Alumni Profiles: Interview with Master Graduate Pascal Magino

04.03.2021
Design Office Bueronardin for the Richard Neutra Exhibition at Vienna Museum. Photo: David Schreyer

Alumni Profiles: Research in Design, Art and Media

In order to follow the many different paths students go down after completing their studies at the Merz Akademie master program, we have begun interviewing graduates all working in different areas. We recently interviewed Pascal Magino who has been working in Vienna as a designer in the office Bueronardin Studio for Visual Communication.

Merz Akademie: It’s been a while, coming up on 5 years since you graduated…I was wondering if you could nonetheless begin by telling me something about your thesis and final project?

Pascal Magino: Uff, you’re right… that was a long time ago… In my thesis I studied different theories of terrorism and compared them to masochistic, self-harming, performance art practices, trying to show some parallels but also, of course, to highlight the many differences. More specifically, my work was about the “staging” of terrorist acts, going in the direction of the production of iconic images that lead to mass media dissemination and at the same time the question of transgression in artistic positions that also work with this moment of shock. Ultimately, the provocative and even a little polemic question was what are the distinguishing characteristics of art and where are the boundaries to something else? This theoretical work was completed with an artistic exploration of the questions raised: a publication, several diary-like magazines, a video work and a photo series took up threads from the theoretical work and developed the ideas further in a more or less abstract form.

Analogue Photography by Pascal Magino

Merz Akademie: Tell me something about your situation since you graduated. What have you done – professionally, in life, how have you developed artistically, creatively?

Pascal Magino: After completing my studies, I applied to quite a few graphic design offices, applying pretty much all over the place—even if they didn’t have any jobs listed. After 5 years in Stuttgart, I really wanted to get to know something new… Berlin or Vienna were the most likely destinations, and after various interviews I ended up in a small graphic design office in Vienna where I was able to begin working. I’ve been working as a designer there (Bueronardin) for 5 years now. At the moment there are four of us and we work a lot for clients in the cultural sector, architects, artists, but also commercial companies. The demands made of us are pretty broad—depending on the different clients—which means that the work is quite varied and always requires finding new solutions. Aside from the graphic design work for catalogues, posters, folders and the like, we work a lot with visual communication in space (for exhibitions / festivals), moving images (animations) but also photography and art direction. Because of this wide array of challenges, I have been forced to continually develop my skills and to work with new techniques and technologies.

Aside from my work in the design office, I am currently mostly involved with music, working in different constellations on various projects. There’s not always time for much more, but I still do a lot of analogue photography and try to realize one or the other graphic project of my own. It is difficult to pursue all of my interests at once with the same level of concentration…one or the other area is usually a little more in focus.

Catalogue and Poster for the "Sex in Wien" Exhibition at Vienna Museum. Photo: Bueronardin

Merz Akademie: If you were to study again, what would you do differently?

Pascal Magino: I believe that knowing what I know now, I would perhaps focus a little more on graphic design right from the start – as that’s what I enjoy most in everyday professional life. At the same time, I am very happy that the Merz Akademie gave me the opportunity to try out different areas and also work on interdisciplinary projects. What I would definitely make more use of are the workshop courses and facilities. I didn’t have such a great need for them during my studies, but I would really like to work with them now.

Merz Akademie: How did you proceed after your studies? Besides “being lucky” and “hard work”, what do you need to advance professionally and to develop further?

Pascal Magino: First and foremost, you need joy, curiosity, interest and passion for what you want to do. If you can show that authentically, I think a lot has already been achieved. Otherwise, I learned from my own application process that it is never a mistake to apply proactively. Many small offices rarely advertise positions. And job interviews that do not lead directly to a position can also be very valuable: on the one hand, to learn to better assess yourself and the effect of your work; on the other hand, because there is always the possibility that you might work with them sometime in the future. All in all: general openness is always a big plus!

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