This experimental project was from my Visual Process class at Fashion Institute of Technology. Students explored a set of learning processes combining imovie, garage band that utilized video techniques to create a visual narrative project designed with icons, symbols and visual images. They used ipods as a device to first record sound, then import it into garage band to create video solutions. The final projects were created as quicktime movies.
Featured above is the work of two students Nori Inoue and Brian Aquaria who worked as a team to create a project that documents the identity system of three different Olympic Games.
Students developed educational kits for Museums that implore writing systems of non-westerns cultures.
Over the year’s I began to notice a distinct shift in the diverse ethnic composition of my classes, first when I taught at School of the Art Institute in Chicago, then at Pratt Institute. I began to explore several ways to include cross-cultural design projects in my classes. One semester while teaching at Pratt, I noticed that out 15 students, only one was American born. All the other students were from Asian, South East Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean or Africa. Since I had started to collect and research writing systems of non-western cultures, I challenged this ethnically diverse group to design a booklet, or an educational packet with specific writing systems. The varied list of countries included Japan, Korea, India, Mexico, Egypt, Russia, Israel, Thailand, the Philippines, the Fuji Island, and a few other Arab countries.
Before they began, I invited my good design buddy Saki Makfundikwa, to talk about his upcoming book on Afrikan Alphabets, and ZIVA the digital design school he set-up in his home country of Zimbabwe.
Students became immersed in researching their writing systems. Some grappled with their limited understanding of their own cultural heritage, or most were surprise to learn of the the significance of culture in design. Pushing the dialog further, I challenged my students to explore the issues of appropriation, reappropriation and sampling or borrowing.
Once the students let down their guard, their creatives minds produced an impressive range of designs.
Featured student work from A Fading Tradition
Figure 1: Two solutions for tikam tikam (a game of chance). Packaging for a t-shirt concept store by Han Zi Rui (left). A mix-and-match system for Singapore character figurines by Bryan Lim (center & right)
Iridescent: Icograda Journal of Design Research is a peer-reviewed online journal, inviting researchers and scholars world-wide to submit papers and essays for publication on site. The aim of the journal is not only to select high quality research and make it available for a broad international audience, but to establish a benchmark for design research in the process.
Iridescent was established in keeping with Icograda’s strategic aim to support the development of communication design education (theory, practice, and research). It is an online international research journal advancing Icograda’s goals and objectives, fulfilling the vision of the Icograda Design Education Manifesto.
Known for her hauntingly beautiful explorations of Islamic and gender relations, Iranian-born visual artist Shirin Neshatis perhaps the most famous contemporary artist to emerge from the country of Iran. Women Without Men is Shirin’s feature-film debut, this film was the winner of the Silver Lion for the best director at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. As a devotee of her work, she exquisitely frames women in a world where they are normally shielded from public view. For more on her work check out, Gladstone Gallery .
Art Against Empire, is a collection of over 100 political posters shown in the LACE galleries spanning 60 years of opposition to U.S. Intervention in the domestic affairs of sovereign nations. The show is curated by Carol. A Wells features posters from the archives of the Center for Study of Political Graphics. Featuring works by Josh MacPhee, Corita Kent, Jay Belloli, Cedomic Kostivic, Stephen Kroniger and more.
Check out a video of Adolfo Mexiac talking, in Spanish, about his “Freedom of Expression” poster.
Sarah (Saartjie) Baartman, also known as the “Hottentot Venus,” a South African woman who was placed on exhibit in England and France beginning in 1810 and has been described by her protagonists as animal-like and exotic will be the subject of Venus 2010: They Called Her “Hottentot” an Interdisciplinary Symposium. The event, co-hosted by the Department of Photography & Imaging in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with NYU’s Africana Studies and the Institute for African American Affairs, will take place at the Tisch School of the Arts at 721 Broadway (at Waverly Place) on Saturday, March 27, 2010.
721 Broadway, Riese Lounge
9:00 – check in 9:30 –Welcome: Deb Willis, Manthia Diawara 9:45 – Keynote: Elizabeth Alexander 10:15 –11:15: Sarah Baartman in Context
Presenters: Charmaine Nelson, Zine Magubane, and Carole Boyce Davies. Moderator: Cheryl Finley
11:45-12:45: Sarah Baartman’s Legacy in Art and Art History Presenters: Lisa Gail Collins,
Cheryl Finley and Fo Wilson. 1:00 – 2:00: break, book signing
2:00-3:30: The “Hottentot Venus” in Art and Film
Performance: Holly Bass
Presenters: Renee Cox, Lyle Ashton Harris, Ada Pinkston and Carla Williams. 3:45-4:45: Iconic Women in the Twentieth Century
Poet: Linda Susan Jackson Presenters: J. Yolande Daniels, Michaela Angela Davis, Terri Francis and Michael Harris.
