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The cover design of this month was created by Crew 6 from “Hyper Island” in Karlskrona, Sweden. This is an edicational institution that provides the knowledges of the new media industry and the design skills. Shift has been paying a keen attention to their activities and we are happy to introduce you Crew 6, who made a great success of the first exhibition that was organised by students only in Hyper Island, in this month. Find out how the exhibition actually went and their two years in this school.

Please introduce yourself as well as all members of Crew 6.

Hej (Konichiwa/Hello)!

My name is Fredrik Averpil and I am one of 44 proud members of Crew 6, which is the sixth generation of Hyper Island students. I am 22 years of age and I am originally from Goteborg, the second largest city in Sweden. Before I went to Hyper Island I studied natural science and media communications, so I have a fairly technical background. At Hyper Island I have played the role as the database technician, the graphic designer and the project manager. However I am unsure if I am ready to choose which occupation I want to stick with. I need to be flexible and hope to be able to combine at least two of these in my future working situation.

The average age in Crew 6 is 25 and we all have various backgrounds. Most of us came here directly from upper secondary school or from working life.
Hyper Island have applicants from all over the world that want to come to study here but since the education requires one to be able to understand and speak Swedish, almost everyone in Crew 6 come from cities throughout Sweden. We also have one person from Finland and one person from Ireland studying in Crew 6, but of course they speak Swedish too.

What does Crew 6 mean?

This is confusing to many people, but let me try to straight it out.
The education at Hyper Island is two years long. During these two years you belong to a Crew. There are right now seven Crews and we belong to the sixth one, hence Crew 6.

To make things even more complicated there are always two Crews studying at the same time at the school. However Crew 7 has one year left on their education while Crew 6 is graduating TODAY (!!!). After the summer, Crew 8 will be formed and start their first year at Hyper Island.
In Swedish, the digit 6 is pronounced sex. This has nothing to do with Crew 6. Ahem. Yeah. Right.

Please tell us your school, Hyper Island. Is the island itself the educational institution? What sort of the educational system Hyper Island takes?

I have heard a rumor about that Hyper Island is a mysterious prison, located on a small island always covered in a thick mist.
Well it is pretty much like that actually. The school is an old restored naval prison just by the sea in the most southeastern parts of Sweden. This makes it a perfect place for all of you who really like cold weather and lots of rain. Actually the weather does not really matter since you are always tied up in projects and working late to meet deadlines.

Hyper Island does not really resemble any prison at all except for the way the cell-like rooms are constructed. There is a huge glass roof that lets the sun shine right down onto the wooden floor which makes the bright interiors even brighter. The whole environment is very creative. Not like any school you have ever been to I am sure.
Also, at Hyper Island you get to borrow your own computer (or bring your own) that sits on your place in your cell. You are two people in one cell, with at least one computer each.

Hyper Island is a vocational education, containing two different branches: Design & Technology and Business & Management. When studying D&T you are focusing on creative processes such as graphic design and programming. When studying B&M you take on the role as a project manager or a team leader. In projects there are always a mix of D&T students and B&M students.

You have rights to study allowances when studying at Hyper Island to not have to cover all your expenses on your own.

What makes Hyper Island so much more different from other schools is that we do not have lectures or teachers. We do have seminars with people from the working life though, which I think is much better.
The whole education is focused on the practical sides of learning. You are being taught how to solve problems, no matter what the problems are. This is also why we spend of the whole education to do an internship at a company. Most schools are dealing with WHAT they are doing, while Hyper Island focuses a lot on HOW to do it.
If you think Hyper Island is all about graphic design you are mistaken. It happens to be one ingredient, but a great portion of what you learn at Hyper Island also has to do with group dynamics.

The lessons are provided by skilled professionals at Hyper Island. Studying this good environment must be a great and exciting experience for you. Have you got a good relationship with your teachers?

