Artist Profile: Flightphase

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Sniff interacting with viewers, debug view

Flightphase occupies a unique space as a design studio that creates artwork for the art world. It would be great if you could talk about Flightphase a little bit conceptually--how do you negotiate the space you occupy? The website says says Flightphase is "creating a unique design and format solution for any challenge"--how do those challenges differ and collide in the world of art and design?

We started Flightphase by presenting our artworks in a design context -- to a design audience and a design market.  As a result, the projects we were engaged for were usually some kind of hybrid of design and art including art commissions, and we're hoping it's going to shift even further in the art direction.  This probably speaks more about the state of the art-design tension and about the artworld’s changing attitude towards design -- what used to be seen as the ‘inferior’ art form has gained new respect, as evidenced by shows such as Talk to Me.  New media practice in general seems to engender the attitude that its necessary focus on formal and functional considerations doesn’t preclude a high concept.  

One way to differentiate between design and art is that design challenges have to do with the ‘how‘ (i.e. how to achieve a given goal), and art challenges with the ‘what‘ (i.e. what is the goal).  If you think of design as a process, all artists are designers and good art is always well-designed.
The projects on which we are hired as a design studio normally call for a lot of formal exploration.  In the art projects, we mostly limit the visual language, because their focus is more conceptual.   We always carry what we learn in one into the other though ...

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