NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 27

Design Today-1

Dark Matters; Welcome to Our Universe

Kambiz Shafei

Dark Matters is the name of the studio of Lasse Andersen and Rune Brink Hansen in Copenhagen, Denmark. These two designers have been working together for almost 10 years. Dark Matters works in different fields of visual communication and design – from designing CD covers to video projection, film, video clip and scenography. In the client list of the studio we come across names such as BMW Mini, MTV Europe, Sony Denmark, National Danish Television, Copenhagen Fashion Week, The Danish AIDS foundation, Danish Academy of Music and Copenhagen Airport.

Perhaps one of the most significant features of Dark Matters design process is starting the work with a very simple visual concept. For example in Matter video clip, they are able to create a set of complex imagery by filming very simple reflective objects. Also the repetitive nature of the images in this video clip reflects upon the repetitions in the music. Another successful video clip done by Dark Matters is Daemon. Again in this video Lasse and Rune use a very simple manual technique to make surprising images. For this video clip they connect parallel strings to the outer contours of different geometric shapes and then they reflect colorful lights against these shapes. In both video clips abstract forms replace images and portraits of the band members. Most video clips of this kind are watched on the internet and usually the listeners are occupied by other works while listening to the music. In this case, the video clip functions as visuals for the track and therefore there is no need for the complete attention of the viewers.

Stage design is another area of specialization of Dark Matters. Stage design for “Den Fynske Opera” new composed Sci Fi opera by Rasmus Zwicki, Konsumia is a good example of their work in this field. The imagery used in the opera reminds us the computer games of one decade ago. In general Dark Matters tend to use the different possibilities of live imagery in scenography. In the stage design of the Trailer Park Festival, Dark Matters let the audience control and change the images which are projected on the stage. They also create an environment that the beholders are able to participate in the creation of the images, hence they become a part of the changing piece.

In general a majority of new media projects are hardly able to avoid distracting the viewers with the technological side of work. Finding simple but surprising visual ideas ables Lasse and Rune to stay away from this cliché. Therefore the pure technological aspect of work is not satisfying for them and they constantly look for different ways to excite their audience. By combining the different possibilities of new media and abstract forms they create unknown images and unknown spaces. Imagery that is more or less non-supernatural and plausible. The work of Dark Matters reminds us of science fiction movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, Steven Spielberg).

Kambiz Shafei

Kambiz Shafei is a Swiss based Iranian graphic designer and photographer. he graduated from the Basel School of Design with a MFA degree in visual communication (HGK/UIC). In 2010 Kambiz founded Studio Shafei in Basel, Switzerland.

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