The Alumni Magazine OF Parsons The New School for Design Spring 2011 DESIGN AND THE BODY
re:D (regarding Design) SPRING 2011
DESIGN AND THE BODY In 1989, artist (and former Parsons student) Barbara Kruger famously claimed, “Your body is a battleground,” crystallizing an era of embodied politics. Now more than ever, the body is a site of contention, with the development of increasingly sophisticated prosthetics, humanlike robots, and life-enhancing technologies and rapidly evolving notions of identity and self. Where does the body end and technology begin? How have concepts of the body changed over time? This issue of re:D explores artists’ and designers’ responses to such questions of the flesh.
News & Events Parsons welcomes New School president David E. Van Zandt and hosts the first Parsons Festival
Portfolio Students create work related to the body on personal and global scales
Wearable Technology: Design at the Seams MA Fashion Studies student Anya Kurennaya sees potential in an evolving field
New Bodies— No Limits to Design? Parsons’ Ed Keller traces evolving concepts of the body and their consequences for designers
Pathways in Pictures Alina Roytberg ’84 The career path of the co-founder of Fresh, Inc., in graphic form
Alumni Message Parsons grads gather for their reunion and for an alumni exhibition in Miami
Alumni Profiles Body of Work
Connected Adam Brent honors D. Jack Solomon
Thank You Parsons Scholars and Planned Giving
Cover Story AAS Graphic Design and BFA Communication Design students create re:D’s cover, guided by Katarzyna Gruda and William Morrisey
Silja Magg, BFA Photography ’10
Be part of re:D! Your stories, work, and collaboration support this magazine and the Parsons community. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your own news. Read more alumni news at red.parsons.edu.
For more: red.parsons.edu
14 BrandX: Fendi Series, KnoWear: Peter Allen and Carla Ross Allen, 2007. Fiberglass, cast resin, and Fendi sunglasses; 6’2.” www.knowear.net
NEWS & EVENTS
News & Events
The U.S. Department of Education and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture recently awarded Parsons and five university partners a four-year Atlantis grant to develop Urbanisms of Inclusion: A Transatlantic Education Program (UI/TEP). The program facilitates student and faculty exchanges between universities developing socially inclusive interdisciplinary responses to urbanization, migration, and climate change. Miodrag Mitrasinovic, dean of Parsons’ School of Design Strategies, is serving as U.S. program director. Brian McGrath, chair of Urban Design at the School of Constructed Environments and UI/TEP’s U.S. research director, is working with three graduate students from Belgium’s KU Leuven on research for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, an urban design project analyzing changes in Baltimore’s ecosystems.
This spring, Parsons partnered with global fashion brand MCM to develop luxury goods that integrate technology and accessories. Led by faculty member and wearable technology specialist Katherine Moriwaki, Fashion Design faculty member Aneta Genova, and BFA Product Design director Rama Chorpash, cross-disciplinary teams of students will create new objects from MCM textiles and tech products including electronic components, solar panels, and LED lighting. The final projects will be on display at the 2011 Parsons Fashion Benefit.
While studying interior design at Parsons, Samuel Hanser ’04 designed the Healing Empowerment Center, a building plan that brings together sustainable design, healing practices, therapy, and spirituality. Although Hanser was not able to see the center become a reality before his death in 2010, his ideas live on. Suzanne Hanser presented her son’s vision to the public at a panel discussion with therapists and designers about the role of design in the healing process. She is leading a fundraising effort to have Sam’s design built.
newschool.edu/hanser See page 02, image 07.
APOGEE Design and Technology alumni and students are finding success in the marketplace with projects they developed in the classroom. Steve Varga, MFA Design and Technology ’10, launched Pennant, an interactive exploration of baseball data, for the iPad in February. Developed as Varga’s thesis project, Pennant received rave reviews from Wired and Sports Illustrated. Zach Gage, MFA Design and Technology ’10, and MFA Design and Technology student Kurt Bieg created Halcyon, an iPad game that allows users to create elegiac soundscapes by matching colored triangles. The application is in competition for the title of Best Mobile Game at the 2011 Independent Games Festival. See page 03, image 18.
NEW PRESIDENT Parsons warmly welcomes David E. Van Zandt, The New School’s eighth president. President Van Zandt comes to the university from Northwestern University School of Law, where he served as dean and professor of law from 1995 to 2010. At Northwestern, his efforts to connect the professional and legal education communities helped the school of law grow significantly, developing innovative programs and curricula that strengthened its reputation and the prospects of its alumni. Since arriving at The New School in January, President Van Zandt has met with students, alumni, and members of the faculty and administration to learn how the school’s tradition of critical inquiry and engagement with the city and the world can be harnessed to build professional opportunities for students. We look forward to working closely with the new president to build a global community for Parsons and the other New School divisions and continue leading education in an interconnected world where art and design are increasingly important to a healthy civic life.
Visit newschool.edu/perspective to share your thoughts on your New School experience and building the Parsons community.
Heeding the call of a world that needs more hugging, more than 50 established and emerging artists displayed original hand-made plush toys at Luv-able, Hug-able, and Wear-able, the popular holiday show at Gallery Hanahou. Included were projects by students in Caty Bartholomew ’s toy concept development class. In the class, part of the Illustration program, students blend character design, product design, sculpture, and narrative into a fresh visual language.
Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology recently teamed up with General Electric to re-imagine the pilot’s cockpit experience. Faculty member Kyle Li led three groups of students in his Topics: Interaction course through the creation of design enhancements for the cockpit of a commercial airplane. Projects included a new identification card giving pilots access to controls and an integrated windshield control panel. Students presented their work to GE executives at the conclusion of the course.
See page 03, image 14.
NEWS & EVENTS
TAG Heuer: Art of Watchmaking 01 Narciso RodriGuez ’82 and TAG Heuer North America president and CEO Ulrich Wohn at the judging event.
Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK)
02 UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and
executive dean Joel Towers at the opening of RHoK.
Fashion Panel at MAC & Milk: “What Should We be Doing?” 03 During New York Fashion Week, Simon Collins, dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons, moderates a discussion of the U.S. fashion industry with panelists including Tommy Hilfiger and Jeff Rudes.
Measuring China: How Small Design Practice Scales Up 04 Top, Ou Ning and Satoko Saeki; bottom, Product Design director Rama Chorpash and Aric Chen ’00 at SCE’s panel reporting on small design firms in China.
Visiting Artist Lecture Series
05 Tehching Hsieh with a fine arts student. Photographic Universe Conference
06 Media artist Wafaa Bilal (pictured)
presented with Virginia Rutledge. The event was organized by the Photography program with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, Aperture Foundation, and Shpilman Institute for Photography.
Healing Empowerment Center
07 Suzanne Hanser shows plans created by
her late son, Sam Hanser, BFA Interior Design ’04 for the Healing Empowerment Center.
EXHIBITIONS Cartoon Polymaths
08 A marionette by Tony Sarg in Cartoon
Polymaths, at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center . Curated by Illustration faculty member Bill Kartalopoulos, the exhibition shows how artists translate a cartoon sensibility across disciplines.
My America Is…
09 An interactive exhibition curated by Janelle
Abbot, a fashion design student, and Sarah Smith, a communication design student, that explores personal visions of the U.S.
10 Materials from the Kellen Archives trace the evolution in the 1960s of the Environmental Design program, reflecting design’s expanding role as a force for social change.
11 T he winning garment, made by BFA Fashion
Design student Andria Crescioni, for Zero Waste, a sustainable fashion design competition organized by Timo RISSANEN, professor of fashion design and sustainability.
