Ghost Algebra (2009) featured natural objects, re-photographed video, medical illustrations and other collage elements
Los Angeles-based theater artist and experimental filmmaker Janie Geiser is in Providence this week working with RISD and Brown students as part of her FirstWorks Arts Learning residency. The former Guggenheim Fellow is leading a cross-disciplinary workshop in which students are helping to create Fugitive Time, a performance piece that integrates performed objects and puppetry with live-feed video manipulations of found, constructed and collaged elements.
A still from Geiser’s Ricky, a 2011 piece that explored the realms of childhood, war and loss
FirstWorks will present a free public showing of scenes from the work in progress on Saturday, April 12 at 7:30pm in Brown’s Granoff Center. The public is also invited to an artist talk and screening of Geiser’s The Nervous Films shorts on Thursday, April 10 at 7pm in the RISD Museum’s Metcalf Auditorium. Advance tickets for the event can be purchased here.
Earlier this week architect/urbanist/historian Vikram Prakash spoke at RISD about India’s northern capitol city Chandigarh (his hometown) and the work he is doing with the Chandigarh Urban Lab to preserve the intent of its master plan. As Prakash explained, the thriving Modernist city designed in the 1940s under the direction of the late Le Corbusier is now facing unchecked development intended to further boost the value of its already pricey real estate.
A detail of Chandigarh’s original master plan and a look at the Le Corbusier-designed Palace of Justice, completed in 1956.
Prakash is wary of both the speculative frenzy among government planners and the reactionary preservation movement focused on Chandigarh’s capitol complex. “We must consider the city’s architectural DNA and the intent behind the design when thinking about preservation,” he said. Rather than “fossilizing the design” and blindly completing the original master plan or throwing it out entirely and green-lighting such ill-conceived projects as the high-rise Tata housing complex that’s currently being battled out in Indian courts of law, planners should reinvent Chandigarh as an evolving hub that still reflects the aspirations of the nation-state while meeting the current and future needs of its citizens.
Congratulations to illustrator and wildlife artist Rebekah Lowell 04 IL, whose oil painting of an American Wigeon just won the 2014 Maine Duck Stamp Contest. The winsome waterfowl earned Lowell her second win in the annual contest. Proud Perch, the Maine native’s painting of a pair of Wood Ducks, took first prize in 2011. The new stamp, which hunters are required to purchase, will be released this summer, and proceeds will be used to conserve and manage Maine’s waterfowl.
How do we as designers envision the future? How do we imagine the human race getting from here to there? Will the products we’re currently working on be good for the planet in the long-term? How will these products and the materials used to make them persist over time?
These are some of the hard questions posed by visiting design theorist Cameron Tonkinwise (pictured above, third from left) and taken up by a panel of RISD professors at the Fleet Library on Thursday evening. Organized by Associate Professor of History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences Damian White, the panel considered whether it’s better to envision a “preferred future” as part of the design process or to take the fast-paced, democratic “build-it-and-see” approach that has become popular in hackathon settings.
The panel also discussed questions of sustainability and “undesign.” As Tonkinwise pointed out, once a potentially harmful product emerges, there’s no way to get rid of it. “Designers need to think of their work in the contexts of personal, historical and geological time,” said Literary Arts + Studies Associate Professor Nicole Merola. And Architecture Professor Anne Tate agreed and suggested that designers ask themselves, “Is my intervention a singular drop in the bucket or is it connected to a larger whole?”
Raked – Sculpture Critic Jane South’s inspired new installation at Spencer Brownstone Gallery in SoHo – was featured in The New York Times yesterday as part of Karen Rosenberg and Pete Wells’ Critic’s Gallery Crawl through SoHo and TriBeCa. Here’s what they say about the work:
Jane South’s intricate paper sculptures have been getting more and more ambitious. For a 2013 installation at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut, she pieced together a realistic-looking lighting grid laden with little pieces of technical “equipment” (mostly cut-and-glued paper, with some actual lights and cables).
Raked, her new piece at this Wooster Street gallery, also takes its cues from theatrical infrastructure; it’s a slanted stage that supports a vast array of black, machinelike forms. It all looks so dynamic that you assume, at first, that the parts are actually moving: a set awaiting its actors. They’re static, but that precurtain excitement lingers.