Moderator: Carla Williams
5:00: film screening and book signing (to end)
Visual Artist Sofia Maldonado was commissioned by the Times Square Alliance to create a mural on 42nd Streetis creating a big hoopla over her choice of artistic vision. Apparently, some feminist (both white and black) along with Black professional groups are not in thrilled of her street style art depicting young Latina and Black Women in scantily style dresses which viewers are calling hoochie mama’s. Some passers byer fear her work is a throw back to the bygone days of the old Times Square when prostitutes and pimps roamed the neighborhood made it an undesirable place to visit. Despite all of the controversy Sofia stands behind her work as does the Time Square Alliance. I visited the mural a few days ago and while the style might be construed as suggestive to some, as a Black woman I didn’t find her work offensive. For me her work is full of colorful lively figures with a touch of the fantasy of female hip-hop performance we often see in hip-hop and NeoSoul music videos.
In the areas of fiber arts and performance art, one name reins supreme: Nick Cave. Not to be confused with the musician, Nick Cave, the fiber/performance artist creates“sound suits” from found objects, including beads connected like tiny seeds of creativity, glass or plastic pieces strung together to form intricate patterns that suggest Brazilian or Caribbean carnival themes. These suits might also be layered with twigs and flowing hair, which from a distance looks like trees dancing in the woods, from some weird fairy tale.
This Cranbrook Design school graduate—who also serves as chair of the Fashion Design Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—has created new artistic boundaries as he adapts old with new art techniques. With a unique mix of fibers and other materials, he has produced furniture, clothing and much more. This new relationship between contemporary art, crafts, and fashion was evident in the 2007 “Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting” exhibition mounted by the Museum of Art and Design.
Soundsuit: This funky style is made of a diverse collection of found objects.
But this movement of sorts almost didn’t happen.
Sometime in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the interest in knitting started to fade, followed closely by the dwindling number of yarns shops throughout New York City. Today, knitting has emerged as a viable fiber art form, with a different twist that leans towards free-form, stylized garments, or products that are a combination of materials. These materials feature a mix of fibers with varied textures, as well as found objects from nature, even buttons or beads.
Cave’s work has forced other fiber artists and artists in other disciplines to reexamine their own material references. Whether you have the experience of witnessing Cave’s suits in performances, or as immobile figures in a gallery, you can still experience the sound and visual dialogue his pieces provoke. His work speaks to viewers with a cacophony of sounds heard over and over again.
Nick Cave's "Soundsuits" at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City
Cave had previously danced with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. One day he began to pay attention to the cacophony of sounds that came form his costume, which was mostly made of twigs. As he moved his body, each twig bushed against another and produced barely audible but regular sounds. Similar sounds came from other dancers who were gyrating to the beat of accompanying drums.
He had found a muse who would inspire his new art form—himself.
His canvases of his own or other dancers’ bodies expanded to include skintight leotards, to loose fitting garments with deep hoods. His materials now include beads, bangles, and sequins. No objects are off-limits; nor any subject. He has pulled together references from the social and political issues of the day, using for example, his own state of blackness as a silhouette; and in a nod to the Rodney King trial, a piece that expresses the freedom—or lack thereof—of the black male body, this time tied with materials that look like rope. The most ornate work can resemble over-sized deities, similar to spiritual figures from the African Yoruba tradition, or the BrazilianCandomble.
Nick Cave is represented by theJack Shainman Gallery in New York City.
Danae Colomer, Gazpacho video portion of Food as Opera project.
Taste of New York/Food as Opera
Last summer I restructured my Exhibition Design class to function as a team-based creative lab. Eager to explore a different research methodology, I met with another faculty member, Robin Drake and we developed a theoretical design research process we labelled, “Billboarding.”
What exactly is Billboarding?
Our method helped the students to document free-flowing ideas. We decided that our students would work using huge sheets of paper, (basically we replaced the small sketchbook). Each student either taped their sheets on the outer classroom walls, or spread out over a few desks.
I looked at a few successful case studies, that might help us understand how to tackle design ideas. Most importantly, I posed a few questions. How does one develop an idea to pinpoint a user experience? What makes an idea successful? I wanted my students to conduct primary research and not rely solely on google or wiki.
The students used a method I use for developing ideas, mind-mapping or concept mapping, to think through their ideation processes. Design Educator, Andrea Marks book Writing for Visual Thinkers: A Guide for Artist and Designers, was reviewed on the AIGA design education site and offers an excellent example of this mapping process.
Here’s an excerpt of AIGA_WFVT_Excerpt.
This video was launched in February 2010 by The Asian American Arts Allianceto promote greater cultural awareness of the art happenings in New York City’s Chinatown community. The program is part of the Chinatown Arts Marketing Program, the video was shot and edited by David Hou. Amy Chin, an Arts Management Consultant, who also serves on the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Committee is one of the many cultural ambassadors featured in this short video which leads you through an exciting glimpse into the artistic endeavors that makes Manhattan’s Chinatown a gem among many other Chinatowns in cities throughout the United States.
Chin, states that New York’s Chinatown has a living culture beyond storefronts. This Chinese community is booming with an influx of younger people, where as the Chinatowns of other cities tend to be populated with first immigrants or seniors.