I am sorry / Thank you
My name is Ya-Ling Hsiao. I am writing you because I didn’t write a thesis. I almost quit school because I felt design is boring…’ This is an extract of a letter that Hsiao wrote to the examiner for Design Academy Eindhoven. Well into her Masters’ degree course, Hsiao began having serious issues with her chosen field, concerned that design didn’t stimulate her. She tried to distance herself from it. She gave a piano concert instead of presenting her thesis, and rejected the idea of completing a ‘degree project’. Instead, she took up residence in the academy, because regardless of her disgust towards design, she still loved the school itself. She built her own hut inside her department from scrap material she found lying around. She then spent her days, documenting her life there in words and pictures. She made 99 t-shirts with the words ‘I am superficial’. Finally, she realised that it was impossible to shake off her design background, as the anger she originally felt towards design is what drove and inspired her work at the academy. And so, the collected objects made while trying to deny her identity as a designer together form her statement piece The Unbearable Lightness of Being (a Design Student).
Photo by Joost Govers