There's tons going on here at Products of Design (and outside of Products of Design!), so every week we send out a "digest" email to share the latest course news, guest lectures, field trips, books, and interesting links. We thought it would be fun to post yesterday's email to the department blog—as you can see there is LOTS going on next week! Take a peek:
Join us at this year's Open House and Information Session, taking place on Friday, November 11, 2015—from 2-5pm. Attendees will be able to meet faculty, alumni, and current students, see projects, learn about the program, tour the studio, classroom spaces, and Visible Futures Lab, and ask questions about life at Products of Design. Delicious refreshments will be shared throughout the session. Hope to see you there! To attend, please RSVP here. And whet your appetite, take a peek at the video below, created by faculty member Michael Chung, and some snapshots of previous Open House events.
Natsuki Hayashi’s master's thesis, titled Sincerely, explores a contemporary design of assisted suicide. Utilizing design to reimagine the way we die, Natsuki pushes the boundaries of the legally, morally, and emotionally appropriate ways to end life.
“We are living in a contemporary world of slow deaths,” writes bioethicist Margaret Battin. Indeed, deaths have specific shapes to them. But with deaths that are predictable, occur later in life, and can be delayed for longer periods of time using advanced medical technology, doctors can do a lot to prolong life—even if it means more suffering for the patients. Today, most doctors have no choice but to help end the lives and suffering of their patients.
For our annual orientation futuring workshop, the Class of 2018 engaged in an all-day speculative design charette led by the Extrapolation Factory's Chris Woebken and PoD graduate Steve Hamilton. Following a lecture presentation on conceptual frameworks around the futuring and speculation, the students dove deep into creating artifacts and behiors around scenarios triggered by present and near-future scientific phenomena. Let's dive into the results below (and keep in mind that the team projects were conceived, prototyped, and performed "on the streets of New York" all within 4 hours!
MFA Products of Design proud to host the New York launch party for LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation. LEAP Dialogues, edited by Mariana Amatullo with Bryan Boyer, SVA IxD Chair Liz Danzico, and Andrew Shea, features 84 designers, educators and thought leaders discussing the challenges and opportunities around the emerging career pathways in design for social innovation.
Yawnie is a smart product that helps people develop good sleeping habits. Designed by Products of Design students Roya Ramezani and Ziyun Qi and Interaction Design student Nic Barajas, Yawnie tracks users' sleeping conditions and reminds them to go to bed on time by triggering them to yawn. Yawnie capitalizes on the notion that yawning is contagious, and uses it to help improve the sleeping habits of its user.
18 new graduate students joined Products of Design this year, and kicking off the experience was a two-day Orientation with a futuring workshop at the start and a (delicious) reception at the end. (Erin Clarkson's Cloudy Kitchen catered the closing event.) Enjoys some of the photos below!
Marianna Mezhibovkaya's Masters thesis, Outsiders: Designing Engagement With the Incarcerated, explores how design can foster compassion for the marginalized and disenfranchised incarcerated population through the creation of social support services and products.
Design strategist and storyteller Roya Ramezani did not feel gender issues in the tech industry before she started working in Silicon Valley—where she found herself in a male-dominated environment in which women were not communicating their ideas. In contrast to the statistics, she joined a diverse team. After a month, however, she discovered something that changed everything: Even when they were equal number as men in the room, women weren’t contributing to the discussions equally. They were being quiet, and she thought of them as “not being present in the meeting room.” Roya’s thesis, entitled Exponent: Amplifying the Female Voices in Tech Discourse, attempts to address these issues using product design, service design design, and platform design.
We are delighted to announce our Visiting Lecture Series lineup for the Fall 2016 season. Read more below about Neri Oxman, Anthony Dunne, Matt Manos, and Matthew Burnett, and don't forget to RSVP for the public lectures if you're in NYC!
The objective of Adem Önalan’s master’s thesis, Vakit: On the Elasticity and Subjectivity of Time, is to reframe our relationship with time—identifying opportunities that lead people to spend time well—from recontextualizing time, to slowing it down through meaningful, memorable life experiences.
Not more than 50 or 60 years ago, the idea of "disposable" did not exist; the physical objects in our lives were intended to be with us for a lifetime...or longer. Today, the convenience of disposability in the United States has become the status quo, and everything from packaging to electronics to even large-scale items like appliances and furniture are now considered throw-away. Spurred by our imperative for constant economic growth, our consumerist culture is having a detrimental impact on our environment. Judy Chi’s master thesis, Permanism: Towards the Obsolescence of Disposable Furniture, looks to reengage people with the physical products in their lives as "objects of permanence."
In order to become more brave and confident, MFA Products of Design student Eden Lew embarked on a year-long experiment to become a better designer by learning the ways of a criminal mastermind.
In her thesis, Masterminds and the Art of Misbehaving, Eden’s definition of a criminal mastermind alludes to the romanticized sector of criminals—including burglars, con men, hackers and heist planners. They are con artists who persuade victims into giving up money and valuables. They are craftsmen and tinkerers who decipher the mechanics of systems in order to later break them down. They are hackers who write inventive code to go around highly-secured firewalls, and drug cartel kingpins who run businesses as effectively as CEOs of major corporations.