12 Illustrations by Minh Uong shown in the 12
Visualizing Finance Lab at Parsons’ School of Design Strategies. Led by faculty members Carol Overby and Aaron Fry, the lab uses pictorial aids to explain complicated financial data.
NEWS & EVENTS
14 13 13
© 2010 gallery hanahou/CWC International
projectS SCE Students in Uganda
13 A rchitecture students Stephen Scribner, Amanda Waal, Nicole De Feo, and Yigit Kale in Uganda sharing designs they created this past summer for SWID, a woman-led NGO promoting sustainable urban development.
Toy Concept Development and Design
14 Gallery Hanahou’s Luv-able, Hug-able, and
Wear-able show, featuring student work made for a course taught by faculty member Caty Bartholomew.
AirDye, Fashion, and AMT
15 A look designed by BFA Fashion Design student
Nelson Santovenia and photographed by BFA Photography student Hannah Mooy for a collab class in which students used AirDye technology to create printed fabrics.
Street Life and Mapping the City
16 Led by Jeffrey Warren, founder of
Grassroots Mapping, Victoria Marshall, director of Parsons’ BS Urban Design program, and Liz Barry,, students in a Parsons-Lang class took aerial photos of Union Square using cameras attached to giant inflatables.
17 An interactive website created by students from Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology for a New York Public Library exhibition inspired by faculty member Lauren Redniss’ recent book.
18 Pennant, an interactive baseball statistics app for the iPad that began as the senior thesis project of Steve Varga, MFA Design and Technology ’10. The app is now available in the iTunes store.
news & events
Parsons illustration professor Nora Krug received a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators for Kamikaze, a biographical comic about a kamikaze pilot who unexpectedly survived his mission and later became a peace activist in Japan. Kamikaze is part of a series of comics by Krug in which she tells the stories of people whose lives were dramatically affected by political circumstances. Fukutsu, another comic from the series, won a gold medal from the society in 2007.
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics and the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons hosted Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture, a launch for Gregory Sholette’s book of the same title and an event exploring interventionist and collective art— the “dark matter” of the art world. On view were two projects discussed in Sholette’s book showing how creativity thrives in noncommercial contexts: Cat Mazza’s “craftivism” workshop, based on the work of her organization microRevolt; and Jim Costanzo’s The Second Whiskey Rebellion: A Distillation of American Spirit, in which the artist channels Alexander Hamilton’s act of civil disobedience to draw attention to current economic conditions in the United States.
PARSONS FESTIVAl The first annual Parsons Festival takes place May 7–23, giving the campus community and the public a chance to see work by the next generation of art and design leaders. Events include thesis exhibitions and critiques, public programs, installations, gallery openings, and workshops. The events affirm Parsons’ engagement with the city and the community, positioning art and design education as a force for social change and innovation. The festival culminates in a block party on Saturday, May 21, with large-scale printmaking, an interactive photo fashion booth, street projects involving urban garden design and public space, a symposium on environmental studies, product displays, and interactive projects with civic and creative partners.
Students from across the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) at Parsons applied their design skills to a scientific topic in Radioactive, a fall Collab course created by Illustration faculty member Lauren Redniss. AMT students developed a website for a New York Public Library exhibition inspired by Redniss’ new book, Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie—A Tale of Love and Fallout. The site combines animation, interactive book pages, and a digital tool to simulate cyanotypes, the cameraless photographic process Redniss used to create the book’s artwork. A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the Science and Technology category, Radioactive chronicles the romantic and scientific partnership of the Nobel laureates and explores the ramifications of their groundbreaking discoveries.
Emphasizing ethnographies of fashion and fashion as material culture, the Locating Fashion/ Studies conference marked the launch of Parsons’ MA Fashion Studies program, part of the School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT). The event, organized by program director Heike Jenss and Hazel Clark, dean of ADHT, featured scholars who reflected on interdisciplinary research practices in fields ranging from museum collecting and exhibiting and the sites of the transnational fashion industry to global denim, the fashioning of masculinities, and image production in New York modeling agencies. Presenters discussed methodological approaches and theoretical implications for the cultural analysis of fashion and the advancement of fashion studies.
exhibitions.nypl.org/radioactive See page 03, image 17.
Zero Waste Fashion, a new course in the School of Fashion at Parsons, challenged students to rethink the design process to produce garments with minimal fabric waste. The course is taught by Timo Rissanen, the university’s first professor of fashion design and sustainability. The final garments were exhibited at the Aronson Galleries and judged by Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay Hahn of the ecofriendly fashion label Loomstate. The winning design, an anorak by BFA Fashion Design student Andria Crescioni, will be produced as part of Loomstate’s fall 2011 collection. newschool.edu/zerowaste See page 02, image 11.
THE ODDS In February, Maryanne Grisz, a fashion marketing instructor at Parsons and a partner in Onerock Movie Pictures, saw the release of a documentary film that has been close to her heart. Dressed tells the story of Nary Manivong, a fashion designer who overcame the challenges of a difficult childhood and homelessness to launch his own label. Grisz, who served as executive producer of the film, is now setting up a nonprofit organization that will work with the Bronx public school system to bring fashion experts into the schools for screenings and discussions with students who aspire to enter the industry.
Parsons and the United Nations teamed up with Google, the World Bank, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and NASA to host Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK). Over a weekend in December, students, software developers, and crisis management experts were challenged to design open-source platforms to respond to crisis and reduce risk. Mathan Ratinam of the School of Design Strategies was the lead Parsons coordinator for RHoK. He described the event as a milestone in the shift toward embracing design as a key partner in crisis management. Parsons undergraduates Pritika Nilaratna and Luke Brown Gold won the award for the Best Tiny Hack by creating OpenScribble, a collaborative online mapping service.
www.rhok.org See page 02, image 02.
Parsons served as host of this year’s “Pictoplasma,” an annual international conference celebrating modern character design with lectures, panel discussions, and short screenings. Illustration program
NEWS & EVENTS
chair Steven Guarnaccia moderated a panel on illustration careers featuring three former Parsons students: Aaron Stewart, Motomichi Nakamura ’96, and Andy Kehoe. Peter de Sève ’80 (New Yorker cover artist and Ice Age character designer) also presented work, along with the Australian design collective Rinzen, New York-based designer Craig Redman, Berlin-based designer Rilla Alexander, and illustrator Nathan Jurevicius, creator of Scarygirl.
ADHT and AMT faculty member Ernesto Klar was awarded the 2010 Share Prize in Turin for his work Relational Lights. The installation artwork relies on artificially created haze, video cameras, projectors, speakers, and a custom software system to make the “threedimensional fabric of space visible, audible, and tangible to participants,” in Klar’s words.
“Functional Aesthetics”—an interdisciplinary symposium, book launch, and workshop—inaugurated the Fashionable Technology Lab at Parsons last November. The new research center, directed by Parsons professor Sabine Seymour, explores the intersection of design, technology, science, and fashion. “Functional Aesthetics” featured work by Parsons faculty Pascale Gatzen and Katherine Moriwaki; alumni Jessica Floeh, MFA Design and Technology ’10, and Joseph Saavedra, MFA Design and Technology ’10, and others. Parsons Sourcemap, a student research project showing ways to create awareness and community around sustainability, was also presented. In March, the lab invited experts including Parsons’ Alice Min Soo Chun and Paris-based designer and “smart textiles” specialist Elisabeth de Seineville to a second event, Materials Exploration, examining materials and fashionable technology.
