Sourcebook Class of 2015: The World, The Collective, The Secrets

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The World, The Collective, The Secrets is a publication of the 2015 MFA in Design program at California College of the Arts. It is an archive that looks past individual inquiries in favor of a collective voice. It is a zeitgeist – a cumulation of topics addressing the current state of design. These topics include: the relationship between analog and digital, the cost of higher education, tech-industry buzz words and the media’s greater effect.

A Range of Indeterminate Results: MFA Thesis Show 2015

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The Graduate Program in Design is proud to present the 2015 MFA Thesis Exhibition: A Range of Indeterminate Results.

The exhibition will feature individual and collaborative works of graphic, interaction, and industrial design from more than 40 degree candidates who have completed CCA’s prestigious transdisciplinary graduate curriculum.

Curatorial StatementWe are shaped by the spaces and things we create. We are simultaneously orchestrators and participants in the transformation of ideas from concept to thing. Hierarchies and understandings of social relations and norms are in deep flux.

Our insides have become our outsides, our intimacies public, we socialize in the private space of solitary interfaces. The ground we stand on is rapidly moving, but there are moments in this shifting landscape to lead by example in the advocacy of resiliency, purposeful translation of human thought, and creation of joy.

The California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Design class of 2015 invites you to walk in and among the overlapping fields of our work, practices, and lives in A Range of Indeterminate Results.
Please join us in congratulating the graduating class of 2015.

Opening Reception: Thurs., May 14, 6-10 p.m.*
Exhibition hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
More information: Estee Eliasoph at eeliasoph@cca.edu

* Note: The exhibition opens to the public May 14 at 6 p.m.

Sound Horizons: Designing for Perspective, Connection, and Reflection / MFA Thesis 2015

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Some days technology really wrecks me. I wake up and the first thing I do is reach for my phone to switch off my alarm. Without thinking, I make my way through text notifications, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the Weather app. I wake up, and I don’t look out through my window.

When I think about our relationship with technology, there is a lot to be grateful for. But experience also reminds us that access and ease are only part of what goes into a meaningful life. How are we spending our minutes, our hours, and our days? What will we remember when we look back?

My work is a meditation on our relationship with mobile, networked technology. Using sound as a tool, both in the process of designing and within the designed, I am exploring ways to disrupt habitual, automatic behavior. My goal is to broaden the conversation interaction designers have when considering the whole complexity of the human experience for which we are designing.
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http://irenechou.com/

The Block The Beast The Tower / MFA Thesis 2015

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Lawrence’s work examines the role of competing mythologies in the formulation of ideas of place. Lawrence calls the friction between societal-level myths and personally held ideologies ‘myth tectonics’. It is in the space of these ‘myth tectonics’ that Lawrence creates graphic design to respond and contribute to understandings of place, myth, community, and politics. Lawrence has been working specifically with the Bison Paddock of Golden Gate Park, Sutro Tower, and the Mission Neighborhood near 24th and Folsom Streets for his thesis.

Variability & Play In The Third Place / MFA Thesis 2015

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This thesis focuses on our relationship to the urban environments we inhabit as well as the people who we share them with. We are constantly navigating a sea of people, usually strangers, but we don’t realize the impact those people have on our perception of our surroundings, their impact on our wellbeing, and our own ability to positively affect another person’s life. Throughout this exploration I play with different modes of intervention in public space as a way to disrupt the environment, people’s lives and the way we relate to each other. The work looks to provoke momentary connections between people in the public realm, which means: getting strangers to interact in unexpected yet delightful ways, as a reminder of the importance of human connection outside of our private contexts.The ultimate goal of this thesis is to infuse the urban landscape with variability, play and most importantly, kindness.

Endless Constructions / MFA Thesis 2015

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Rules, habits and definitions arise from agreements that humans have made to construct a reality that we can all understand. These parameters create order within ourselves and our environment, allowing this world to function. However, I wonder whether an excess of automated behavior restricts our ability to experiment with new ways of making and delight in the unexpected.

