Beast from the East was a project in 2012 based on a brief set by Nelly Ben Hayoun called Bureau Odyssey
In Nelly’s words:
Bureau ODYSSEY designs and performs various ‘promenades’ ranging from meeting with Ulysses and the Cyclops, to looking for moon dust and auroras through the lunettes of aluminium sharks.
At the Bureau, we explore the extreme and thrill-propulsion.We perform series of attractions/experiences/activities to question the horizon and its limits.We test and assess the impossible and propose visions of new leisure activities.
Bureau ODYSSEY = FOR GREAT RISKS IN A HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENT
Bureau ODYSSEY = FOR THE TROPE OF PLAY
Bureau ODYSSEY = FOR ACTIVITIES DEADLY SERIOUS
Bureau ODYSSEY = FOR ALTERING THE PHYSICAL, POLITICAL & CREATIVE BODY
Bureau ODYSSEY = FOR AN EXOTIC FUTURE
Image credit: Nelly Ben Hayoun
As part of a team of 13 designers, I went to Iceland to develop design work to be exhibited as part of the Royal College of Art exhibition at Reykjavik Design Week 2012.
Bureau Odyssey established the boundary to design an intervention or object (s) based on the idea of Extreme Tourism. This theme was coherent with Iceland’s extreme landscapes and it evoked the idea of previous human expeditions to expand not only our geographical boundaries but also our personal & physical ones.
Limit boundaries disappear when crossed
Vintage Explorations Image Links (see below)
I was interested in experiencing the landscape and responding from an empirical perspective. I wanted my own experience as a designer to determine how the project would take shape. In response to the idea of Extremes I looked at previous expeditions, like the Everest climb by Sir Edmund Hillary or Darwin’s voyages in the Galapagos Islands; but I was also interested in the idea of fictional stories that explore the human need for discovery and adventure, like the hunting of the Yeti (which has produced a myriad of interesting ‘evidence’ attempting to prove the Yeti’s existence), or the Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll’s poem from 1876 that tells the story of a crew looking for a dangerous animal at sea; or Moby Dick, with similar storyline, although completely different narrative intention.
Image: similarity between the artificial and natural landscapes.
“Here be dragons” is a phrase used to denote dangerous or unexplored territories, in imitation of the medieval practice of putting sea serpents and other mythological creatures in uncharted areas of maps. Abraham Ortelius- Islandia 1590
Iceland balances between the real and the fictitious.
Reindeer in Iceland
Bones, aluminium, wood, pelts
‘A genetically manufactured beast, generated by merging traits of the most fearsome local mythological beasts is set loose on the extreme landscape of Iceland.’
Joan Fontcuberta, Fauna. https://www.scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/what-was-on/joan-fontcuberta-stranger-fiction
Beast of the East costume & hunter’s weapons. 2012