Designer of the Week: Johan Rijpma
Call for entries: The International Design Awards early-bird deadline is August 14.
The experimental work of Designer of the Week Johan Rijpma has received a dozen awards, been featured in more than three dozen exhibitions, and helped the creative acquire an extensive list of both screenings and nominations. There’s most certainly a wow factor in his work, perhaps owing to the fact that he diligently explores concepts most of us tend not to think about on a regular basis—specific mental processes like prediction and interpretation, the Big Bounce theory and eternal recurrence, to name a few. Take a look at his surprising, playful work, and get into his head a bit below.
Name: Johan Rijpma
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Design school attended: University of the Arts Utrecht / Image and Media Technology
How would you describe your work?
In most cases I think it is somewhere in between video and animation. With my projects I try to explore different creative approaches and positions in a very fundamental way that are not necessarily limited to a specific medium. But I’m often attracted to video and animation because it can include almost any other medium, and it makes it possible for me to unify the creative process and the results into the final outcome.
Where do you find inspiration?
For me it’s usually a mix of the details of everyday situations that seem very obvious but unpredictable at the same time and big philosophical/scientific theories that I cannot really grasp but that suggest that I do.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
There are too many to name but the first that come to mind are Sema Bekrivic, David Claerbout, David O’reilly, Marcel Imthorn, Georges Schwizgebel, David Cronenberg, Ger van Elk and the people at ”Conditional Design” / ”(Studio) Moniker.”
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
Perhaps the work that I most recently finished, ”Elastic Recurrence.” It’s a short ”animated video” in which I composited a broken dinner plate into a musical instrument while I was personally associating the process with theories of the big bounce and the eternal recurrence. It felt like a lot of things naturally came together for me in this project, and it really gave me a new perspective on my previous projects as well.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
I think in almost every project I worked on I had moments where I was frustrated and struggling to finish the work in a way that was satisfying. I like to keep things as simple as possible, and in the end it’s very satisfying to me when everything seems to make sense without a lot of arbitrary choices. With the film ”Extrapolate,” this was difficult for me to achieve. Because I was focusing on my own predictions and improvisation. Even though I’m happy that I finished it in a way that makes sense to me, I still have mixed feelings about it.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I guess I just go from one project to the next, I don’t really think about the distant future. After finishing ”Extrapolate,” I felt that I could go even deeper into the exploration of mental processes like prediction and interpretation. So this is something I’m working on now, and I hope I will be able to create something that will feel logical and personal for me and for other people watching it.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Listen to Pluc Plaatsman.
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