Due to my graphic design background and my lack of knowledge of 3d software, I am interested in exploring how to construct physical objects using graphic design tools. Through this process, objects turn into unexpected forms between the 2d and 3d realm, the known and the unknown, leaving space for endless interpretations.

All methods used share the ability to distort, which, Jacques Aumont suggests in the book The Image, is an effect directly related to innovation. Most of the time, for a work to show what Aumont calls “formal freshness,” it must pay the cost of appearing distorted. Such distortion can only happen to a legitimate form.

Influenced by artistic movements and techniques that manipulate and distort vision, perspective and form, such as Cubism, Defamiliarization, Anamorphosis, and Multistability, I am interested in presenting ordinary objects in unusual ways. In doing this, I seek to raise questions about perception and enable viewers to experience more than simply the pure functionality of objects.

Ecological Imagination / MFA Thesis, 2015

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Cristina Gaitán’s thesis focuses on enabling a sense of ecological imagination in the urban population of San Francisco. She examines water systems as a typology of natural systems, seeking to make massive scales and systems legible at human scale. The body of work is a collection of discrete performative objects, deployed as interventions into public and private urban space. By designing disjunctive moments of noticing, the work asks people to investigate their relationship, understanding and connection to the natural networks that surround them.

Our perception has myopically evolved to perceive only a limited scope of the scales of time and space, creating dissonance in matters of interpreting ideas of larger terrestrial and celestial systems. We have created technologies that reach far beyond our narrow existential understanding of the world, and how things are interconnected. The ambition of Ecological Imaginations is the development of processes to (re)connect people to the earth, one another, and the self.

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Temporal Typography / MFA Thesis 2015

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Within the field of typography, letterforms typically embody either static or kinetic forms. However there is yet another category that escapes the purely static or purely kinetic. This is temporal typography.

Unlike static typography, these forms are not bound by one iteration within a singular viewing experience. And similar to kinetic type, temporal typography carries the stamp of time but is not relegated movement or time-based media.

Temporal letterforms have the ability to manifest themselves in both static and kinetic ways, as well as physical and digital and therefore cannot be evaluated by the same functional factors of traditional typography: legibility and readability. Viewership and perception are elevated, and formal and experiential conditions are re-prioritized as the forms transition from one state to the next.

As a means of mapping the territory of temporal typography and setting parameters for my explorations, I have identified and defined three independent qualities of temporal type: transitory, navigable, and medial. My studies examine these characteristics as distinct from one another allowing me to explore the boundaries and define intrinsic qualities of temporal typography.
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http://www.bfrancesi.com/

Understanding Our Relationship With Water / MFA Thesis 2015

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With California facing a severe drought, the way we consume and waste our water is becoming an increasingly important issue that must be addressed both individually and collectively. Yet, information regarding such environmental concerns tends to be presented in forms that are abstract, overwhelming, and easily dismissed as ‘someone else’s problem.’ The goal for this project is to work towards methods of creating a hopeful mindset that foster action and lead to change. It consists of activities and objects presented in the form of a challenge that inform and highlight our consumption of water.  Participants should come out of the experience equipped with confidence, knowledge, and novel ideas around how they can positively influence their community and environment.

You Are The Text / MFA Thesis, 2015

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In narrative texts, there exists an intangible space between an author/creator’s written word, and how that written word is perceived in the mind of a reader/viewer.  My thesis explores the role of the designer in activating this space.

The use of words in the English language works because it possesses a set of groupings of letters that we have agreed signify a specific set of meanings. While these meanings may seem rather inflexible (as the English dictionary would have you believe), this is not the case at all. Our own personal memories, identities, and biases reform and reshape these meanings all the time. This is particularly so because when we see the visual manifestation of the word, it is symbol. Visual symbols however, leave a great deal of room for interpretation. How can these visual symbols of reading be manipulated to convey a certain viewpoint or context? And how does that change the experience of reading and imagining?”

