Design thinking embedded in irreverent imagination. Crystallised by artistic direction. Powered by conceptual ideation – a creative practice by Hedieh Anvari; an admirer of the amorphous & its possibilities.
Phasal Font Design FOUR – ‘It Is What It Is’
Design practice has been the point of departure for exploring the narrative
and creating the semi familiar habitat of the Menstrual Cycle fonts.
In this video piece we are extracted from the everyday narrative and situated in a semi familiar visual scape. The narrative is ostensibly unconcerned with the social world we occupy only to engulf us in the invisible yet persistent flux of the menstrual cycles.
By inducing a sense of disembodiment the video piece amplifies the universality of this cyclical system. We are left with gravity defying fluids and gliding cords; umbilical cords or enlarged neural wires, all depending on our lens. The quasi constellation of bagel formed dough entities are washed in the same condemned blue ink tone used in sanitary pad commercials. The blue ink here, is bluer than the ‘universe blue’ we claim to know and are familiar with through footage offered to us for a smoother comprehension of the startling phenomenon; the universe and its universal systems.
The polychromatic inner body of the 'bagel doughs' make for a more comforting sensation. The interior; a circular follicular tube alludes to the cyclical nature of this universal performance. Time is moving in a varying velocity. Sculptural numbers evidence the start of each phase of the cycle and simultaneously enthral us with familiar arcade-game twinkly chimes.
By residing somewhere between ease and unease and detached from an earthly setting the video piece attempts to offer the viewer to reframe their perception of the menstrual cycle system – seeing it for what it is. By Hedieh Anvari
3D Creation & Animation by Sofia Wang
Menstrual Cycle Poster Design Series I
Numerical Design representing each phase of the menstrual cycle. A multi-phase design study
that brings menstrual cycle to the forefront of design thinking and design education.
‘The Garden of Her Delights, The Charged Days’
FLOWER SERIES – PERSONAL STORY I & II
Triptychs of two flower arrangements triptychs are expressions of
the intimate but familiar experiences of two female London creatives.
For one of the early Visual Essays, flowers are used to encapsulate the personal experiences of the charged days around and during menstruation. With centuries of inherent symbolism, the short but circular lifecycle of flowers perfectly mirror the repeating act of the monthly cycle and ovulation. The fragility and yet malleability of flowers oblige a certain admiration, carefulness and attention that sit harmoniously with Ooh Any Day Now's vision of opting for a slowdown during the charged days of the cycle.
As such Ooh Any Day Now initiated a relay of visual dialogue on the intimate experience of body and mind around this powerful and recurring ‘Happening’.
The flower stylist duo Worm London were invited to collaborate as they are the fitting partners to employ the language and symbolism of flowers and blooms through careful and distinct arrangements. Katie and Terri were asked to create three pieces and convey their personal reflection and ideas around the markedly powerful inflection points of menstruation; #pre, the days prior to #during the shedding and #post, the first days after end of the period.
The stylists' careful but confident interaction and admiration of flowers and the statuesque arrangements encapsulate the concept and the brief harmoniously. By Hedieh Anvari
‘Lacuna, The Charged Days’
FLOWER SERIES – PERSONAL STORY III
Lacuna’ a personal expression of the intimate but familiar experiences of the monthly cycle.
As part of the ‘Flower Series – Personal Stories’ relay, the Director Kate Cox was invited to share her experience and viewpoint on the subject through. The outcome is a video piece titled ‘Lacuna’.
Cox leads the viewer into an womb-like world where the signature flowers of the flower arrangement triptychs ‘The Garden of Her Delight – The Charged Days’ come to life in her personal, yet abstract visual diary that portrays the inflection points around period. The balance between eerie and optimism gives the viewer a different lens to the normative discourse.
The visual narrative of Lacuna mirrors the ecosystem and the renewal of plants and blooms which further mirrors the notion of a monthly spring and ongoing renewals, which answers the original brief given by Ooh Any Day Now. By Hedieh Anvari
Studio Cravings – GARMENT CRAVING
What is it that makes you, time after time returning to the same garment, among all the other carefully designed and crafted pieces bought with hard earned money?
Peculiarly, every month, on the first days of my period – the Follicular Phase, I find myself opting for white garments. Perhaps not so clever but I can't really help myself as it's soothing on some level, as I feel slightlly heated with a body temprature higher than rest of the month!
The Caring Self – A Private Moment
Four scenes of a private space of fictional woman.
The still life series capture private moments and space of a fictional woman and her daily preparation throughout her cycle. We can almost feel her presence and palpable preferences that keep changing as she progress with her cycle. Each phase brings out different points of attention and priorities. The everyday objects and swathed fabric shift in weight and shape, from sturdy and geometric draping to delicate and light. Intimacy and quiet moments are shown with the gold lamé non-stretch hosiery, that were once resting in my mother's drawers. The props have been chosen carefully with their presence and configuration narrated and re-narrated while being laid out meticulously. No object occupy the set without a specific assigned role.
