| Art

Nestor Pestana Speculative Designer

Nestor Pestana is a speculative designer making work that explores the modern world through a philosophers eyes.

[dropcap style=”font-size:100px;color:#992211;”]N[/dropcap]estor Pestana identifies as a ‘speculative designer’ his ‘projects’ he states, are expressed in a number of ways which combine film, animation and musings on science and modern life. Through his lens we see the nightmare of a homogenised, normalised culture safe to the point of numbness.

Video still from ‘The Interviewee’ Nestor Pestana

“Standards are of great precision in today’s world and we accept them in all aspects of life. Mechanical appliances, tools, building material, are all increasingly made to standards, to be alike, each category homogeneous, its members interchangeable. It is actually very hard to imagine a time when almost nothing was standardized. Humans had also to apply standards to themselves in order to belong to the system that they have created. Hereafter, standardization can be interpreted to mean homogenization of human beings, as of mechanical parts. Companies, for instance, have their own systems in which employees are submitted to fit certain standards,” Nestor Pestana, http://nestorpestana.co.uk

Video still from ‘The Interviewee’ Nestor Pestana

The quote above refers to a work called, ‘The Interviewee’ a short video piece which worries away at the modern worlds obsession with banal rules, corporate culture and the growing trend of standardisation. The aesthetic is clean and clearly satirical recalling the famous video ‘The Perfect Human’ (Click to watch) by Jurgan Leth.

Still from ‘The Perfect Human’ by Jorgen Leth

This is mixed with the interview scenes from ‘Blade Runner’ and given a cool modern Bauhaus reference as the interviewee (a young woman) is treated like a photo-copier being given a tune up and checked for bugs. Its depressing but wry and distanced, the feeling is not one of abject suffering but of acquiescence to a lame and unconvincing set of modern ethics. We should think about that, is it really how we want our time to be remembered?

Voight-Kampff Test from Blade Runner

This feeling of intelligent detachment is perhaps a little dated now having been the persona of choice during the 80s 90s and early 2000s but perhaps also this is a defensive measure in an increasingly banal and draining world. Its clear that this work is clever, full of references to theory and courting or challenging the sciences in equal measure.

Night School on Anarres is an educational experiment examining the utopian proposals of twentieth-century anarchism. A collaboration with designers Onkar Kular and Noam Toran (click image to see the animation)

This gives the designer the feeling of a theorist or philosopher and his works appear like thought experiments or mini scientific demonstrations, greater emotional vulnerability from the artist might make this more engaging but overall there is a lot of positive to take from the practice, and a sense of anticipation that he is on the cusp of something great.

Quasi Object by Nestor Pestana in collaboration with Joana Pestana (click image to see animated version)

Artists thoughts

‘The Perfect Human’ was indeed one of my references for The Interviewee! I also like the link with Blade Runner, and understand why the approach might seem a little dated, although I think it is good to remind people of these things. This is one of my oldest projects and it marks the start of a series of explorations on what it means to be human, specially in a world that is so characterised and driven by technologies.
In terms of upcoming projects, I am currently working on some animations that will be screened at the Design Museum as part of this event (designers in residence takeover)
The animations are based on this work: http://nestorpestana.co.uk/The-Infumis – exploring how bio-technologies might open up a new perception of our bodies, as a malleable material, and perhaps even new forms of interactions with our environments. Some previews of the animations in here
Although my latest projects might seem a little different from The Interviewee. My new projects; After Information – The Infumis, they share a lot in common. The Interviewee is a protest piece, a critique to a society that sort of wants to standardise the body. The Infumis is a sort of response in a way: it provides a more holistic understanding of the human body and assumes its biological nature. The human body is not an isolated entity that can be precisely measured, as presented in the Interviewee, but a complex ecosystem that expands to the environment through layers of biodiversity – bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that work together in symbiotic relationships and that play an important role in defining who we are. Understanding the body in this way, might open opportunities to take advantage of these symbiotic relationships and perhaps even designing new ones! It is fascinating! I could spend hours talking about this!
Artists website website

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