Hear Here / MFA Design Thesis 2015

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Hear Here is about the use of sound as an effective medium of communication to improve intimacy and longevity of long-distance relationships.Initial field research determined that the use of environmental sound as an alternative means of communicating, in real time, what is occurring in the respective lives of each person in a relationship enables a couple to feel closer emotionally. It even creates the illusion that they are physically closer. Moreover, auditory perception offers a strong balance between reality and imagination, and can lead to a synchronizing of the couple’s senses. Most importantly, constant communication with partners through sound fulfills couples’ most essential emotional need to feel their partner’s company.
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See Video

Towards The Object As Event / MFA Design Thesis 2015

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My thesis project presents a constellation of work that surrounds the idea of presentness. What is it to be present in the world? How can an object be designed to facilitate and enhance presentness in the user? How can an experience be designed that occupies a space of becoming, a moment in time that an be experienced and taken out into the world?

The object as event is an experience where the object spills outside of its physical dimensions, into a 4th axis of movement. I design and create objects that ask the user to participate in their completion as experiences. This is the experiencing of presentness or activated awareness that can be used as a certain practice for taking out into the world around you. It is to enable a detour into an alternative mode of existence or perception. It is a space of curiosity and inquiry with the world.
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www.imperfectevidence.com

Instruments of Harmony / MFA Thesis, 2015

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The Instruments of Harmony are digital instruments, constrained by specific parameters and a specific intent. The parameters: (1)The instrument should be for two or more people to play together. (2)The instrument should be controlled by gesture only, without traditional digital music controls like knobs and buttons. (3)The instrument should play digital sounds. The intent: To offer alternative tools, platforms, and contexts for music-making.
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www.mattpearsonworkshop.com

MFA Design Lecture: Everything you Always wanted to know about Swiss Graphic Design* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) Marco Walser of Elektrosmog in conversation with Jon Sueda

Biography:
Marco Walser studied visual communications at the Zurich University of the Arts and spent a year in London with an internship at Graphic Thought Facility. In 1999 he founded the Büro Elektrosmog in Zurich, which he heads as creative director. The studio designs books for artists, architecture magazines, visual identities for museums, and posters for theaters.

Walser offers workshops and teaches graphic design and typography at various institutions including the Zurich University of the Arts, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam or the University for Graphics and Arts of the Book in Leipzig.

He has received many awards and prizes for book production, including the prize for the Most Beautiful Swiss Books and the Jan Tschichold Prize (2005).

Walser lives and works in Zurich.

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MFA Design Lecture: Keetra Dixon

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Biography:
Keetra Dean Dixon is a designer and artist who relocated from NYC to rural Alaska in April of 2014. She and her partner, JK Keller, test the claim “We can work from anywhere” by building a new studio practice with a remote home base. Dixon traded in her team leading role as an Experiential Design Director for more independent practices, including Lettering and Product Design. Her hybrid design background continues to lead her work towards speculative terrain, leveraging emergent technologies and process focused making.

Dixon has been recognized on several fronts including a U.S. presidential award, a place in the permanent design collection at the SFMOMA, and the honorable ranking of ADC Young Gun (6). Her clients have included NYTimes, Nike, VW, and Coach. She acted as Design Director for installations featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale and has shown at the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, and will be included in Paola Antonelli’s Design and Violence with the MoMA in 2015. In April of 2015 Dixon will be a featured speaker at the Type Directors Club in NYC.
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http://fromkeetra.com
http://fromktoj.com
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Keetra Dixon Workshop: FORM (MISUSED & ABUSED)

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Workshop Synopsis:
This workshop asks participants to innovate using formally focused processes. It’s a peak into R&D from my perspective. There is blending of analogue and tech fabrication, intentional and accidental output, and embracing of the unexpected. I often integrate ideas of “theft,” exchange, transparency of process, and social authorship. The workshop evolves familiar methods in hopes of revealing new methods of form making moving between “thinking through making” modes and “making through thinking.”
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Biography:
Keetra Dean Dixon is a designer and artist who relocated from NYC to rural Alaska in April of 2014. She and her partner, JK Keller, test the claim “We can work from anywhere” by building a new studio practice with a remote home base. Dixon traded in her team leading role as an Experiential Design Director for more independent practices, including Lettering and Product Design. Her hybrid design background continues to lead her work towards speculative terrain, leveraging emergent technologies and process focused making.

