Also! Project at Wanted Design
I just completed teaching Design Performance for the first time in the inaugural year of SVA’s MFA program in Products of Design. I developed Design Performance for the department at the request of my department chair and mentor, Allan Chochinov. Design Performance is a five week course that examines the rituals of design exhibition and pushes students to explore and develop the space and behaviors they stage around the pedestal instead of solely fixating on the artifacts they place upon the pedestal. The official course description is here. The five weeks of the course at year’s end are followed by three intensive weeks of supervised production wherein the students prepare their work for public viewing.
The process my students went through culminated in “ALSO! Project,” which we presented at Wanted Design this passed weekend. The reception by the public and design community was beyond expectation. I am thrilled. We got a great tip of the hat from Julie Lasky on page 2 of her review of design week for the New York Times. Margaret Badore gave us a huge shout out in a dedicated post on Treehugger. And there’s a thoughtful post on Core77 by Ray Hu with some valuable crit and suggestions. The department has thoroughly documented the project on its blog here.
The coverage aside, I am primarily proud of the 16 dedicated individuals who dared to be this department’s first class and who followed me down the rabbit hole for the first run of my course. It was not always an easy ride. I am grateful to them for their trust and for their patience as I worked out the ideas of the class for the first time. They are an amazingly close, creative and energetic group. They deserve all the praise they are getting. They are (from left to right above in white shirts):
Zena Verda Pesta
Gaia Orain (not pictured)
The work they did in Design Performance was a group project. Each student took on specific responsibilities based on their strengths as unique designers but they worked as one and deserve to take credit equally.
Kathryn McElroy gets a massive photo credit; her insane diligence and skill is best seen on the ALSO! Project documentation tumblr. Additional credit is due to PoD faculty member Benjamin Critton who provided graphic direction and supervision for the project, actors Jason Schuler and Anna Foss Wilson who provided voice overs for “BOOM”, and Samantha Hinds and Marko Manriquez for their tireless coordination of administrative and technical needs of the department and students. Many thanks to Claire Pijoulat & Odile Hainaut of Wanted Design for hosting us, giving us carte blanche to do our work and providing access to the space and vendors. And last but not least, huge thanks to my mentor and friend Allan Chochinov for bringing me on as faculty and even bigger congratulations on an incredibly successful first year with the department. Here’s to many more!