Mu You reflects on his experience on Foundation at Central Saint Martins

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With the Foundation Show just days away, we spoke to Foundation Performance Design and Practice student Mu You about his experience on the course and how he is feeling about the show.

Tell us about your practice.

Mu: I’m interested in solving and transforming the human body through my design. Hence, the focus of my practice is always centered on designing for the body with garments and accessories. During the diagnostic phase of the course, I emphasised heavily on fashion and jewellery design but finally landed in Performance Design and Practice for the specialist phase. This introduced me to other ways of transforming the body as well, for example through dance, body movement and lighting, etc.

What are the main inspirations for your work?

Mu: I’m always attracted to mysterious and yet tempting aspect of life, and sometimes even the evil and horrifying essence. My inspirations span across the decaying nature and the forgotten city corners, the violent psychiatric world and the bare clinical practice, the worshiped and the passed-away. I don’t usually intend to search for answers but rather grown on and express the ongoing explorations and emotions.

How are you and your fellow students feeling in the build up to the Foundation show?

Mu: Mostly excited and slightly nervous. It’s the very first time I will show my work in a public exhibition, and I am looking forward to seeing how an audience might react. I am absolutely confident in the costumes I have made but am eager to hear what an audience might have to say about the short film, since it’s quite experimental and also the first film I have ever produced.

We all feel very excited and confident. As performance design students, we definitely have the most varied forms of work and thus varied ways of presenting. It’s going to be the most fun and adventurous space to explore.

Tell us about the process leading up to the show.

Mu: As students, we participated in the curation in various ways; displaying images, hanging, lighting setup and screen placement. Photographs, a short film and one of the two costumes I made will be shown in the exhibition.

How does this show differ from others you’ve worked on so far?

Mu: This is the very first show I’ve participated in, so I can only say that everything is quite new to me. Our tutors allowed us to decide how we want our work to be displayed and influence the entire show. That’s just amazing.

What are your post-show plans?

Mu: I’m attending an MA course, which will benefit from both my experience here at Foundation and my previous BA degree in advertising. I’ll also work on my design projects in my and focus more on costume/fashion design practice.

Why did you choose to study Foundation at CSM?

Mu: Initially, I applied for a BA course but my interviewer decided I needed more exposure to all fields of design practice and put me in the diagnostic pathway. It was a little hard to accept but eventually I realised it was necessary to explore more and to spend time finding my own inspirations and voice of design. My experience on this course later proved the decision wise.

How have you developed your work while on the Foundation course at Central Saint Martins?

Mu: I came from a non-design background, and Foundation helped me grow tremendously. All the taught sessions and workshops constantly exposed me to new techniques, different observation angles and innovative thinking perspectives. I was encouraged to try a lot of new things like surface experiment, model making, choreographing and filming. They all eventually were merged into my work. The course, especially the specialist phase in Performance Design and Practice introduced and urged me to a more profound mixture related to and centred on my interest in designing for the human body.

What were your highlights on Foundation course at CSM and why would you recommend it?

Mu: The diagnostic phase was definitely refreshing and exciting, with different design approaches every week diverse enough to challenge me to absorb different ideas, techniques and perspectives, and to constantly question myself and what I want to do. The personal project was another highlight, it allowed me to freely express myself and also push forward to new possibilities within my practice. And don’t miss out all the stitch and 3D workshops they are really interesting and useful – I wish I had spent more time with those.

How would you describe the Foundation Course? What is a typical day like?

Mu: Busy and devoted. It’s so competitive that everyone pushes themselves forward. Typically days are intense sessions with rapid practices and crazy idea development like “go-go-go”, followed by more research or development by going to the library or practicing at home, plus consistent reflections on our progress.

What advice would you give a Foundation student starting the course?

Mu: Expose yourself to as much as possible, and yet always stay true to your initial instincts. The world of art and design is colourful, so your unique vision is vital. Always be curious and playful.

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