Royal College of Art: Visual Communication degree show

The rooms and corridors of the Royal College of Art’s Stevens Building are well worth negotiating in order to see the work of this year’s graduates from the Visual Communication course

rcaviscom388_0.jpg - Royal College of Art: Visual Communication degree show - 6560

The rooms and corridors of the Royal College of Art’s Stevens Building are well worth negotiating in order to see the work of this year’s graduates from the Visual Communication course…

I’ll be following up this post with one specifically on the Animation graduates’ work (also showing in the building alongside the Information Experience Design course), so included here are my highlights from the largest exhibiting group: Visual Communication (plus two IED pieces I came across).

An early stand-out for me was Jingjing Shen‘s print and collage series, The Other Way of Telling (below). Taking the idea of how images preserve impressions of a particular time and place, each of the pictures is distorted in some way – the ‘flat’ print animated by folding and curling the paper.

Using paper and, in one typographic example, perspex, Laura Jouan‘s Posterland series also investigates form – in this case the nature of the poster as a medium (three posters show, below). The results are really eye-catching.

By leaving prints of work for visitors, Timor Davara created a ‘slow motion’ animation based on etchings by John Webber from the final Pacific voyage of Captain James Cook. As the sheets are taken away the action moves on a frame at a time (two prints also shown on the wall, below).

And while I don’t seem to have a credit for this investigative research project (please let me know in the comments below), the display of self-published works by a mysterious collective known as Group AE (the logo of which is displayed with both letters turned upside-down) was impressive.

A grid of thirty prints make up Tom Radclyffe‘s fragmented urban landscape, Blue Cities for Crystal Globes – six shown below.

Fee Greening‘s linen digital print is called Orgy. On closer inspection you can see why. (It’s apparently inspired by the lifestyle of the Marquis de Sade – nice that it’s on a privacy screen.)

Installed in one of the stairwells, Marie Matheron‘s Tower Blocks projection strips the building’s structure to a grid pattern. It produces a great effect as you walk down past and underneath it – and patterns which can also be seen here.

Also displaying their work to great effect was Sarah Lippett, whose book, Stan, depicts the life of her grandfather, Stanley Burndred, based on letters from her grandmother. Great colours and moving, too.

Shadow (Xiaoxue) Tian‘s Family Animal series of photo collages examines “the subversive force of the found image”, knitting together two images to create a new single picture.

In Agatha’s Men, Sofia Drescher tells the story of a man struggling to form relationships with women beyond the ones in his pornographic fantasies. Drescher has a great knack for incorporating torn paper into the images; which in some cases cover up parts of the pictures, editing the narrative.

Sotiris Tsakirakis‘ To Him Whom uses a broken mirror and projected light to create a mesmerising play of reflection and shadow (glass on left, projection/reflections on right, below).

And just a couple from the Information Experience Design course – Jiayu Liu‘s Within Invisibility is a captivating piece which sees LEDs added to a series of portable fans. Each pair represents one of 40 major Chinese cities, the data from each city’s ‘wind dynamics’ visualised through the fans’ motion.

And also from that course was David Hedberg‘s Chromophonic Radio, in which the sounds produced by the radio are controlled by moving various coloured objects around on shelves.

Finally, one of few animators to exhibit print work, Nicolas Ménard showed a series of brightly coloured extracts from his short film, Loop Ring Chop Drink. He also showed Pourquoi Never Allo, a 32 page book which accompanies the film.

A further post will look at highlights from the Animation course, also on show in the RCA’s Stevens Building.

Show RCA 2014 runs until June 29 across the college’s two sites: Kensington Gore SW7 2EU and Hester Road, Battersea SW11 4AN. More at and at the Show page.

  • A

    Im glad you are doing a separate post on the animation course, because I was blown away by it this year. Some fantastic talent throughout.

  • Gavin

    I was left cold by this show.

    Compared to the Animation course – which features some of the best work I’ve ever seen at the RCA – I kept thinking on the Tube home: What will I remember in a week? What was new? What grabbed me?

    Laura Jouan’s posters were intriguing, Alessandra Mariani’s cabinets are the nicest use of display in the whole college imo, and I wish Signe Emma made more out of her beautiful cremation film.

    But there was so little SELLING going on, so little verve. I’m not saying students should prostitute themselves, but acknowledge that a degree show format requires some coercion and entertainment. MAKE me care. Force me to stop and look at your display when there are 400 other students competing for my attention. Stick your ideas up front.

    The Design Interaction course does a great job of teasing out ideas using multiple formats – video, web, 3D models, books – guiding your eye and keeping you engaged, without bombarding you (like the Architecture students do). Jennifer Lyn Morone’s project is a superb example.

    I came specifically to see the VisComm show but ultimately spent more time elsewhere.


    PS. Was surprised at the lack of web-based work, just 2 viscomm projects (if I recall) dealing with the Internet at all?

  • Michael

    Nicolas Menards animation was the stand out piece-funny, accessible and engaging (aesthetics and content). What always frustrates me is how inaccessible the work captions are at the RCA shows. I agree with Gavin…make me care…or at least make me understand

  • Credit for the Group AE letterpress work should go to Antonio Bertossi ( and Esa Matinvesi (

    Thanks for the write-up!

  • A

    @ Michael. To be fair I think there were a few vying for that position. Stephen McNally’s work was great, he could go on to be a director at Studio AKA or something, Nicolas Menards as you mentioned, Marcus Armitage had a very interesting style and the work gone in was staggering and Jesse Colletts piece I found mesmerizing, it was the only one i watched twice, the writing was almost poetic and voice of the narrator along with the sound design was amazing. Plus it was the only one which had shots I struggled to figure out how the hell she did. All in all top drawer.

  • S

    Is the RCA animation round up still coming?