The Visualizing Finance Lab at Parsons’ School of Design Strategies, led by faculty members Carol Overby and Aaron Fry, uses pictorial aids to explain complicated financial data. In October, the lab presented Visualizing Finance 1.0: Financial Narratives, an exhibition of large-scale financial illustrations, in the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries at Parsons’ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. A panel discussion with New York Times art director Minh Uong explored how design can be used to clarify complex economic issues. Following the panel, participants created illustrations of their own in a hands-on studio led by New York Times finance writer Carl Richards.
HOME FOR THE PHOTO
Last summer, five architecture students, led by School of Constructed Environments dean william Morrish, embarked on a twomonth project in Uganda, designing two prototype houses in the city of Jinja. In collaboration with Slum Women’s Initiative for Development (SWID), a local NGO, the students came up with two plans for affordable homes that could easily be replicated throughout Uganda. Their designs emphasized environmental and economic efficiency, in alignment with SWID’s goal of empowering women by supplying them with affordablehousing plans for urban areas.
BFA Photography graduates Silja Magg ’10, Joel Jagerroos ’10, and Therese Orhvall ’10 and MFA Photography alumnus Erick Heck ’10 appeared on Photo District News’ prestigious list of 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch. The bachelor’s program alums were among five Parsons students represented on PDN’s list in the last five years.
newschool.edu/ functionalaesthetics ft.parsons.edu
newschool.edu/uganda See page 03, image 13.
DYE Parsons has partnered with the company AirDye on a project to create innovative designs and fashion campaigns. AirDye’s patented technology allows designers to create precisely dyed textiles (including double-sided sheer ones) with minimal environmental impact. Selected students in BFA Fashion Design, AAS Fashion Marketing, and BFA Photography programs were challenged to work collaboratively on collections and campaigns and to document their work. The partnership culminated with thesis collections using AirDye fabrics by BFA Fashion Design students Nelson Santovenia, Katty Hoelck, and Jovanna Mirabella.
newschool.edu/airdye See page 03, image 15.
On Campus Recent speakers on campus included designers Anna Sui, Cynthia Rowley, Reed Krakoff; interior designer Ghislaine Vinas; design historians Victor Margolin, Sarah Teasley; fashion design curator Judith Clark; design and technology expert Kevin Henry; urban planner Stephen Ramos; urban landscape designer Walter Hood; Visiting Artist Lecture Series presenters Anton Vidokle, Ann Hamilton, Cristóbal Lehyt, Aki Sasmoto, Simone Leigh, Matthew Weinstein, Kara Walker, Tehching Hsieh, Daniel Bozhkov; “Quotidian Product: Paris/New York” panelists JeanFrançois Dingjian, Eloi Chafaï, François Azambourg, Sigi Moeslinger, Masamichi Udagawa, Jeff Miller, Laetitia Wolff; “Evolution: Art and Design Research and the PhD” speakers Sara Diamond, Bill Gaver, Brad Buckley, Meredith Davis; “Critical Gift” lecturers Elaine Scarry, Michael Erlhoff, Ruedi Baur; ADHT Pathways Lectures presenters Erika Naginksi, Felicity Scott, Mary E. Davis, Diane Negra; SCE Lecture Series speaker Bjarke Ingels; “Urbanisms of Inclusion” panelists Teddy Cruz, Bruno De Meulder, Kelly Shannon, Glenn Smith; Fashion in Film presenters Tim Gunn, Simon Doonan; “Measuring China” panelists Ou Ning, Aric Chen, Kok-Meng Tan, Satoko Saeki; Service Design Performances Series lecturers Andy Polaine, Lucy Kimbell; and Aftertaste speakers Robert Irwin, Lisa Heschong, Alexander Wunsch. See page 02, images 04, 05, 10.
THE MOLD Parsons graduates Chelsea Briganti ’10, Ingrid ZweIfel ’10, Monica Bhatia ’10, and Leigh Ann Tucker ’10 have been collaborating since they met in a product design class in 2009. Now they’re bringing their humanitarian slant on design to their own product design consultancy, The Way We See the World. Hailed by the website Brooklyn Based as “Brooklyn’s brightest new creative brain trust,” the group is attracting notice for its innovative designs, including an awardwinning edible and highly recyclable Jelloware cup—originally created for a Jell-O mold competition—that’s featured in National Geographic’s Green Guide.
PORTFOLIO Human needs call for design solutions on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Parsons students are developing projects to meet these demands, creating clothing, watches, and lighting and designing tools to build community around environmental awareness
CITIZEN SENSOR Begun as the thesis project of Joseph Saavedra, MFA Design and Technology ’10, Citizen Sensor has become a global tool and a model of open- source, DIY creativity. Consisting of customizable hardware and software that monitor, share, and interpret environmental data, Citizen Sensor alerts users to ambient stressors on the body, including noise pollution, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. Saavedra’s noncommercial production and distribution system is perhaps the most important feature of the device. Users assemble portable sensor packs from open-source DIY kits that Saavedra is developing and then download free software for mobile phones. They then use smartphones to upload data, display augmented reality maps, and share information worldwide. Saavedra’s goal of building community around environmental awareness impressed judges of the Cologne Design Prize International, who awarded Citizen Sensor first prize. In February, Saavedra presented his work at the prestigious Design Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
SOLAR DECATHLON LIGHTING DeSIGNS Parsons’ entry in the Solar Decathlon 2011— a university competition to build and operate a solar home, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy—has challenged students to develop a proposal for affordable and sustainable housing. BFA Product Design juniors in Lyn Godley’s Public Realm course created modular furniture and lighting for the home. Livio Guerrero, Willy Chan, and Joyce Troy prototyped the lighting designs presented here, which are now being developed. Troy’s ceiling fixture features a shade pierced with leaf patterns. Chan’s task lighting includes a removable, rechargeable solar cell. Guerrero designed a desk lamp that can be easily disassembled and recycled. Each meets the energy-use limits prescribed by the competition. According to Troy, “It was instructive to see how each component of the Solar Decathlon home contributes to the total effect.”
ECOLOGIES: (UN)FASHION One of the courses Pascale Gatzen designed and enjoys teaching most in the BFA Integrated Design program (IDp) is IDC Ecologies: (un)Fashion. “Students explore identity and challenge their assumptions. They develop critical abilities and a point of view while researching, reflecting, and making,” says Gatzen. IDC Ecologies: (un)Fashion is the first course in IDp’s Fashion Area of Study core sequence. For the class, each student creates an outfit for him or herself weekly. The assignment requires them to research dress and identity broadly and develop self-awareness while acquiring sewing skills. It results in garments that meet a variety of needs. “(un)Fashion erased complacency from my interactions with clothing,” says junior Emma Hoette. “Clothing is an interface between my body and the world; it shapes my identity and experience.” Shown here are projects from a recent class; they were presented in the Tishman Auditorium, where viewers witnessed impressive displays of creativity and fabrication techniques.
