From the genesis of an early passion that sparked a longstanding career up until their most recent projects, their festival keynotes gave each pause to reflect on the full spectrum of their lives and creativity thus far, as well as a chance to look ahead toward everything that’s still to come.
To learn more about the journeys each had taken to bring them to this moment in their careers, Semi Permanent sat down with three of our keynote speakers for a series of video interviews to delve deeper into their practice during their time at the festival in the back of the 2023 Genesis GV60.
With an array of specification upgrades, the features of the all-electric GV60 share in the spirit of technical ingenuity and design innovation that characterises each of our interview subjects.
Take, for example, technologies like Face Connect and Fingerprint Start, both of which unlock the 2023 GV60 using biometric facial recognition and are also capable of starting the GV60, enabling instant recall of personalisation settings and access to a range of other useful functions.
Or a suite of Genesis Connected Services which includes the introduction of Over-The-Air software capabilities to grant drivers the convenience of wireless remote vehicle system updates.
The evolution of Evi O
For the multi-disciplinary designer and self-taught artist Evi O, establishing her namesake studio was an inadvertent extension of a lifelong tendency to construct imaginary worlds - not only for herself, but for others to play in too.
“I think as humans we do have the craving to belong”, she says. “[In the design studio] we definitely want to belong. Without our context, the people we work with, we mean nothing. We want to experiment not just in design or art, but also in culture, in work, in our philosophy, beliefs and values in the time that they [the studio designers] live within our world. And that goes with clients as well.”
As part of their design practice, Evi-O.Studio’s output encompasses books, brand identity, websites and creative collaborations that for Evi feel less like work and more like the fantastical playtime she indulged in as a child, inspired by the books her grandmother gave her by way of an early introduction to creativity. “I think I am proud just to be here, if that makes sense,” she says. “I'm very fortunate to be able to play every day and not feel like it's work.”
Chris Yee’s suburbs-to-superstars epic
If storytelling is the most important part of the artist, filmmaker and designer Chris Yee’s practice, finally having the chance to tell his own story at Semi Permanent 2023 was nothing short of surreal - and a little affirming too.
“[My story] is really about me not feeling like myself and that evolving through time through creative expression”, says Yee. “I've had so many ups and downs and different identities and different hats.”
Yee’s vast and varied body of work has (so far) encompassed illustration, work for brands and global superstar musicians, animation, textiles, web design and, finally, fine art that “borrows a lot from traditional Asian ornamentation and then kind of fuses it with humour and composition of something a bit more Western.” Most recently, his story — which began in and very much celebrates his roots in the Sydney suburbs of Eastwood and Ryde — has culminated in the production of documentary films that aim to celebrate the nuances of Asian-Australian stories and perspectives - the kind that he says “can make Australia feel globally big and not what you would expect from how we're projected overseas.”
“It's weird”, he concedes of the necessary process of self-reflection in crafting his own epic biography to tell on stage. “It's kind of embarrassing, like looking at all your work together and seeing a lot of stuff, a lot of fails, a lot of weird stuff — but then it comes together in the end.”
The skip button doesn’t phase Filipe Carvalho
It wasn’t until he wrote the name of one of cinema’s greatest directors on a title card that Lisbon-based Filipe Carvalho unwittingly realised he had become, well, a title designer.
“I was working on a frame in Photoshop and I was writing [their name] and I was like, ‘Oh wow. I'm writing [their] name on my frame for a job. So I'm a title designer.’ That was cool”, Carvalho recalls.
Despite that realisation, however, he “really still [doesn’t] quite identify as a creative.” It’s a surprising admission for the designer and director who this year was not only responsible for creating Semi Permanent’s opening titles, but who also lead a masterclass and delivered a keynote on the art of creating impactful, iconic opening titles for film and television of the kind that can’t be skipped.
A web-turned-motion designer, Carvalho possesses a dry sense of humour and — by his own admission — a darkness that he says is not only typical of his countrymen, but is also discernible in his title design. “The darkness is always something that inspires me when I'm doing TV work and film work. And that clearly shows in the work that I do.”
Underneath that darkness, however, is a palpable love of moviemaking craft; for Carvalho, an Emmy-award winner, title design grants him proximity to the world’s best storytellers and the chance to distil their vision down to a singular frame — one that can’t be skipped.
“I think the skip button didn't really change my approach to title design,” Carvalho says. “[People] want them to be good and they're looking for them to a certain degree. [Whether] it's 60 seconds, maybe it's two minutes, maybe it's just a title card - we're not thinking about the skip button.”