AI Method

ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF SPACES OF POSSIBILITY AND (S)TOOLS

Sandra Freygarten

Freeters’ spatial designs include not only physical constructions but also spaces in which the Freeters’ method can be experienced. They are experiential laboratories, problem-solving stations, and spaces of possibility for new things. Tools are constructed that break down barriers to thinking and help illuminate topics from unusual perspectives. Materials are at the ready to pose impetuous questions and provide fresh insights. Because an experimental approach is an essential, innovation-generating component of professional artistic activity, methods that provoke experimentation have been developed. They are derived from the creative processes of Freeters’ spatial transformations.

That chair over there, it’s squiggly and robotic at the same time. It oscillates between bright airiness and dark ostentation, between science fiction and rustic tradition, between raw pipes and antique woodwork. Worlds collide. The rupture is obvious. Apart from the technically qualified work undertaken, the connection there is seemingly none but contrast. The character of the parts remains. They enhance each other in their otherness. And this squiggle in the middle, a question mark without a dot, an inverted S? Irritating. Many people have sat on this chair, on the robust wood-framed leather surface, leaning against the triple-curved solid oak. The aluminum construction, a so very different, sturdy supporting structure. Comfortable, ergonomic, well-proportioned, balanced.

 

How might this chair have been created? In the mind of the artist? It is more likely that this unique bar stool came into being through active, hands-on play with concrete materials. By experimenting between deconstruction and construction, the goal, namely a chair, became apparent and something new emerged.

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First there was a massive curlicue chair, its design no longer up to date, but solidly crafted. Individual scaffolding poles were also around. As was a curvy wooden fragment that had once been the ornament of a dresser. All these things in a room full of other furniture and objects. The gaze was allowed to wander, the imagination to take up space, something was taken out and rearranged. Or each part had to be found first, peeled out of each different context, and brought together. This finding required a certain form of perception—elements were examined on the basis of their expressiveness, aesthetics, and ability to combine with other elements; investigated for their impact and possibilities. Seemingly unrelated parts were combined. Things were transformed. What had previously been scaffolding now became part of a chair. What was a seat remained so, but only half of it. A found object corresponded with a part of a chair—related in color and carved from the same wood. What was special about the form, the color, and the material was given prominence and became even more apparent in contrast with the other qualities. Fragments became a whole.

 

The processes of creation of artifacts like this chair proceed nonlinearly and in dialogue with material. This can be anything—stone, text, color, sound, plasticine, toothpicks, or aluminum rods and chairs. The material is taken into consideration and taken in hand, examined, arranged, reduced, formed, and reshaped. It is not a shaping according to a given plan, but rather a discovery of possibilities by doing.

 

With this special kind of doing as a basis, spaces, workshop concepts, and tools for companies and institutions have been created. With and within these companies, artistic design paths can be traced and their own channels to innovative power and creative passion can be tapped. Multifunctional tools break down the development of this chair into experimental stages as an illustration and thus make this complex artistic action tangible. This process is not for cultivating amateur artists or for integrating creative downtime, it is for utilizing experimental thinking and action for non-artistic tasks. For thinking of mission statement work in terms of breaks, contrasts, and contradictions. For analyzing a company from the perspective of a paper clip. For bringing chance and playfulness into employee communication. And for developing an organization through complementary strategies.

 

In contrast to the explanatory and action models of many methods and tools, the AI Method does not have a simplifying and limiting effect, but rather breaks down barriers and channels ideas and potential.

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