TAG HEUER MONACO WATCH REDESIGN Product design students recently reinterpreted TAG Heuer’s iconic Monaco watch in a competition. Faculty members Anna Rabinowicz and Peter Allen guided student teams through the creative brief, which required that redesigns retain the watch’s signature square face. The teams generated 100 concepts, with each presenting three final designs. Judges included designer and alumnus Narciso Rodriguez ’82; Renaud Dutreil, chairman of LVMH Moët Henessy Louis Vuitton Inc. and Parsons trustee; TAG Heuer president and CEO Ulrich Wohn and VP and master watchmaker Andre Fortier; and Rama Chorpash, director of Product Design. Shown here is the top winner, by Yong Yi Lee, Yoav Menachem, and Amit Ran, which features a sliding shield, stamped with its unique edition number, to protect the watch face. Second place went to Enrique Diaz Rato de Zabala, Michelle Organ, and You Jin Sung and third place to Yusuke Sekiguchi, Christopher Beatty, and Helen Kim.
Opposite, IDp Ecologies: (un)Fashion work; by Chloe Bensahel, Amy Brueck, Mary Handsaker, Monica Hofstadfer, Emma Hoette, Daniela Jacobs, Urnika Kapur, Isabella Scott.
Hanky Pancreas, an accessory for insulin pumps, by Jessica Floeh, MFA Design and Technology â€™10.
wearable technology: design at the seams
by anya Kurennaya Anya Kurennaya, a student in the new MA Fashion Studies program, located in Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory, offers a cultural analysis of wearable technology, arguing that the union of fashion and technology presents opportunities for rethinking aesthetic systems and sustainability
As time goes on, clothing will continue to become smarter. It will perform more functions and tasks, allowing us to do more and be more—of whatever it is we want to be. Our clothing will allow us to trace the details of its production, monitor body functions, and communicate with one another in new ways, by integrating the latest technology in often virtually seamless ways. We already have smartphones; why not “smartclothes”? In fact, such wearable technology already exists, ranging from commercial products to concept-driven design explorations. Wearable technology is, most simply, what happens when design and technology meet on the human body. In an article published in the Observer on January 2, 2011, Dilys Williams, director for sustainable fashion at the London College of Fashion, cited wearable technology as the single most important development in the field of fashion for the next quarter century. Judging by the current range of applications as well as those in development, Williams may be right. Parsons recently hosted a symposium on the topic, celebrating the launch of the Fashionable Technology Lab at Parsons and exploring functional aesthetics—what lab director and Parsons professor Sabine Seymour calls “the concept of merging a fashionable technology object deemed aestheti-
cally pleasant with technically enhanced functionalities.”¹ Fashion is itself a technology of the body, one we use to communicate identity and define the social and cultural boundaries of our bodies. And as technological devices have themselves become more visible as a result of increased portability, it is only natural that they have permeated the boundaries of our bodies; earbuds, headsets, and wires abound. Conversely, the fashion impulse increasingly informs technology: Witness the infinite possibilities for cell phone customization that transform our phones into extensions of ourselves, conveying our personalities through color, shape, size, embellishments, and even the applications we have installed. On an aesthetic level, the techno-chic fetishization of circuitry evident in 1990s wearable technology is disappearing, to be replaced by a more streamlined integration of technology that eliminates the distinction between form and function. Such a seamless fusion naturally leads us to consider the possibilities and limitations of fashion combined with technology. At first, ¹ Sabine Seymour, Functional Aesthetics: Visions in Fashionable Technology (New York: Springer, 2010).
After living with diabetes and daily insulin injections for years, Jessica Floeh, MFA Design and Technology ’10, started wearing an insulin pump. Seeking creative ways to engage with medical technology and raise awareness about diabetes, Floeh designed Hanky Pancreas, a series of accessories that began as her master’s thesis project. Hanky Pancreas features decorative elements such as silk flowers that attach to an insulin pump, making the medical device fashionable and psychologically empowering; it also invites constructive conversations about health. Says Floeh, “I wanted to make wearing a pump a positive experience, like wearing a fun necklace or pair of boots.” Having received accolades for Hanky Pancreas, Floeh is now bringing her product to market.
By embedding her elegant Inside/Outside clutch bag with sensors that record environmental conditions, artist and Parsons media design professor Katherine Moriwaki transformed a fashion accessory into an object that documents personal experience and invites social interaction. Decorativelooking panels set into the bag’s exterior are actually light sensors and microphones that record changes in ambient light and sound. The data collected are mapped over time, forming a kind of environmental portrait. Moriwaki’s multifunctional clutch serves as a conversation starter about urban experience, connections between people and their surroundings, and the environment.
the combination of the two promises little in terms of sustainability, marked as they both are by constant reinvention and the demand for newness. Paradoxically, although fashion and technology are always designed with the future in mind, environmentally damaging production processes and products’ ever-shrinking shelf life pose a threat to the future. Does the fashion-technology combination inevitably result in even more unsustainable, disposable products? Or can the two be combined in ways that promote sustainability? One project that challenges us to consider these questions is Solar Vintage, a line created by Elena Corchero of the design group Lost Values. The collection includes a fan, parasol, and brooch, each of which combines natural materials such as wood and embroidered lace with flexible solar panels that capture energy in the daytime and transmit it through conductive thread to embedded LED lights. The pieces serve as functional accessories in the daytime and become decorative lights in the evening, the practical and aesthetic components blending together in terms of both form and function. A project like Solar Vintage challenges our assumptions about the aesthetics
of wearable technology by joining the natural with the digital: Technology is aesthetically softened by its fusion with craft, producing a “culturally palatable” result, to borrow a term from artist, designer, and Parsons professor Katherine Moriwaki. And as unique, handmade objects, the items embody a personal dimension that creates a bond with the user, enhancing the products’ sustainability by promoting a wish to preserve rather than discard. Solar Vintage may not be particularly innovative in terms of technological function, but it paves the way for projects that reformulate the aesthetics and values of wearable technology and emphasize the importance of caring for and treasuring the objects we interact with on a daily basis. Another innovative product featuring wearable technology is the Inside/ Outside handbag series by Katherine Moriwaki. One iteration of the handbag features an inbuilt air-quality sensor and microphone connected to a controller; changes in air quality and noise levels are transmitted to the bag’s surface by means of conductive thread and fibers containing thermochromic ink. The bag changes color to reflect shifting conditions throughout the day, creating
AAS Interior Design course: Prosthesis Clinic Studio 2 Before assigning her AAS Interior Design class to plan a physical rehabilitation center, Aslihan Demirtas had students devise wearable prostheses that would heighten their awareness of the relationship between the human body and space. “They were not to be literal prostheses, but rather ones extending, magnifying, and revealing the senses spatially and experientially,” she says. Georgina Quiñones, AAS Interior Design ’10, created simple but innovative gear to help those with sports injuries recover. “Physical therapy can be painful, so I invented a device that encourages patients to move in a fun and expressive way,” she says. Quiñones attached cordless lights to clothing for patients to wear while exercising. The light streaks produced make every movement an ephemeral, airborne work of art. Using a long exposure, Demirtas captured Quiñones demonstrating the effect.
SOLAR VINTAGE FAN
In her Solar Vintage accessories, the Spanish fashion designer, technology artisan, and entrepreneur Elena CoRchero unites interactive technology with the delicate aesthetics of handmade textiles. By converting daylight into energy to power embedded LEDs, the fan serves as a light source after dark. Organic photovoltaic panels on her Solar Vintage Fan are integrated with colorful handmade lace and embroidery, forming a modern hybrid of technology and craft. The accessories represent a call for a return to a more deliberate way of living and the one-of-a-kind objects a slower lifestyle makes possible. Naming her handmade line of fashionable wearable tech products Lost Values, Corchero champions traditional craft technologies while embracing new ones. www.lostvalues.com
a dynamic visualization of the surrounding environment, and tracks these changes over time, generating unique maps and histories for its user. The bag thus functions not only as an expressive visual object but as a system of information delivery, using the body as its messenger to promote social engagement and environmental awareness. The functionality of the bag is extended from the merely personal to the social, and it brings the bag and similar projects into conversation with the realm of interaction design, which considers the experience of using and interacting with technology. The project represents some of wearable technology’s many possibilities—expressive, communicative, personal, social, interactive, sustainable. It seems likely we will continue to see these possibilities at play so long as our designs keep both the past and the future in mind.
