The Interstice

by Melanie-Gupta

This work has not been commented by curators.


The Interstice


a communication intervention space

Concept author(s)

Melanie Gupta

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

I researched the topic of debt extensively and found my person response, came up with a concept and developed it. I have designed outcomes for my concept.

Concept author(s) Country


Friendly Competition

Debt. (2012)

Competition category

Visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

I am a design student. I respond to briefs that my university sets.

Check out the Debt. 2012 outlines of Memefest Friendly competition.

Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

The Memefest festival brief gave me a text, a documentary extract and a song, which created a narrative for me to use as a basis for re-thinking the theme of debt. I was asked to respond from my gut (my instinctive emotional response), from personal observations and from research with my visual communication work. Through the duration of this project my response has been formed from my key
findings of: the normalcy of the culture of debt, which surrounds us, the concept of needs, design's role in creating desire which produces debt and the underlying power, control and type of slavery hidden beneath debt. Through my visual communication work my objectives are to expose the normalcy of debt, the hidden power and the reasons and costs behind it, to attempt at breaking the normalcy by showing an alternative perspective and to enable viewers to think about a different relation to debt, provoking dialogue.

I have created a communication intervention space called The Interstice, which means an intervening space, in this sense it is a design and communication intervention space. The Interstice space works as a mix of a book café, a study area, a library, a garden and a reading space. It works as a communication channel by every few months embarking on a project surrounding a topic of communication intervention; the current topic is on Debt.

I have started from the point that to imagine a different relation to debt first we must re-think and re-evaluate our needs. This project is about both individuals and
humanity living beyond their means. My concept is to make the connection between the concept of needs, beginning with real needs (basic needs of survival), how simple to achieve – food, water and shelter and to show how the large middle section expands into an unnecessary mass created by desire to the biggest challenge of humanity – living beyond our means.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

My communication approach is to create a communication channel through the creation of a space which will involve a window display, wall space inside The Interstice and through a website. The objective is for an alternative kind of communication. Through an experiential space, it is of a human element. The communication is informal and hand-written offering a personal perspective that invokes critical thought. Channels of communication are created through the spectacle type of display from the front window space which is open to the street, the interactivity inside The Interstice through the question wall, on which viewers are encouraged to write their own thoughts and also the website, where questions are asked and the viewer submits their answers.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

I am attempting to break or crack into the normalcy of the culture of debt. Viewers of The Interstice project will be provoked with questions they may have never thought about. Usually what is the normal is also the unthought, giving it hidden power and control. I wish to plant a seed of questioning, to go beyond the surface
layer, to the thinking and then the change layers. If the normalcy and hidden power and consequences are not exposed, it can never change, for we don't see it or think
about it nor can we imagine an alternative. Society is benefited through the awareness, critical thought and dialogue that result from the interaction of my visual
communication project.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I have learnt a lot about debt. Debt is not something I had previously thought about in this kind of detail before this project and that is due to its unquestioned normalcy
and hidden power relations. It is a complex, powerful and all-encompassing aspect of everyday life. I think the biggest issue with debt lies in its normalcy, its hidden power and control. We need to break this normalcy for change to occur. It is about moving beyond the surface layer, raising awareness, to questioning, thinking, and then change and alternatives can be created.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

According to Gardner and Csikszentmihalyi, as discussed in lectures, good design work is excellent in quality, socially responsible and meaningful to its practitioners. I
have developed my personal criteria of good communication work from this base.

My criteria includes:
• Design is about the process, constantly learning and applying knowledge
• Responsible — socially, environmentally, culturally, ethically (this comes from my personal ethical framework)
• Meaningful — personally, culturally and socially, to its audience (my own interests and what I perceive is needed makes a project meaningful)
• Importance, purposeful and needed – for the world, for the community and for me
• Quality comes from all of this?

In regards to The Interstice project, my work meets my personal criteria as I have spent most of the project duration on process work. I am always learning, especially so while I am studying visual communication design and therefore my work always feels like it's in progress and lacks a finished quality to it. Because I am continually learning it feels like it is never quite realized. My work is responsible, to the best of my knowledge and current education, although I'm sure this can be developed upon with continual learning and experience. My work is meaningful to me, as it is my personal response in relation to my learning. I also see my concept as important and needed with significant purpose to the community. It is about changing mindsets, about breaking into the normal surface layer and challenging thinking, to create change and a different way of living.

According to socially responsible communication criteria my work attempts to show hidden relationships of power in society, of what creates desire and why, for what
gain. I am exposing the sign economy and the massive cost, the power through who creates this desire and for what, for what means and for whom.

Through the creation of The Interstice I am opening up a new communication channel through the interactivity of the space. Both the window space at the front of the café and the question wall inside the café provoke dialogue and give viewers the opportunity to respond. The audience who enjoys this space will have things in
common, they will be able relate to each other and work together making The Interstice a socio-cultural space. The space pays attention to its effects of communication on society and culture with the purpose to communicate in a socially responsible manner, establishing both dialogue and the conditions for it.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

The Interstice is to be implemented as a communal space for rest, learning and gathering. It is a mix of a reading, study, garden and café space. Projects are to be
designed around a specific topic every few months, the current one on Debt will use the window display space which consists of a hanging wooden board painted with anti-graffiti paint giving it the quality of being able to write on it with white board markers. This form of communication can be used as type, illustration or information visualisations. There is also wall space inside The Interstice painted with the same paint to be used as a question wall, where viewers can write their answers onto the wall and other communications can be drawn there. A website for The Interstice will also be used to gather information from viewers and can lead to the possibility of developing further visualisations.

I would love to develop this project and facilitate the implementation of this kind of space. I would take the opportunity to retrofit an old site in a particular location and transform it into this communal intervening space. The space would also include a herb and vegetable garden of which the produce could be used in the café and people could help in the garden as a type of therapy or communal activity. The garden would also have areas for study and reading, making it a lovely space outside in comparison to what currently exists.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Curators Comments