The evening of March 2, 2012 will be remembered by Tahnee Pantig as one of the most violent and intimate evenings of her life. On that evening, she was physically assaulted in front of her home. After the assault, Tahnee was faced with a compelling question. “I asked myself, ‘had I somehow contributed to the conditions where this man felt the need to steal from me?’” This feeling of guilt drove her to use her thesis as a way to reconcile and understand the circumstances which led to the events of that evening, and compelled her to research these themes in her masters thesis, This Great Violence.
Products of Design MFA graduate Oscar de la Hera’s thesis, Finding North, plays at the intersection between Western, “social interventions”—such as help from friends, family or professionals—and Eastern, “introspective interventions”—such as yoga or meditation. The work aims to help individuals who have recently suffered emotional trauma transition to a more hopeful, happier, and healthier state of mind.
Products of Design MFA graduate Souvik Paul’s thesis, Unbound, seeks to empower individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), and to tackle some of shortcomings in treatment paradigms for SCI. His thesis journey began—violently—two weeks before his arrival at Products of Design in the fall of 2015. While driving her SUV down a California freeway, Souvik’s close friend, Carina, was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and paralyzed, sustaining a spinal cord injury in the T2/T3 vertebrae. When visiting her in the hospital, Souvik saw how painful her adjustment to life in a wheelchair was. Believing in the power of design to help his friend, Souvik used his thesis as an opportunity to investigate how design could assist people with spinal cord injuries to recapture their sense of agency and identity in the face of such massive physical and emotional trauma.
Wan Jung Hung’s master’s thesis, Do It Now: Overcoming Procrastination, focuses on the moments when people notice they are procrastinating. Her design interventions aim to change the direction of decision-making—from putting off tasks, to reframing those tasks, to taking care of them immediately.
Products of Design MFA graduate Ziyun Qi’s thesis, Animate: Bringing Charm and Magic to everyday life, aims to help people see the exciting in the mundane, and to re-vitalize, re-energize, and above all, re-animate the objects around us that previously gave us life, hope, and spirit. Qi argues that modern life has conditioned people to crave novelty. “We are addicted to anything that is new, and discontented with what we already have,” Qi adds. “Everything that lacks superlative status and isn’t the newest, the most expensive, or the most popular, lacks both appeal and specialness.” She began the thesis with an exploration of how stories influence us and shape our behavior.
“We live in a universe that is in constant motion. Whether we are running, driving, working, playing or even sleeping, our every action designs the world we live in from microscopic to inter-planetary.” So begins Chelsea Stewart’s master’s thesis, Atto: An Exploration Between Design and Movement, which investigates opportunities for movement to shape design, and for design to shape movement. From simple actions to complex systems, Atto aims to find a design narrative between people, objects, and the information moving around us.
In Flux, the master’s thesis of Isioma Iyamah, is about how we communicate our identities, both verbally and non-verbally. It’s about the myriad ways we create and conceptualize our spaces, using language and behavior to structure, categorize and tell our stories. And it explores the patterns of behavior that frame our social identities.
Jon Lung's master's thesis, At the Ready, is an inquiry into "preparedness" in all its forms—from the fancifully speculative, to the soberly real. It traverses the many boundaries of design in order to understand how to better fortify oneself for the ever-changing challenges that life throws our way. His thesis journey started at the individual scale—focusing on how he could better prepare himself personally. As the project continued, he looked at how he could use his skills and abilities to help those he cared about. And toward the end of his thesis journey, he concentrated less on the objects of preparedness, and more on the requisite skills.
Products of Design student, Adam Fujita, has spent the last year connecting the dots of his own experiences of xenophobia and bias—through the lens of his thesis design work using the experiences of others. His hypothesis was “to provide the undocumented community of New York City with tools—in the form of products and services—to foster greater tolerance in our communities, and to ultimately create a generation of highly successful people.” The work culminated in his thesis, XENO: From the Foreign to the Familiar.
To start of the day of the third annual MFA Products of Design Thesis Presentations, aptly named "T3IRD", program chair Allan Chochinov welcomes guests, families, and simulcast viewers, discusses the unique thesis protocol of the MFA program, and talks about "how the number 3 is special across all human endeavor." Enjoy!
Product and Experiential Designer Belen Tenorio’s thesis, Re-Mind, explores productivity, and re-evaluates Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Hyperactivity Disorder in the context of a quick-fix society that too eagerly medicates individuals.
Almost since birth, Louise-Anne van ‘t Riet has spent her spare time in museums and galleries. “When I’m surrounded by art, I have the feeling that my mind flies;” she proclaims, “that time is suspended and nothing else matters other than recharging my energy.” Lou is a designer whose work is very often influenced by art—it always inspires her and helps her to meditate and escape. But her thesis is not about creating art. Rather, Lou’s products and services are an attempt to make art accessible, enjoyable, and understandable to people who don’t appreciate art.
Products of Design MFA graduate Panisa Khunprasert’s thesis, Hereafter, uses her role as a designer to create products and services that enable us to externalize grief in an empowering and beautiful way. The world of bereavement—in a contemporary society which does not talk about death or grief—is fertile ground for design.