Anya Kurennaya is a first-year student in the new MA Fashion Studies program in Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory. Kurennaya was born in Russia and raised near Santa Fe and is fluent in several languages. She admits to having mixed feelings about technology but has a steadfast love for fashion and design studies. She wishes to thank Parsons professors Heike Jenss, Sabine Seymour, and Katherine Moriwaki for their assistance with this article.
NEW BODIES— NO LIMITS TO DESIGN? by Ed Keller Ed Keller, Parsons’ associate dean of Distributed Learning and Technology, describes the role of artists and designers in developing extended perceptions of the human body and calls on practitioners to imagine and design sustainable systems to safeguard the collective body of humanity
“These are the oldest memories on Earth, the time-codes carried in every chromosome and gene. Every step we’ve taken in our evolution is a milestone inscribed with organic memories. Each one of us is as old as the entire biological kingdom, and our bloodstreams are tributaries of the great sea of its total memory. … [Our] central nervous system is a coded time scale, each nexus of neurons and each spinal level marking a symbolic station, a unit of neuronic time.”
—J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World
Chris (Dystopia Series), Aziz + Cucher, 1994. C-print, 50” x 40”.
We live in an era of unprecedented interest in design. New pathways are continually opening, allowing designers to help steer the development of goods, forms of communication, communities, and policies. Is the human body the next frontier for design? Although the challenges facing humanity involve factors beyond human needs, the human body remains central to formulas for the planet’s survival. Designers have always regarded the body as a client, site, and scale. Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man (circa 1487), inscribed in a circle and square, is the classical depiction of the human form expressed in perfect geometric proportions.¹ Over time, our concept of the human body as a discrete entity with knowable, obvious boundaries has evolved into something more nuanced and complex. The body is now seen as part of a web of systems—ecological, political, geographical, cultural. The result is a body understood as more than a closed system. A related example can be found in sustainable design, an evolving field that evaluates products in relation to an ¹ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ ever-widening Vitruvian_Man. array of factors such as energy consumption in production and recycling, equitable distribution of resources, and effects on biodiversity. What systems are connected to this newly defined body? What role does design play in enabling us to understand it? Can we design in a way that engages the systems within and connected to the body, from genetics and metabolism to culture and politics? What we have learned from the fields of sustainability and product design helps answer some of these questions. Take the design of a chair, for example. Today the designer considers not only ergonomics but also the product’s lifecycle, the materials and processes used in creating and recycling it, and its suitability for markets worldwide.
“The body is now seen as part of a web of systems— ecological, political, geographical, cultural.” Product development is increasingly complex and involves many considerations: aesthetics, culturally determined preferences, production and shipping costs, required technology, market values. All these elements involve systems that meet in the chair. Contemporary research tools allow designers to identify and visualize these systems and measure their environmental impact and the environment’s effects on them. Such tools have enabled designers to map the “extended product.” Now designers are using them to help us imagine the “extended body.”
Extended bodies and new visualization tools Challenges to the classical image of the body have existed for centuries. One finds in art and literature “unnatural” bodies formed not through discrete biological processes but instead by social, technological, economic, and modified biological systems. An early example is Pantagruel (1532), Rabelais’ satirical exploration of social systems. Modern examples can be found in films blending hard science with science fiction—works like Godard’s Alphaville, Cronenberg’s The Fly, Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and Natalini’s Splice depicting a future threatened by technology run amok. Today much of the technology presented in such films is real, running on ordinary laptops. The information these tools use is available on the Internet. Does such widespread availability help us avoid a “brave new world” dystopia or summon it? This question is a call for designers to intervene to help the public grasp the implications of technological advances and understand their effects—positive and negative—on the individual and communal body. Nuclear science offers an extraordinary example of design’s role in raising public awareness of the systems-determined body—and threats to that body. Harold Edgerton, a professor of electrical engineering at MIT, designed a camera capable of taking exposures less than one millisecond in duration. His photographs of the Trinity nuclear bomb tests in 1945 reveal the intricate morphology of an atomic blast (page 17).² Capturing events at macroand microscopic scales in time and space, Edgerton’s ² edgerton-digital-collections.org/ arresting techniques/rapatronic-shutter. images established a critical cinematic threshold, a designed visualization, enabling one to see the scale and trajectory of the forces of the blast. Details made visible by Edgerton’s camera clearly communicate the bomb’s great power. The images also suggest the scale and uncontrollable nature of those forces, the effects they might have on the individual and collective body of humanity, and, by extension, the repercussions of rapidly evolving technology. The Trinity bomb explosion challenged designers to safeguard the human body against the sinister blooming of atomic weaponry that has shaped geopolitics for more than a half-century. To cope with the existential risks unleashed by our rampant progress, we design ever more advanced techniques to study the world and the extended body. These tools include software that graphically represents mathematical equations— programs like Gephi and Cytoscape, developed to visualize genetic relationships but now used to map social networks like Twitter. The promise of such tools is demonstrated in an article published in Nature in 2009, showing that Google search
query data could be tracked for reliable real-time estimates of flu activity around the world. Consider also the “Diseasome” map,³ which graphs overlapping gene lines of human ³ diseasome.eu illnesses, and www.nytimes.com/interactive/ projects 2008/05/05/science/ visualizing 20080506_disease.html. social behavior and identities on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Use of these tools introduces a further abstraction of the human body into the realm of statistical data. Our new collective bodies consist of aggregated information as well as material components. As gene sequencing becomes cheaper and more accessible, the data can expand to encompass individual genetic codes. The radically open body, the designed body, and the role of art and design If we extend the concept of the human body, envisioning it as part of many interacting systems and even as data, we can also understand that the body contains systems and entities within. For example, we know that eating yogurt introduces probiotics, independent organisms that improve digestive functioning, into our bodies. The Human Microbiome Project4 takes this 4 concept to the commonfund.nih.gov/hmp. next level by mapping out thousands of microorganisms living on and in the human body that affect health. Designing objects that interact with this bodily ecosystem is a topic of discussion among design theorists and practitioners today. In The Extended Phenotype (1982), evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins speculates on even deeper interactions
“We can intervene on the public’s behalf by advocating for design that recognizes the deeply interconnected nature of the ecosystem” between design and the body. He describes the constructed environment as integrally connected to the body, calling the product of genetics and the built environment an “extended phenotype,” part of an epigenetic landscape where the built environment shapes evolution on the genetic scale and vice versa. Artists and designers have explored this convergence of body and product design. Their work ranges from wearable technology to art series like Peter 5 Allen and Carla Ross www.knowear.net. Allen’s KnoWear, which imagines a merging of designed motifs with genetic engineering to produce designer logo skin embosses (inside front cover).5 Standing somewhere between a
tattoo and gene splicing, KnoWear is a creative effort to understand the epigenetic and imagine a radically open body. These artistic explorations suggest new ways of thinking about design. If we can map and modify an epigenetic landscape, which then alters a human genotype, physical form, and behavior, then by designing a network of systems, we can design a body and vice versa. In this model, the design process focuses on the molecular level, the less visible layer. New roles for artists and designers Edgerton’s camera revealed more than the unseen dynamics of atomic explosions. It also suggested an unsettling truth about how little we understand of nuclear energy and, by extension, the planet’s delicately balanced systems. Thanks to contributions by Edgerton and others, artists and designers have new tools with which to graph, extrapolate, and contextualize data, helping us better grasp the forces interacting in our environment and constituting the extended human body. In turn, we can intervene on the public’s behalf by advocating for design that recognizes the deeply interconnected nature of the ecosystem. Opportunities to do so have arisen in a growing number of areas through methodologies ranging from process design and service design to genetic design. We must use the insights arrived at through design thinking to establish models of sustainability incorporating a holistic consideration of the extended body in political, economic, and environmental systems. Japan’s historical and recent experience with the disastrous effects of technology on humanity and the environment makes clear the risks of designing only for the obvious body. Ed Keller is associate dean OF Distributed Learning and Technology at Parsons. He is a co-chair of “Transhumanism Meets Design: Humanity+ Partners with Parsons The New School for Design,” a conference to be held at Parsons, on May 14–15.
