Drawing Futures - Playful Creative Assistants

HEAD x Caran d'Ache

From 14th to 24th May, 2024

Press conference & Round table discussion: 09:00am, May 14th, 2024 with Laure Krayenbühl, Arnaud Pfeiffer, Douglas Edric Stanley
Opening:18:00pm, May 14th, 2024

Espace créatif Caran d’Ache,
Plateforme 10,
1003 Lausanne


Drawing Futures is an exhibition that merges traditional creative practices with emerging technologies, envisioning a future where creativity flourishes through hybrid solutions. It begins with color, to which we add movement, collaboration, music, and storytelling — resulting in a playful combination in which analog and digital forms joyfully collide.

What We Created
For this exhibition, our aim was to craft playful AI creative assistants. The element of playfulness served as a catalyst for inspiration, encouraging individuals to broaden their artistic horizons. Leveraging the rich offerings of Caran d’Ache tools, we conceived a new breed of interactive objects.

Beginner's Mind
Our primary focus was on designing interactive objects tailored for beginners — those who may not consider themselves artists or professionals and may benefit from additional guidance in their creative journey. Such individuals often require a lighthearted approach to ease into creative activities.

The Evolution of Assistants
Throughout this project, we asked ourselves the following questions:
In what forms and with what characteristics could an AI serve as an artist’s assistant?
What novel combinations and engaging interactions could we envision in this context?
How might we transcend the conventional metaphor of AI as a replacement for human creativity?

Novel Combinations
By novel combinations we mean juxtaposing simple materials in unexpected ways. This can be achieved by taking complex and misunderstood technologies and integrating them into familiar technologies or gestures — thereby simplifying their complexity through the poetics of well-understood mechanisms and materials.

Finding Common Ground
For this exhibition, the first semester students of the Media Design Master, HEAD – Genève collaborated with Caran d’Ache, a renowned Swiss company specializing in a wide range of writing and drawing instruments. Although the world of Caran d’Ache may initially appear distinct from digital design practices, a closer examination reveals a significant connection. Writing and storytelling, for example, serve as foundational elements for digital practices, whether it involves composing algorithms to generate poetry or experimenting with drawing machines.

The principal working method of the Media Design Master programme uses a combination of field research, rapid prototyping, user journey studies, and technological development. In the field research phase, students explored various hypotheses using field observations, data collection, and user studies in order to develop their central concept around drawing futures. From this phase, we added rapid prototyping methodologies and experimental playtesting in order to further discover the core interactions and goals of each project. In parallel, students learned new methods and technologies related to electronics, programming, and industrial design and started integrating them into each project as it evolved.

Featured Designers
Mathis Baltisberger, Naomi Blidariu, Basile Brun, Sarah Meylan, Lauren Thiel

Director HEAD – Genève : Lada Umstätter
Head of Communication & Digital, Caran d’Ache : Sophie Murbach
Communication rep : Mélanie Miranda
Project Director: Douglas Edric Stanley
Department Head, Master Media Design: Alexia Mathieu
Interim Department Head, Master Media Design: Félicien Goguey
Artistic Direction: Laure Krayenbühl, Alexia Mathieu, Douglas Edric Stanley
Professors: Alexia Mathieu, Douglas Edric Stanley, Laure Krayenbühl, Pierre Rossel
Assistant, Master Media Design: Pablo Bellon
Exhibition Scenography: Lison Christe

Andres Acosta Blaschitz, Ares Pedroli, Naomi Blidariu, Basile Brun, Adam Chatir, Daria Kotova, Debjyoti Dhowmick, Ekaterina Bliznyuk, Jonas Wolter, Lauren Thiel, Leyla Benkais, Mathis Baltisberger, Sarah Meylan, Jasmine Molano, Océane Serrat, Mathilde Schibler, Enzo Seurre

Technical Pools
Alexandre Simian, Chloé Michel, Clément Schlemmer, Daniel Zea, Frédéric Butor-Blamont, Isabelle Schnederle, Sébastien Pitteloud, Vytas Jankauskas, Xavier Plantevin, Sylvain Leurent, Raphaëlle Mueller, Daniel Zea

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Suètone, Basile Brun, 2024 - Master Media Design
© HEAD – Genève, Sylvain Leurent