Hi Eva! Could you describe in a few sentences who you are, where you come from and why you became a designer?
Hey DDW! My name is Eva Visch. Just graduated in IN_architecture from ArtEZ. I was born in Oosterwolde (a village in Gelderland), lived in Zwolle for a long time and most recently I've been living with my boyfriend in Wapenveld (another village in Gelderland).
I mainly started designing because it offers the opportunity to respond to many different themes. This way, I can fully dive into a subject or material for a period. I do occasionally have the habit of getting a little too into things. This week I was making jam for the first time, and before I knew it, I was making labels and getting lost in daydreams of a jam factory in the shed.
You shared a photo of "Feel the water chair" on Instagram. The reactions to it ranged from super cool to what should you do with it? What was your idea behind the work?
Haha! You can say that yes; "Elite bullshit, go for a swim." was my favourite ?. First, I wanted to make a boat; the idea of a space in or underwater seemed just cool to me. But I soon found out that it was not about sailing, but about the transition from land to water. The things I make are often about a transition or are located on boundaries like in this case, the waterfront.
The chair floats and sinks into the water as soon as you step into it due to the weight of your body. That feels uncomfortable, as any transition actually is, a change. That insecurity is also gone as soon as you sit down, but it comes back when you transition back to the land. Because the chair is primarily made of latex, you can see and feel the water under and around you.
What characterises your work, and how do you get inspired?
Actually, all the things I make have a weakness. That sounds a little vague, and it is.
I look around me, and I see people striving for perfection and control. Everything seems smooth, plastered, secured or fenced in. Not only pictures go through a filter, but also what we say and the environment in which we live. As a result, nothing can go wrong, but nothing can really be felt. I want to reduce control and blur boundaries, make them thinner or flexible. I am actually looking for a more humane way of designing. The safest would be a bunker, every window or door could be seen as a reduction in safety, but it also places you more in the world.
You work mostly with rubber. What do you find so interesting about the material?
That's right, liquid latex, in particular, has become something of an obsession. I think it appeals to me particularly because it is flexible and semi-transparent without tearing quickly. It also builds up in different layers well, which creates a difference in thickness, so it always feels a bit like I'm sketching.
This year's theme for DDW is The new intimacy. Your project, 'rethinking closeness', is very much in line with that. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Contact changed enormously due to the coronavirus. Of course, there were opportunities to see and hear each other, but I noticed that people mainly missed being able to touch each other. For example, I found window meetings extremely uncomfortable to watch because it almost feels like Skype conversation. Often people don't even necessarily have anything to tell each other but just want to be together and sit next to each other.
In my opinion, shielding had to move flexibly between people and not only serve as a splash screen but also be a new meeting place. I then started to focus on the front door as a boundary.
By focussing my thesis on closeness in times of COVID-19, my work, like the precepts, changed from moment to moment. It was sometimes stressful but otherwise very good for me; I like to adapt to the things I have seen in my environment. Then, for example, I saw problems popping up in parks and decided to respond to them. Every time I was reinventing ways to live together. A few weeks before the final exhibition, I looked at my work and saw a kind of sea of beige and pink. I intended to imitate skin, and I realised that I was only using the shade of my own skin. Then I started to use dark skin colours in addition to my own skin colour.
The coronavirus has shaken up the (design) world. What impact has it had on you so far and what's your outlook on the future?
The academy (ed. ArtEZ) closed, everyone emptied the studios with the idea that it would not last long. When I had all my work at home, I realised that the project I was working on was too big to make without a workshop and it didn't fit into the new way of life. At the time, I was working on a water pavilion that changes size and height etc. in response to a group gathering. But now the space had to change to accommodate gatherings. I started designing with this in mind.
I think there will be even more changes in the near future. Which may result in the ways of people go out and experience culture having to change permanently. I think it will be on a smaller scale and more local.
You are now graduating, a milestone! What would you like to achieve in the future?
Yes, it's weird, suddenly it's all done! Last week I picked up my diploma and now I have an interview with you, so far I am satisfied. I eventually want to be able to quit my cleaning job and start working full time in my studio.
What is the most notable or remarkable project you have made during your studies?
Hmm in hindsight, that's a house I based on a story from "The Book of Imaginary Beings" by Jorge Louis Borges. The Celestial Stag. In the story, the Celestial Stag lives in the mines and wants nothing more than to live above the ground. But when this happens it will mean the end of the world. I made a house, in which the Celestial Stag, imprisoned for the greater good, lives underground, with connections so that it could still experience some of the world above. Then it was fantastic to design a house for a non-existent animal. Now it sometimes almost seems like reality.
If you could choose one person in the world to work with (a designer, politician, artist, scientist or anyone else), who would it be and why?
If I could, I would work with Eva Hesse, besides being my namesake, she also had a love for latex. I love her work. She didn't have an easy time with being an artist, but I think that's why it feels so genuine and nuanced.