This photograph of the Trinity atomic bomb test, taken in 1946 by Harold Edgerton on his specially designed camera, illustrates the power of images to convey the complex interaction of forces unleashed by scientific discoveries. Photographs such as this one awakened public concern over our ability to manage the potentially disastrous effects of technology.
Photograph by Harold E. Edgerton. © MIT 2011. Courtesy of MIT Museum
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ALUMNI connected MESSAGE
Northern Lights & Southern Exposure Parsons graduates gather in New York City for a reunion and in Miami for an alumni exhibition Caroline Berry ’94, Clifford Berry, and Seth Keller ’04.
Parsons alumni inside the Caridi Gallery.
Marc Corbin ’85, Thomas Contegiacomo ’88, and Miguel Hernandes ’00.
OF GRADS Anne Gaines ’00, director of Parsons’ SPACE programs; exhibition curator Hester Esquenazi ’90; and Hazel Clark, dean of Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory.
Alumni artwork filled a Miami gallery in an event that affirmed the creative vitality of the Parsons community. Thanks to the leadership and dedication of Hester Esquenazi ’90, chair of the alumni association’s Miami chapter, 16 Parsons graduates and their work, selected from nearly 200 submissions, took center stage during the opening night of Miami Art Week. Pieces representing media ranging from fine art to furniture were on display in the Caridi Gallery in North Miami. Alumni in southeastern Florida celebrated their community and its talent, and participating artists from all over the U.S., Europe, and the United Kingdom were welcomed to the year’s most exciting week for Parsons graduates in Miami. The Miami chapter hopes to make the art show an annual signature event.
MIAMI Art show organized by the Miami chapter of the alumni association for Miami Art Week
Parsons graduates mingle and explore the artwork of fellow alumni.
ALUMNI MESSAGE connected
Jane Bannerman ’30 and Muriel Taub Glantzman ’45.
Derek Lam ’90 and Jennifer Lyons ’90.
A photobooth provided reunion souvenirs.
Marian Barba ’58 and Jean Salzberg ’58.
Gabriel Inchaspe ’90, Kit Flynn ’90, and Adrianne Weremchuk ’90.
Parsons alumni learning about the Solar Decathlon project from participating Parsons students.
Parsons Reunion 2010 brought alumni to campus to reconnect and learn about innovative projects led by Parsons students and faculty at home and abroad. The weekend opened on Friday evening with a lively conversation between J.Crew president and executive creative director Jenna Lyons ’90 and designer Derek Lam ’90, followed by cocktails. Saturday began with a panel on careers addressing social and environmental problems, followed by a luncheon organized according to degree program. Attendees then took tours of the school and heard presentations on the university’s Solar Decathlon project, the impact of the economic downturn on design industries, and Parsons’ ongoing role as a pioneer in art and design education. A cocktail party at Metropolitan Pavilion closed the day. In all, 500 alumni, students, faculty, and guests enjoyed rekindling friendships and professional relationships, meeting new members of the Parsons community, learning more about the school, and experiencing New York City.
NEW YORK CITY The 2010 Parsons Reunion Save the date for Parsons Reunion 2011, to be held October 14–16, 2011, and encourage your friends to take part!
For updates, visit www.newschool.edu/parsonsreunion.
Carol Cote ’80, Peter de Sève ’80, and Amy Bach ’81.
BODY OF WORK The alumni featured here reflect the theme of this issue through design that addresses bodily needs, artwork that depicts embodied social behavior, and curatorial work that interprets social interaction, showing how design can be a powerfully connective practice
ARIC CHEN, MFA ’00
History of Decorative Arts and Design School of Art and Design History and Theory
Aric Chen has traversed the globe for a decade as a design journalist and critic, filing stories for publications like the New York Times and Fast Company while developing a curatorial practice with top-tier institutions. Chen is currently the creative director of Beijing Design Week 2011, a government-sponsored initiative with an international scope intended to give China’s budding design industries a boost. Searching for a flexible master’s program, Chen found Parsons’ MA History of Decorative Arts and Design, whose curriculum suited him perfectly. “It provides structure but also freedom, which is what I was looking for. With it, you can become a museum curator or journalist, work in an auction house or gallery, teach, or go into any number of design industries.” After graduating, Chen pitched design-related stories to magazines including Metropolis, I.D., Interior Design, and Art + Auction. His accessible yet authoritative writings, which offer critical insights in a relaxed, witty tone, found an immediate audience. Today Chen contributes to many print and online publications.
As Chen built a career in journalism, he began collaborating with like-minded artist-designercurators, developing exhibitions and other content for entities such as Israel’s new Design Museum Holon and the 100% Design Shanghai contemporary furniture fair and consulting for commercial clients like Swarovski. He describes these projects as a natural outgrowth of his profession. “Journalism gives you a wide base of knowledge and perspective. You see a variety of options for interpreting culture and design through writing, exhibitions, and curated experiences.” Sensing opportunity in China, Chen relocated to Beijing in 2009. Soon after, he was offered his position with Beijing Design Week, which launches this fall. “It’s a time of tremendous possibility,” says Chen. “We have a chance to move design in China forward in a significant way.”
Photo by Genevieve White
Kyoung Eun Kang, MFA ’09
School of Art, Media, and Technology
Stretching across Afghanistan’s Pamir Mountains is one of the planet’s most remote regions. Yet it feels like home to French-born photographer Matthieu Paley. “I know it better than my own country,” explains Paley, who lived there this past winter among Kyrgyz nomads, the area’s only inhabitants. He is working on a book and documentary film about the Kyrgyz mountain community, titled Forgotten on the Roof of the World. Paley first studied international business in college and worked in Asia before discovering photography. He enrolled at Parsons, and “ever since, photography has become my world.” After graduating, Paley landed overseas assignments, photographing throughout Asia for NGOs such as the World Conservation Union. His images appear in international magazines and at galleries and festivals worldwide. Since 1999, he’s lived in northern Pakistan, Hong Kong, and Istanbul, his current base. Reflecting on his images, Paley says, “I think it’s essential to find stories and projects, to develop a body of work that defines you as a photographer.”