Dixon has been recognized on several fronts including a U.S. presidential award, a place in the permanent design collection at the SFMOMA, and the honorable ranking of ADC Young Gun (6). Her clients have included NYTimes, Nike, VW, and Coach. She acted as Design Director for installations featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale and has shown at the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, and will be included in Paola Antonelli’s Design and Violence with the MoMA in 2015. In April of 2015 Dixon will be a featured speaker at the Type Directors Club in NYC.

Keetra received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design in 1999 and a Masters of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2006.

MFA Design Lecture: materious / Bruce Tharp

Lecture Synopsis:
Bruce will be discussing the topic of discursive design—when designers use the product-form as a means to communicate substantive ideas in hopes of inspiring reflection and debate, allowing design to participate more broadly in culture. While this mode of design has historically been located outside of industry and commerce, it is now being used within traditional corporate design research processes. While commonly understood as critical design, I will also discuss the notion of criticality and how discursive design differs.
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Bio:
Bruce M. Tharp and his wife Stephanie M. Tharp established their creative studio, materious, in Chicago in 2005. “Materious” is an archaic word that means both “substance” and “substantive,” reflecting their concern for imbuing deep meaning, messaging, and value within domestic artifacts. At times aiming for provocation and pertubation, while at others sustenance and service, their practice spans the four fields of commercial-, responsible-, experimental-, and discursive design. They have patented and licensed designs that are sold commercially, been awarded commissions from Moet-Hennessy and the Art Institute of Chicago, and also engage in self-production and wholesale/retail sales. Materious has exhibited in Milan, Paris, New York, and in China, with their work represented commercially in Japan, China, Singapore, Australia, Russia, across Europe, Canada, and South America. After studying mechanical engineering at Bucknell University and becoming the distinguished graduate of Pratt Institute’s Master of Industrial Design program, Bruce went on to receive a MA and PhD in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. As an anthropologist he spent two years living with the Amish of Indiana studying their material culture and consumption. His dissertation work was published as “Ascetical Value: The Materiality of Spirituality among the Old Order Amish.” Currently he is finishing an essay, “Value in Dispossession,” for an Anthropology of Arts Reader (Bloomsbury), and along with Stephanie Tharp is working on a book project entitled Discursive Design – a realm of alternative and expansive design practice that they have helped to problematize and legitimize over the past decade. Previously to the Stamps School of Art and Design Bruce helped plan and build the Designed Objects graduate program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He most recently was the Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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http://www.materious.com/
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MFA Design Lecture: Mike Kuniavsky / Why make the Internet of Things?

Lecture Synopsis:
Why make the Internet of Things?

There’s a lot of hype today around the Internet of Things, but there are few clear descriptions of what it is, why it’s valuable, and how to design for it. This talk will describe one approach for thinking about why we make the Internet of Things, and how it’s different than just making more gadgets. In the process, the talk discusses the effects that the IoT has on consumers, on developers and on business models and touches on both user experience and service design.
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Biography:
Mike Kuniavsky is a user experience designer, researcher, and author. A twenty-year veteran of digital product development, Mike designs products, business processes, and services at the leading edge of technological change.

Prior to joining PARC, he co-founded several successful user experience centered companies, including ThingM, which designs and manufactures ubiquitous computing and Internet of Things products, and Adaptive Path, a well-known design consultancy. He specializes in multi-device interactions, cloud-based service design, and design of hardware products connected to cloud-based services. His background includes design for social analytics, consumer electronics, appliances, image retrieval, RGB LEDs, and financial services.

He has worked with some of the world’s top technology companies, such as Samsung, Sony, Nokia, Whirlpool, and Qualcomm, to design new products, guide product strategy, and create user-centered design and development cultures.