The photos are also used in a four part 'calendar' and screen wallpapers to encourage more people to take notice of the subtle shifts in mood and energy levels in hope to gradually recognise the start and the end of each phase. By Hedieh Anvari
‘Know Your Left from Your Right’
The egg passage – rive gauche or rive droite
We know by now that the release of the egg from the follicle and ovary happens and you might notice a slight pain not too dissimilar to period pain and there's a subtle rise of body tempretaure.
Ovulation alternates between the left and right ovary for about half of women and this can be detected.
Rive Gauche (left river) historically refers to the chic neighbourhoods of river Seine in Paris. This was taken as the influence and inspiration along with Yves Saint Laurent's Rive Gauche legendary logo design.
A winking reference to
A river stream from left ovarie through the Fallopian tube
On an early autumn Sunday we headed to Bricklane, London to get the attention of young women whether they would want to pose with the 'Menstruating rive gauche' t-shirt. And as a thank you for their time, they were given the t-shirt. I hope the brief interaction could impart some knowledge...
Sharp pain – Mittelschmerz – that occurs mid cycle due to the enlargement of the released egg.
‘Hard & Soft Power’
FLOWER SERIES – UNIVERSAL STORY II
A reverent salutation to the quiet, minute and yet authoritative trail motion of eggs – as featured on Bullet Media.
A team of female creatives are being boastful about the genius monthly cycle and the complex interplay of female hormones, female strength and all the rest of it. In pain and in awe of the rather cute and conscientious manufacturing of the ovaries, Ooh Any Day Now is constantly reminded of the female form, the persistence of the monthly cycle and the female body strength and engineering.
Pondering on the necessity and the functions of menstruation, I can't help to be reminded of the powerful sculpture ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ 1913, by Umberto Boccioni and its expression of movement and fluidity and human strength – in this case the strength and resilience constantly taking place in a woman's body, month after month, child birth after child birth.
The narrow path and tunnel of the female eggs' monthly journey, during the cycle is almost a reminder of the lifespan of flowers with their resistant malleability and delicacy.
Here we used Fritillaria Persica, Scabiosa, Carnation and fresh Mint leaves and composed them – sprouting out – heavy metal hardware and high quality industrial blades.
We love dearly the high tech machinery of the menstrual cycle and the persistent ovulation of the recurring cycle – month after month. Like a quiet but painful merry-go-round it is in full action whilst we go about our lives.
‘Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose’
FLOWER SERIES – UNIVERSAL STORY II
Taken from Gertrude Stein's poem Sacred Emily, it is often referred to the idea of ‘things are what they are’.
For the final part of the ‘Flower Series’ I relied on the pseudo ‘science’ of flower symbolism.
Although enticing, the origins of this emotive encyclopaedia remain unclear.
‘By mixing rose blooms of different colours purposefully, you can create a bouquet of emotions. It would convey mixed feelings or send a message of “I‘don't know what my feelings are yet but I sure do like you enough to send you roses.”’
‘An orange rose reminds us of a fiery blaze and signify passion and energy. Orange roses can be used to express intense desire, pride and fervour.’
‘Yellow Roses are an expression of exuberance. They evoke sunny feelings of joy, warmth, welcome and caring.’
‘White flowers are generally associated with new beginnings and can be used to convey sympathy or humility.’
‘Red roses convey deep emotions.’
There is an estimate of 150 common psychological, behavioural and physical symptoms that are known to be caused by ongoing changes in the hormone levels. The intensity of these changes depends on age and varies from person to person. Although there is compelling evidence that symptoms are directly related to the occurring fluctuation of hormone levels during the menstrual cycle The National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome explains that the precise causes of PMS is still to be identified.
Premenstrual Syndrome - PMS also known as Premenstrual Tension - PMT remain to be a nebulous terms, filled with gaps in medical knowledge and research often due to poor funding. The long list of the150 symptoms can often be anything and in dire need for a more detailed classification. This neglect in science often reminds me of pseudo ‘science’ of flower symbolism
On a hot and sunny summer day in north London studio, we carefully placed and replaced a selection of voluminous roses for that perfect mirror reflection. A few roses were left intact in their whole bloom and other trimmed and chopped with a kitchen knife – this, to show the tight layers of fresh petals – layers of beauty and fragility, side by side.
At a first glance, it is not easy to distinguish the rose reflection from the original object. The fuzzy mirror reflection of the roses aims to highlight the feelings of uncertainty and whether mood swings are the true representation of one’s true self or just a passing phase of hormonal ebb and flow.
The hide and seek dance of the petals and the frameless mirrors with the myriad of colours, is used as a device to retell the ambiguous nature of the floods of mixed emotions – a widely know experience of many girls and women in parts of the menstrual cycle and particularly the pre-period days. At times the mixed feelings are subtle and swift in their presence which makes it difficult to pinpoint their true meaning and origin. Subsequently this uncertainty often leads to a misinterpretation of one's character and a misjudged proof of poor endurance and resilience. By Hedieh Anvari