Interview with Teona Teodorescu for the Baseline blog.
Teona Teodorescu is a recent graduate of the University of Westminster. We had a chance to catch up with Teona to discuss her latest project, ‘IN-BETWEEN’, an observation of the changing politics and identity of Transylvania. Recently Teona was selected as ‘one to watch’ at this year’s D&AD New Blood festival in London.
‘The choice of my final major project topic has been made following my participation within the European educational project entitled “IN BETWEEN”, together with five other students from Austria, Hungary and Romania. This was organised by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity Institute (ENRS), Poland, having Magdalena Fryze-Seroka as the main coordinator of the initiative and Malgorzata Tomaszkiewicz, the local coordinator.’
‘Transylvania is a territory that has changed its borders at specific historical times, having its character shaped by various migration waves of distinct ethnic groups. Because of this, it challenges concepts like identity, borderland, memories of the past and present realities. These make one question the state of transcultural, which becomes a state of being in-between, in a hybrid reality where one has got multiple parallel coexisting and continuously negotiated identities.
‘Using primary academic sources, drawn from seven different ethnic and social groups, this project explores the phenomena of in-betweenness in Transylvania. Interviews, oral history and direct observation, as research methods, have led to print based outcomes that visually represent the essence of this abstract, but universal idea.’
‘This process has been developed around notions of identity, borderland, memories of the past and present realities, also mentioned above. All of these share a common ground in terms of change, movement, time, personal experience, journey, abstractness, constructivism. Designed using a layout based on various possible ways of folding, the interactive print outcome takes the user on a non-linear, sensorial and personal journey of exploring ‘in-betweenness’.
The use of multiple layers invites one to immerse into the details of the work, getting closer to it and stepping back. The sans-serif typeface used for text and graphics contrasts with the locally predominantly serif typographic elements found during the field-research in Transylvania and used as part of the graphics of the project. Sepia-toned images, found in archives, build up an arguably ‘nostalgic’ mood that is animated by the bright orange used for the type and the book covers. Geometric features, revealed in large-scale type and shapes, which spread across the graphics, give a sense of dynamism and link to the notions of borders and entangled identities.’
‘It was a first-hand research venture, which taught me about the beauty and the value of history and stories, that of listening to them, learning from them and discovering. It was a journey of connecting with people, with the past and present, with heritage and with myself, coming from Romania.
‘These projects taught me a significant range of new technical skills and made me more comfortable and confident with using different pieces of software from designing the graphics and plan the content of the book to more hands-on design techniques. At the same time, I feel that my attention to details has also increased, I have learnt to make quicker decisions and keep myself focused when working under pressure. Lastly, this experience taught me to always try and remind myself to be genuine about the choices I am making, and listen to my instincts while putting them in a functional context.’