On a crowded street, a young woman places a glass jar over her head; with each breath, her face slowly disappears from view. Dressed in red, she mimics a stranger’s movements in public. These scenes from Kyoung Eun Kang’s performance videos explore a compelling theme. “My work deals with assimilation,” explains Kang, who has exhibited at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul and the Imperial City Art Museum in Beijing. Kang’s long-standing interest in transformation prompted her to make the difficult yet rewarding move from South Korea to New York City. “I was thirsty for new art experiences,” she says. Parsons helped transform her from an unfulfilled abstract painter to an inspired performance artist. In 2010, the New York Foundation for the Arts awarded her a fellowship. “When I first moved, my art spoke about fitting into a new environment. Today it involves observing and capturing daily life in the city.” Of her next project, Kang says, “My lens will focus on the human gesture.”
Matthieu Paley, AAS ’98
Photography SCHOOL OF ART, Media, and Technology
Robin Preiss Glasser, BFA ’90
Illustration School of Art, Media, and Technology
For a fictional character, Fancy Nancy has managed to win an impressive following. Readers of the popular book series of the same name are drawn to Nancy’s antics, created through the drawings and words of her co-creators, illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser and writer Jane O’Connor. Today the series is a runaway success: 35 books, sales topping 16 million copies, book tours, a Nintendo DS game, a merchandise line, and Facebook fans galore. Glasser’s fluid style captures the non-stop movement of the energetic protagonist. “I constantly strive for the effect of making my images jump off the page,” says Glasser from her California studio. Movement has been central to Glasser since age five, when she pranced into her first dance class. She was dancing professionally by age 15 and performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet for 11 years. An injury ended her career but opened up a path to another artistic passion. “I showed up at Parsons at age 30 with sketchbooks I had filled when the dance company was on hiatus,” says Glasser. “I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator, and Parsons helped me develop the confidence to express myself visually.” Glasser credits her visual style to ballet. “I understood the body and knew how to express emotions. I experience the same creative sense when drawing.” Although Glasser has illustrated other bestsellers, such as Daddy’s Girl by Garrison Keillor, she says that Fancy Nancy has taken over her professional life. “The series is hitting another tier of success, and it’s rewarding.” “Fancy Nancy is the little dancer inside of me,” explains Glasser. “She’s a plump, spirited thing who says to hell with it and holds her head up high.” www.robinpreissglasser.com
Text © 2006 by Jane O’Connor, Illustrations © by Robin Preiss Glasser Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
DANIELLE PECORA, BFA ’02
School of Constructed Environments
Printed with permission by Beacon Press.
Erin Siegal, BFA ’06
Photography School of Art, Media, and Technology
A photographic image captures a moment, but for Erin Siegal, what endures is her loyalty to the people she photographs. “I never want to betray my subjects,” explains Siegal, who has photographed for Rolling Stone, Time magazine, the New York Times, and Reuters. “So when I realized that I didn’t have full control over how my images were used, I decided to become a photojournalist and create messages combining words and pictures.” A recipient of the 2008 Anne O’Hare McCormick Scholarship Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, Siegal is currently a fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Siegal’s first major reporting will appear in a book, Finding Fernanda, to be published by Beacon Press in fall 2011. It’s a true story of a Guatemalan child’s kidnapping, two mothers living more than 1,000 miles apart, and the black market in international adoptions. “Photography kicked off my writing career,” says Siegal. “Now, using both media, I’m looking to cover more cross-border human rights stories.”
Every designer approaches the creative process differently. For Danielle Pecora, creating requires forgetting who she is before work begins. “I place myself in the role of the person who will use the product I am designing,” explains Pecora. Such role-playing helped Pecora win first prize at a national toy design competition. “The challenge was designing for a marketplace crowded with products,” says Pecora. “But a conversation about special-needs children inspired me to think about visually impaired boys and girls; I imagined living in a world without sight.” The experience gave her a new appreciation of touch. “I wanted to create a toy with strong tactile qualities that children could interact with independently.” Pecora’s award-winning design, the Braille Education Ball, will be featured in the catalog of Talk to Me, the Museum of Modern Art’s eagerly anticipated summer 2011 exhibition. Pecora says that she’ll still “step into people’s shoes” when creating future projects. “I want to design objects that will help make people’s lives better.” www.design21sdn.com/competitions/26/ entries/9450/gallery
VON ROBINSON, BFA ’98
School of Constructed Environments
“Aha!” moments early in Von Robinson’s life set him on his career path. “When visiting Frank Lloyd Wright homes as a child,” he explains, “I vividly remember feeling a spiritual sense of space. And I was awestruck by Saarinen’s Tulip chair in a secondhand store.” Relating “in a whole-body way” to other spaces and furniture led Robinson to study product design at Parsons and to later work in the field. His talent was quickly recognized. Designer Philippe Starck wanted to produce Robinson’s work, and eventually influential design entrepreneur Teruo Kurosaki did. Robinson’s furniture debuted at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair, at Tokyo Designers Week, and in Milan. Metropolis magazine named VRiD, Robinson’s company, one of America’s top up-and-coming design firms. Robinson now designs furniture systems at Steelcase North America Design Studio. He also performs in a band. “Objects worth making say something that words can’t,” asserts Robinson. “Product design involves an industrial process, but on the other end is a human. There’s a connection.” www.vrid.com www.vonrobinson.com
Photo by Danielle Pecora
“Jack’s aesthetically rigorous yet playful paintings are a pure analogy for his work as an art and design educator. For his art, Jack received a prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 2005. For his lasting mark on our school and students and his view that teaching is not a job but a calling—and numerous other qualities—Jack will be greatly missed.” — MIODRAG MITRASINOVIC — dean of the School of Design Strategies at Parsons — JOHN ROACH — director of the Foundation program at Parsons
“You want Jack on your team. When I proposed that he and his wife, Jeanette, spend two years as founding first-year faculty members at Parsons’ affiliate in Kuala Lumpur, he was game. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him!” — Ann Ledy — former chair of Parsons’ Foundation program (1992–2004) and president and CAO of the College of Visual Arts, Saint Paul, Minnesota
“Eons ago, I benefited from Jack’s patient, wise guidance while a student in the Painting and Printmaking program at Virginia Commonwealth University. His dedication to painting as a lifelong process of discovery has inspired and stayed with me. We reconnected years later as colleagues and friends, united by our curiosity about and devotion to the painter’s craft.” — Carter Hodgkin —
artist, designer, and Foundation program faculty member
celebrating D. JACK SOLOMON
“Connected” features members of the Parsons community who enrich the school through their work with alumni, students, and faculty. Adam Brent, MFA Fine Arts ’01, an instructor in the School of Design Strategies’ Foundation program, reflects on the legacy of retiring faculty member D. Jack Solomon Since 1982, Jack has taught and mentored countless students as they began a demanding course of study at Parsons. Although he leaves his position this spring after years of teaching, Jack remains part of the Parsons community, occupying an important place in the school’s history. His affable personality, confident manner, and devotion to his artistic practice and teaching have made him a model for colleagues as well. Brilliant, generous, talented, compassionate, insightful— we lack words to adequately describe his spirit and intellect, but these are a few that come to mind. Jack’s pedagogy elegantly ushers students along their creative and academic paths. His teaching draws on an acclaimed career as an artist, including numerous exhibitions and international grants and awards. While building a career as an artist and teacher, he has devoted himself to playing the role of mentor. His skill at nurturing the creative drive and talent in everyone around him will be deeply missed by students and faculty at Parsons.
