Research Presentation Summary

I never posted anything about Visual Research! Visual Research is a drawing elective that everyone should take at some point during the first Year at RCA in Visual Communication. The course aims experimentation through expanded practices of drawing. At the beginning I was going a bit against it, as I didn’t want to do it or I couldn’t find the reason why. But later on, I found this as a way to have a play and habe a break from my Design Without brief, as sometimes they turned me down and they made feel discouraged.

VR presentation

Body Electric:

VR presentation2 VR presentation3

Above, drawing from the brief ‘Body electric’. The brief was asking to make figurative drawings in movement.

‘Drawing with drawing pins’ from Savvas Zinonos on Vimeo.

I posted about this again, this is the outcome of a brief set by Max Hattler. Abstraction of an object or a place.

Mundane Object:

A continuation, really from the animation project. Documenting an object and moving away to the ‘invented’ and ‘imagined’.


VR presentation5

Frotages of masking tape and a mug

VR presentation6 VR presentation7 VR presentation8 VR presentation9

Frotages of a bulldog clip

VR presentation10

And… pins again!

VR presentation11

Pattern made out of pins

The roots of subjectivity:

This brief asked us to choose a figurative image we connect to/like etc and analyse it, define what elements we like about it and why. This aims to make us realise why we make stuff by intuition and use this intuition.

VR presentation12

A photograph I like by Sally Mann. The form of the background and the expressive face, hair and closed eyes of the girl are two contrasting things it attracts me. Also the cropping of the image.

VR presentation13 VR presentation14


A brief about landscape/place and appropriation.

VR presentation15

The two top ones are sketches from Henry Cartier’s photographs. The bottom left is a picture on a card I keep on my wall, I assume is from a street from Italy. The bottom right one is a picture I took in my hometown Limassol, on a dock. There was a man standing so stiff and still looking to the horizon just like an army gesture, waiting for orders or something to happen.

VR presentation16

Later, I found interest in two pictures I took of my bed sheets, which looked like landscape from the air. I started making quick sketches which later lead me to creating a film:

Landscapes from Savvas Zinonos on Vimeo.


My presentation on the 17th Jan. 2012

This is the first time I use Prezi and I can tell it’s really fun!

Follow the link below and click the play button every time to follow the order that I have set:

Typographic Circle

(I tried to copy the embed code but it doesn’t work)

Post-presentation notes

  • I need to make the grid for one of the designers
  • use ink instead of blood for Sagmeister, and splash it in a way it forms a circle
  • the ‘o’ made of white little spots doesn’t show that it’s blown (my intention wasn’t to blow up the ‘o’ character but I guess that’s what other people see)
  • re-photograph the cooking tool that represents Bruno Maag. Make it stand out-different lighting
  • I could include quotes or their names on the covers, but as I want the covers simple without any type on it, I will consider adding their names and their ‘circles’ next to them on the slipcase, so that someone has an idea what is about