Graffiti, loud techno music, and pairs of beat up Doc Martens. I had arrived in Berlin - a city of liberation, creativity, and self-discovery. You look around and see a landscape rich in raw footage. It was apparent it was going to be a summer of trying new things without fear of any judgment.
iXperience Berlin 2018 alum, Camryn Okere
For the first few weeks of my journey with iX, I was overwhelmed by the intensity of Berlin, both inside and outside of the classroom. In class, we were devoted to learning design essentials, mastering the digital software and developing an identity as a digital design professional. Our class operated like a real-life design firm, and much of our time was devoted to learning how to execute design briefs. With these important skills, we were better able to understand the client’s wants and provide them with appropriate deliverables.
We acted as each other's clients and struggled to critique the works of our peers. At this point in our course, our film expert, Josh, came in to help us improve our filmmaking skills. He also honed in on the underlying reason we were having such trouble critiquing each others work: subjectivity.
iXperience Berlin Digital Design class 2018
What makes art so influential is that it speaks to people in different ways. As a class, we had learned to be proficient in completing the tasks we were given, but as designers, we were struggling to develop our own vision. Josh advised us that while it is important to deliver what the client asks for, it's equally as important to produce something authentic, something that acknowledges that you, as content creator, have needs too. This need is not limited to creating something that you are passionate about, but also extends to the responsibility to the client to provide a vision they may not have been able to see themselves. To prove his point, he showed us two versions of the same film. One, he explained to us, was the director’s cut. In the world of film, a director’s cut is known as an edited version of a film that is supposed to represent the director's intentions (think extended Lord of the Rings). Josh spoke about the struggle many freelance artists face, working on both personal and commercial projects, and how, at times, it is hard to find where the two intersect. Most importantly, he gifted us with a new way to approach the task we had been assigned, and a unique perspective on our role as designers.
iXperience Berlin student project shoot
The idea of the director’s had a profound impact on me. I walked out of a 45-minute lecture with a whole different perspective. Primarily, it made me evaluate my education prior to iXperience. Looking back to high school, and my first two years of college, I realized that although I had written countless papers and completed numerous assignments, I had not found my own voice. Each semester I had a new professor and had found ways to alter my voice in order to get the grade I needed. A few years down the road, I realized I had not only altered my voice but had lost it completely. I found that I was not submitting work I was proud of, but was, instead, writing what would get me the best grade because it was not only easy, but safe.
What makes iXperience so special is that it allows you to try new things without the fear of judgment, failure, or not getting a good grade. Berlin is the perfect city to step out of your comfort zone and experience new things because it gives you all of this raw footage – forcing you to examine every frame, determine your voice, and ultimately choose what you will incorporate into your personal narrative.