A Future Together:
Helping You, Helping Parsons
On February 3, 2011, Renaud Dutreil, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc., and Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons, hosted a reception to highlight the Parsons Scholars/Diversity Scholarships. University trustees, members of Parsons’ board of governors, alums, and other friends joined current Parsons students who completed the Parsons Scholars program, their parents, and several high school teachers to celebrate the program’s success. Vasiliki Zannettis ’07, an interior designer at d-ash design, a New York-based global interiors firm, spoke movingly about how the Parsons Scholars program helped develop her skills and build a community to support her art and design talents. As she put it, “No one decision makes a life, but taking part in the Parsons Scholars program certainly changed mine and my opportunities.” Anne Gaines, director of the program (which is part of SPACE, Summer, Pre-College, and Continuing Education programs at Parsons), remembers Zannettis as a creative, hardworking student who labored on projects long after class had ended to “get them right.” In 2003, after completing the program, Zannettis was awarded a LaGuardia Scholarship that enabled her to study interior design at Parsons. While an undergraduate, she gave back to her school by helping establish the Parsons Senate, co-founding the New School Spring Extravaganza, and supporting student orientation activities. Zannettis graduated from the BFA Interior Design program with honors and was hired by d-ash design, where she develops projects for the hospitality and retail sectors. Her work on the Baronette Renaissance Hotel, Rocawear’s RocPopShop, the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, and other projects has been recognized by her design peers. This year, Boutique Design magazine named Zannettis one of the Boutique 18, honoring the hospitality world’s most innovative young designers. To read more about the Parsons Scholars program, view a video, or make a gift, visit
Have you considered including Parsons in your estate plans? Planned giving is an ideal way to provide ongoing support for innovative and socially and environmentally conscious action at Parsons. It offers donors direct financial benefits such as deductions on income, capital gains, and estate taxes, helping you and the school plan for the future. You can participate by including Parsons The New School for Design in your will or living trust, creating a charitable remainder trust that names Parsons as a beneficiary, entering into a charitable-gift annuity agreement with the university, or naming Parsons as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement plan. Bequest donors are named to the New School Legacy Circle, a group of individuals who are invited to special events, receive important university communications, and are recognized in the university’s Annual Report if they choose.
For more information about planned giving, please contact Susan Eddy at email@example.com or 212.229.5662 x3827.
Above, David E. Van Zandt, president of The New School; Vasiliki Zannettis, a former Parsons Scholar; Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons; and Renaud Dutreil, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc. and Parsons trustee, before Zannettis’ speech.
re:D (regarding Design) SPRING 2011 Executive Editor Nancy Donner
COVER STORY The cover of this issue of re:D was created by an interdepartmental team of AAS Graphic Design and BFA Communication Design students collaborating with AAS Graphic Design director Katarzyna Gruda and faculty member William Morrisey. Participating students, from Gruda and Morrisey’s Graphic Design and Silkscreen course, were Dwight Armstrong, Roxanne Bello, Stefan Knecht, and Andie Reid. In magazine covers, designers must deftly balance complementary elements—concept and execution, clarity and nuance, editorial content and design. Professors Gruda and Morrisey worked intensively with students to design re:D’s cover, accommodating the client’s needs and a tight production schedule while fulfilling the course’s pedagogical objectives. Several concepts were presented to the editorial committee, from which one solution was chosen. Under Professor Morrisey’s guidance, the students spent spring break creating props, which were then used in a photo shoot. The resulting arrangement of bodies and objects, photographed for the cover by Professor Gruda, illustrates the theme and concept of this issue. On the front cover, bodies interact with the props, activating the space and suggesting the powerful relationship between the body and design. The back cover, which lacks human figures, presents a sharp contrast that reinforces the theme. Executive dean Joel Towers commented, “As in Parsons itself, students’ physical engagement with the space is what gives it life.”
Editorial Board Jessica Arnold, Latoya Crump, Sean Moriarty, Jen Rhee Parsons Advisory Board Joel Towers, Hazel Clark, Simon Collins, Anne Gaines, Mark Hannah, Miodrag Mitrasinovic, William Morrish, Sven Travis Managing Editor Julie Novacek Godsoe Editor John Haffner Layden Contributing Writers Suzanne Bronski, Ed Keller, Anya Kurennaya, Johanna Lenander, Gabriella Mangino, Kate McCormick, Alex Wang Alumni Relations Jessica Arnold, Latoya Crump, Rachel Denny Art Director Isa Gouverneur Senior Designers Paula Giraldo, Sarah Daley Production coordinators Steven Arnerich, Sung Baik, Diana Gazzia Copy Editors Leora Harris, Kathleen Scheiner Produced by Communications and External Affairs, The New School Letters and Submissions re:D welcomes letters to the editor as well as submissions of original manuscripts, photo submissions, and artwork. Unsolicited manuscripts, related materials, photography, and artwork will not be returned. Please include your year of graduation, degree completed, and major or program. Address Changes Please submit your address changes to firstname.lastname@example.org. CONTACT US re:D, Parsons The New School for Design, 79 Fifth Avenue, 17th floor, New York, NY 10003 email@example.com www.newschool.edu/alumni/red PARSONS (760-830) Volume 28, No. 6, May 2011. PARSONS is published six times a year, in July, October, November, December, April, and May, by The New School, 66 W. 12th Street, NY, NY 10011. Periodicals rate paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to PARSONS, 66 West 12th Street, NY, NY 10011. credits Peter Allen (inside front cover); Aziz + Cucher (page 15); Chris Choi (page 02); Raina Clark (page 03); Elena Corchero (inside front cover, page 13); Aslihan Demirtas (page 12); Harold E. Edgerton/MIT Museum (page 17); Estel spa, Via Santa Rosa, 70, 36016 Thiene VI, Italy (page 25); Gallery Hanahou/CWC International (page 03); Chris Gerty (page 02); Robin Preiss Glasser (page 24); Jonathan Grassi (page 03); Graylock. com (page 02); Katarzyna Gruda (front and back cover, page 28); Marty Heitner (page 21); Silja Magg (inside front cover, page 29); Rachel Matt (model, page 10); Hannah Mooy (page 03); Katherine Moriwaki (page 12); Carly Otness/BFANYC.com (page 02); Matthieu Paley (page 23); Danielle Pecora (page 25); Joseph Saavedra (page 06); Martin Seck (inside front cover, pages 02–04, 07–08, 10, 12, 26–27); Erin Siegel (page 25); Bob Soto (page 20); Clint Spaulding/PMc (page 27); Rachael Stollar (page 02); Matthew Sussman (page 01); Two by Four (page 22); Visualizing Finance Lab (page 02); Jada Vogt (inside front cover); Genevieve White (page 23).
Roxanne Bello, BFA Communication Design; Stefan Knecht, BFA Communication Design; Dwight Armstrong, AAS Graphic Design; Andie Reid, AAS Graphic Design.
The New School does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, gender or sexual orientation, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, veteran or marital status.
RED-HANDED SILJA MAGG, BFA ’10
Photography SCHOOL OF ART, Media, and Technology
In this image from the Blue Bell series, Silja Magg turns her lens on the human form while her subject does the same. The mutual observation taking place in the photograph suggests art and design’s role of interpreting and reflecting culture. In focusing on the subject’s magnified eye, is Magg touting the power of her medium, representing herself in the image, or commenting on female identity as subject and object? Grounded in art and fashion photography—she has exhibited in galleries, has shot for magazines and retailer French Connection UK, and is photographing a book on famous Parsons fashion graduates—Magg eschews such questions. Technically assured, conceptually prescient, and thematically relevant, her work embodies another perspective on the relationship between design and the body.
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The Alumni Magazine of Parsons The New School for Design, Spring 2011.