He is the author of “Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research” and “Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design” both of which are used as standard university textbooks. He received a dual major B.S./B.A. in Computer Science and Film/Video Studies from the University of Michigan.

He lives in San Francisco with his family and loves new music.

Mike Kuniavsky Poster

MFA Design Lecture: Julian Bleecker / Near Future Laboratory

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Lecture Synopsis:
TBD Catalog — the near future’s normal, ordinary everyday product catalog. It’s a glimpse at your future as hinted at through 166 products, advertisements and classifieds. It’s your future, only not the future you may have imagined. It is, though, the quite likely future if the titans of Silicon Valley and their earnest eager app programming day laborers see that their visions become reality.

Come. Take a look. This is your near future normal ordinary everyday. This is TBD Catalog.
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Biography:
Julian Bleecker is the co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory and Creative Director of TBD Catalog, a design fiction project of the Near Future Laboratory’s Publishing Bureau. The Near Future Laboratory produced a workshop in Detroit in which the archetype of the product catalog was used as a template to imagine today’s “disruptions” as tomorrow’s normal, ordinary, everyday products. This is what became TBD Catalog.
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http://tbdcatalog.com
http://makingof.tbdcatalog.com
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Julian Bleeker Poster

Satellites / MFA Thesis, 2014

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Processes, Recipes, Laws, Operations, Techniques, Titles, Teachings, Prescriptions, Modus operandi, Equations, Programs, Haiku, Philosophy, Paradoxes, Requests, Puzzles, Principles, Proposals for actions, Methods, Invitations to participate, Restrictions, Poetry, Proverbs, Pure concepts, Training, Coaching, Lessons, Constraints, Restrictions, Abstractions, Rituals, Mechanisms, Conditions, Protocols

Instructions, Scores, Algorithms etc. explores using process-based systems, algorithms, and instructions to generate discursive images and forms, as an alternative to the commercial design process. The goal of developing this methodology is that it will lead to surprising results that cannot be premeditated. The outputs from these operations should act as non-prescriptive starting points for functional objects that can be interpreted, divided, and remixed into an infinite number of potential products categories.

The methodology I develop for working with procedural design should be a tool for my work, and ideally other designer’s work, in the future. Building this strategy for design is not an endpoint in itself, but an exploration into some of the potential avenues for working in this way.

MFA Design Lecture: Luna Maurer (Moniker)

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Biography:
Luna Maurer cofounded Moniker studio with Jonathan Puckey and Roel Wouters in 2012. Moniker works on commissioned designs as well as projects of an autonomous and experimental nature.

The studio works across various media for a wide range of clients in the cultural and commercial sectors.

Maurer, Puckey, and Wouters’s work explores the social effects of technology — how we use it and how it influences our daily lives. Often, they ask the public to take part in the development of their projects.

The results grow like plants, displaying their inner organizational process.

This program is funded, in part, by public funds from the Netherlands Consulate General in New York.
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http://studiomoniker.com/
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Luna Maurer (Moniker) Workshop: Dutch Design Week

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Workshop Synopsis:
For the Luna Maurer workshop with the MFA Design program at CCA, students were split into four independent teams. Each team had to create one letter of the NATO phonetic alphabet while following a set of rules.

Instructions for each turn and player:
– Connect your line to a line of another color: 
You may not connect it to your own colour. Start and end at a dot.
 Lines may not cross.
– Place a dot.
– Try to form the words Alpha Bravo Charlie etc..
– End when all tape is finished.
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View a Video of the Workshop
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This program is funded, in part, by public funds from the Netherlands Consulate General in New York.

And the Whole World Stops – Fog / MFA Thesis, 2014

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And the Whole World Stops is a series of short films and a visual exploration of our daily environment that we often assume predictable and mundane. Through visualizing landscapes where awe and time reside together, my goal is to provide the viewer with opportunities to slow down and indulge in a brief moment of contemplation and reflection. A moment that we all need to live healthy and balanced lives.
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See Video