Students and faculty on the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe team are just back from a successful trip to France, where they presented the latest plans for the high-tech house to sponsors. They also secured windows, appliances and a warehouse space in Versailles where they’ll assemble their Techstyle Haus in time for this summer’s competition.
Meanwhile, back in Rhode Island, construction is underway on interior flooring modules and framing for the deck and ramp system. The next step is erecting the steel structural ribs that will support the building’s exterior textile shell. For the latest news and design details, check out the team’s Facebook page.
Spring has finally arrived at RISD, and with it come colorful new banners hung along the riverwalk just in time for the first Admissions Open House tomorrow. Current students, faculty and staff will host an opening meeting with admitted undergraduates and lead campus tours, offering new students and their families an opportunity to ask questions and get a better feel for RISD before making the final decision to enroll.
Designed by Micah Barrett 12 GD in the RISD Media Group, the banners were meticulously crafted by seamstress Hannah Tran and her team at Accent Banner in Medford, MA.
In the March 24 issue of The New Yorker, Calvin Tompkins treats readers to an extraordinary nine-page feature on Ryan Trecartin 04 FAV. Although he notes that “reviews of Trecartin’s videos often verge on the ecstatic,” Tompkins goes on to profess his own ongoing fascination with what the LA-based filmmaker and his posse of close friends is doing.
“About a year ago, I started looking at the work that Ryan Trecartin and his loosely associated group of fellow artists and designers have produced during the past decade,” Tompkins writes. “Not even [Nam June] Paik, I decided, made videos that are as consistently non-boring as these – or as full of breaking news about the future.”
In a lengthy section chronicling his years at RISD, the story explains how Trecartin and his longtime creative partner Lizzie Fitch (who left before finishing her degree in Painting) first began working together, looking at why their joint creative process continues to work so well.
“I need a lot of time alone, but I don’t like making things alone,” Trecartin explains. Tompkins then adds: “Without her, he often says, he would never have been the artist he’s become.”
But there’s so much more to it – and to the New Yorker story itself (which also quotes several other alums who still work with Trecartin). Get your hands on a copy if you haven’t already read it.
Tomorrow evening, April 3, Cameron Tonkinwise, a director of Design Studies at Carnegie Mellon, will deliver A Critique of EcoDesign Futures: Hacking, Speculating, Visioning, Transitioning at the Fleet Library at RISD. He and RISD faculty members Nicole Merola (Literary Arts + Studies), Peter Dean 76 Arch (Furniture Design) and Anne Tate (Architecture) will discuss how design educators currently define sustainability and unsustainability and the methods (successful and not) used to imagine alternative futures. The free event is open to the entire campus community and will kick off at 6 pm.
Earlier in the month, Zoe Schlacter 17 FS (far left in the photo below) adjusted her round glasses before making tweaks to a fashionable shoe designed for a very specific client. “I’m creating a prototype of a sneaker for a young, homeless woman who lives in San Francisco,” explains the Foundation student while cutting out pieces of cardboard. “The sole of the shoe includes a hidden compartment for her to conceal money and valuable objects.”
Schlacter created the prototype in one of Brown’s labs during From the Bottom of My Fuel Cell, a full-day workshop hosted by members of the RISD STEAM group. There, Brown and RISD students divided into teams to create wearable devices meant to enhance the lives of fictional characters. After looking at rough sketches of their contraptions, designers from IDEO, an innovative consulting firm that specializes in product and brand development, offered students some welcomed advice.
Bill Stewart MID 96, an industrial designer who makes medical devices, encouraged the young inventors to make iterations of their prototypes in rapid succession. After inspecting a battery-powered device (shown below) that allows kitchen workers to receive a physical “shock” when someone is near, he pushed students to test out the technology as soon as possible. “It helps to see your product in 3D,” he explains. “You can find problems faster – and fix them.”
Brown students Mark St. Louis and Atty Eleti try out a wearable device they designed using Arduino, an open-source electronics platform.
Later in the afternoon, Stewart and Prat Ganapathy hosted a lecture in the Chace Center auditorium that explained the process they use when designing surgical tools. “We never throw out any of the ideas we generate during brainstorming sessions,” he notes. “You never know when they might come in handy.”
Learn more about the workshop at the RISD STEAM group’s site.