It is a luxury to hear about i.e. the re-design of SAS (Scandinavian Airline Systems) or what the process was like when creating the Absolut Vodka commercial. We get people from companies in every field that are best at what they do to, not only from the new media industry.
Of course we maintain a contact with our lecturers, some students even use them as mentors. In most cases all of our lecturers are happy to answer any of our questions whether they are school related or not.

Could you please tell us about Hyper Island Exhibition 2002 that was held in May?

All students of Crew 6 have been working for some time now on their final exam projects, the longest and hardest individual project before we are all graduating. Twenty exam projects were showcased in Stockholm, Sweden this May and it was a total success. We have received tons of positive feedback and since this was the first time any Crew organized their own exam exhibition we are all very proud that we made it this well.

The special thing about this exhibition is that we organized it ourselves with very little help from the school.

We launched a fairly big marketing campaign of our exhibition. There were posters all over Stockholm. We were wondering why the posters were taken away so fast and it turned out to be partly because Stockholm has a very efficient street cleaning, but also because people liked the poster and took it down to bring with them. The posters and flyers, designed by Lotta Rahmn of Crew 6, was an important reason why there were so many visitors coming to our exhibition.

What do you feel now after planning and organizing this event?

I feel relieved. It has been hectic, frustrating yet fun. I learned more from this project than any other project throughout my whole time here at Hyper Island.
We were four people Asa Hoistad, Susanna Warborn, Anders Denne and myself who organized the whole event and together with the rest of the class we made it happen.

As for the cover design for this issue, what sort of process did you take to run this project? What did you image?  Please pick up the difficult points when you were making this design and your favourite points of it.

We were a few people that put some time aside the final exam project and the exhibition to figure out what we should do. We had many ideas but it was first when we narrowed down what kind of feeling we wanted to mediate that the process started. We wanted to illustrate the bonding between Japan and Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland). We have the impression of that many designers and people in general in Japan and Scandinavia are intrigued by each others designs and cultures. At least, many of us are.

An illustration of a supposedly Scandinavian boy and a Japanese girl kissing would in some ways mediate what we wanted to achieve. The illustration was made by Mira Nameth of Crew 6.

We also thought it would be appropriate to show everyone that Hyper Island is not only focused on graphic design, but that we possess the technical skills too, hence the colliding balls with the SHIFT letters inside, coded by Johan Halse of Crew 6.

You are going to graduate soon. You will work as a professional at the media industry, not a student. What would you advise to students who wish to study this area from now on? Also, please tell us your ambition to the future.

I think it is very important to find out about who you are and what it is you really want to spend your life doing (I am not totally sure yet myself). I think that the key to feel accomplished is very often to be able to be flexible and not only to be really good at one single thing. That is what I have learned throughout my days at Hyper Island. Take time to experiment when you can, start up projects with your friends, try a little of this and a little of that whenever there is time.

Right now I think it can be very hard to find a decent job in the media industry, but as long as you feel confident that you are the man for the job and you can prove it you have nothing to fear.

After spending six months in New York at Method Inc during my internship I am unsure whether to stay in Sweden to work or to return to New York. I have also been thinking about immigrating to the video games industry, after developing a Nintendo Gameboy Advance game as my final exam project together with my class mate Johan Halse.

Please leave a message to Shift readers.

It is 4.20am and it is bright outside now. This is something I am familiar with by now. Studying at Hyper Island has to me meant lack of sleep, lots of pizza and coca cola since the first day. However, this is something you choose yourself. I chose this life to get as much out of my time at Hyper Island as possible, and to not have to do this later in my life.

In six hours I am no longer a student at Hyper Island, since that is when my graduation is. I got to go home and get some sleep before it is time to get up and get ready for the long day that awaits me and the rest of Crew 6.

Take care and be nice to each other.
From Sweden with Love,

Hyper Island
Address: Bastionsgatan 14, S-371 32 Karlskrona, Sweden
Tel: +46-455-30 77 77

Text: Sachiko Kurashina

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.