Hi there! My name is Lauren Holden and I had the pleasure of interning at LOKI for six weeks this past summer. I am a fourth year student finishing up my degree in the York University/Sheridan College joint program in design in Toronto.
I am a designer that couples my passion for typography and experimental visuals with a love for creative and critical writing. Currently, I am working on a project called “thingsithought.today”, an interactive visual poetry anthology designed, authored and coded by me. The anthology explores the intersection of visual and verbal rhetoric, and examines how interaction and sound might serve as types of rhetorical devices in poetry. View the anthology here.
While I learned plenty about visual communication in school, discussions of the politics of visual culture and representation were noticeably absent. I wanted to learn how designers could navigate and respond to these politics in their personal and client work. Luckily, in my third year, I took an elective course called “Community Arts for Social Change” that explored this missing political dimension. It begged questions such as: what goals are we as designers serving with our unique communication skillset? How might we build stronger communities, raise questions, interrupt the status quo, and facilitate meaningful cultural production?
I read and re-read the course materials, and began taking initiative to learn more about how artists, writers and designers have pursued social justice work in the past. This—combined with my existing interest in intersectional feminism and identity politics—revealed a strong direction for my work moving forward. I was so interested that I dedicated a semester to the content curation and design of a publication exploring the relationship between art and activism.
LOKI felt like a perfect match for my interests. I was thrilled to be able to work for a studio who is unwavering in their reflexivity, who is writing consistently about their role in the contemporary visual landscape, and who uses visual language to disrupt the status quo. I was also fascinated by the studio’s understanding of design as an intermediary between capital and the public. In this model, designers are entrusted with the responsibility of either subverting or reproducing existing capitalist power structures, which I believe reflects the true weight and responsibility of visual communication in our society.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to have interned at LOKI. Kevin and Marie-Noelle made me feel very welcome in a new city, and graciously answered my (many) questions. What’s more, our critiques enabled me to both hone my technical abilities, and ground the theory I had learned in school in real projects.