Alicia Milton (she/her)
I am multi-disciplinary designer who works within and in-between the realms of digital and physical design. My work uses a variety of print and image making techniques, including collage, cut and paste methods, screen printing, and most recently embroidery. My work explores political, social, cultural themes, and tries to deconstruct societal ideas. I like to experiment with ways of engaging the audience, by withholding information and creating some kind of mystery. My work is a balance between research and experimentation, and the two rely on each other to form my practice.
Roads To Nowhere
Roads to Nowhere is in one part, an exploration of post-war social housing in Glasgow and the UK, and one part, a deconstruction of my own and others’ opinions on Brutalism. Commenting on the idea of nostalgia and the romanticising of the past, and how this can ignore the problems faced by some of the most vulnerable. Exploring themes of place and nostalgia, as well as identity, class, and taste, this project began as a walk through the North of Glasgow city centre and a personal fascination with the Concrete blocks of motorway and Tower Block Flats that I found myself getting lost in. I wanted to learn about what came before this gigantic, loud, and complicated set of roads and what people thought of such an immense feature.
It is interesting to me that post-war Brutalist buildings that were built to remove social hierarchies through socialist ideologies, and the encouragement of communal living -‘cities in the sky’ – now have become a part of the spectrum of low-brow and high-brow culture. I started realising through this project and my fascination with the Utopian dreams of the Brutalists and Modernists, that I was completely disregarding the lives that were inside these concrete blocks – in the same way I must have been disregarding the lives of those living in ‘council-flats’ through internalised-classicism by regarding these places as unattractive and uninviting. This work is my exploration into this middle ground of narratives and opinions that I haven’t really seen talked about.
These are some selected spreads and an essay, ‘Multi-storey Memories’, I wrote for my final publication for Roads To Nowhere.
One Size Fits All
Alongside my ‘Roads To Nowhere’ brief that explored the identity of Scottish post-war housing, my research explored a wider issue that has often prevailed throughout the UK.
One Size Fits All was a phrase that came to mind when I was thinking of some of the more complicated ideas of Modernism and more specifically, Le Corbusier’s ‘Le Modular’ and the idea of a Universal within design. The statement itself can be found on an all-manner-of things, generally within marketing a product, and suggests that it can be used by anyone and everyone; ‘all’. I’m unsure if we will ever know if there is a “one-size”/one way of living that could suit every person, but the use of this statement in the context of a ‘failed utopian dream’ gives a sarcastic and satirical tone, that boils down the ideas and philosophies of modernists of a modular, universal lifestyle to one particular – maybe narrow minded – viewpoint. The phrase gives a sarcastic overview of the social housing movement throughout Britain in the 60s and the idea that all the people of one demographic can be put in a box. The idea that one idea and one style of living will work for everyone in one demographic is a gross over-estimation of the Modernist, but this was not helped by Government and councils’ implementation of their ideas that were cheap and poorly planned.
This statement and poster can be interpreted in multiple ways, which is something I often do when creating multi-layered work. I sometimes find that more meaning comes from the development process, and that accidents or subtle changes can add a whole new dimension
This statement connected with one avenue of research, regarding the change in opinion toward multi-storey tower blocks that were being built in Britain. Applauded as awe-inspiring and influential pieces of architecture, and then scorned for being eyesores on the city only decades apart from one another. More recognition, more praise, and more admiration.
‘Stayin Inside’, aimed to reconnect people across the UK through our shared experiences of continued lockdowns in response to the global pandemic. As we began 2021 in yet another strict lock-down, I felt a large sense of grief for the year that I could have had at Glasgow School of Art. Meeting my course mates face-to-face, sitting down to group tutorials with all our tutors, exploring the buildings facilities, and spending days in the Caseroom and printing to my heart’s content.
I decided on a postal project that used a booklet with questions and blank pages, to be sent out to peers, friends, and old tutors. From the responses I set to create work that focused on trusting the process of experimentation. Through this project, I felt a real sense of connection seeing the marks and illustrations made by the respondents, and it was a fulfilling experience.
I wish to continue this project through smaller postcards, which will be available to pick up at our physical degree showcase, at SaltSpace.