“An American had done the Louvre in nine minutes, forty-five seconds. They decided to do better.”
(from Bande à part, Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)
“The Museum Interface” a conversation between Sarah Hromack and Rob Giampietro
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (BBC Documentary Series)
Ways of Seeing Ways of Seeing. (a website collecting PDFs of the book version of Ways of Seeing)
Building a Bigger Picture
An Interview with Rob Giampietro (RISD Thesis Critic, Google Design NY)
How can all of our senses be used to design and communicate experience?
As graphic designers we tend to privilege a visual perspective. But experience actually relies on all our senses (touch, sound, smell, taste, visual), inevitably part of one’s total nature for experience. When we set out to capture experience, with the goal of informing others, can we do so in multiple dimensions? How might we use all of our senses to enhance understanding? In this unit, we’ll look at translating sensory input — in the form of a fully immersive, shared experience at the RISD Museum — into experiential output.
You will begin by setting aside expectations and entering the RISD Museum with a beginner’s mind, searching for discrete moments that you connect to using an array of senses. You will identify five of these sensory “inputs” — experiences in the museum that are important to you — and record them in some way. These inputs will be developed, expanded and refined into a series of five output expressions that communicates some aspect of the museum to a public audience.
Think of this project as an investigation in experiential design at the scale of the body in physical space, with the museum collections, gallery spaces, surfaces, sounds and smells as your content. How will you record, develop, design and articulate this experience in ways that capture the essence of your content? How might your design project go beyond the conventions for marketing an arts institution?
— Learn to sharpen sensory input into rich output
— Explore design experientially as a means to understanding
— Develop products that reflect information and experience
— Develop an understanding of relational design (user experience, social context, environment)
Part 1: Five inputs (1.5 weeks)
— Engage with the RISD Museum.
— Use all senses to explore and inquire: sight (seeing), sound (hearing), touch (feeling), smell (olfactory), taste (oral). Note that time may also be used as another “sense.”
— Record your experiences.
— Communicate your experiences to the studio.
Part 2: Development (1 week)
— Focus on at least two experiences from the museum.
— Expand these into multiple ideas and forms.
Part 3: Five outputs (2 weeks)
— Consider your audience and develop the ideas into a project that communicates your sensory experience of the museum.
— Design your project into five outputs that express the museum experience.
— Prototype your design.
— Work collaboratively to present an installation of your projects in the GD Commons.
Things to consider:
— How do you communicate personal values and insights from your experience?
— What are the platforms and media to best communicate your ideas?
— Can others (teams, sharing) help you appreciate the value to the whole?
— What role does time play in sensory experience?
Our first visiting designer lecture of the semester is this Thursday.
February 25, 6:30pm
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center
Michael Rock is a founding partner and Creative Director at 2×4 and Director of the Graphic Architecture Project at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. At 2×4, he leads a wide range of projects for Prada, Nike, Kanye West, Barneys New York, Harvard and CCTV. Before starting 2×4, he was co-founder of Information incorporated in Boston. From 1984–91 he was Adjunct Professor of Graphic Design at the Rhode Island School of Design and since 1991 he has been a member of the design faculty at the Yale School of Art where he holds the rank of Adjunct Professor. In addition, he was a fellow at the Jan Van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht, The Netherlands, and a contributing editor and graphic design journalist at I.D. Magazine in New York. His writing on design has appeared in publications worldwide. He holds an A.B. in Humanities from Union College and a M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design. He is the recipient of the 1999/2000 Rome Prize in Design from the American Academy in Rome and currently serves on the board of the Academy.
Michael’s classic essay Designer as Author (1996)
How do reflection, documentation and synthesis facilitate awareness?
Throughout the semester you will develop your own reflective process, running parallel to the other units. Nurturing a daily practice that notes your experience and insights (experiments, failures, interests, questions, methodologies) is a bridge to learning. In this unit you will give yourself a space to nurture this practice. In addition, a final Reflective Process Document will be prepared during your final 2 weeks of the semester.
— Nurture your reflective practice daily via written notes on your DS studio work and experiences.
— Even if only for a minute or so.
— Write spontaneously.
— Use any writing style that feels comfortable and natural to you.
— Feel free to add visual notes, as needed.
— Don’t belabor it! This is not an English class, not a thesis, not a test.
You will be asked to share your reflective process with your instructor at various times throughout the semester. This is not meant to “prove” anything but rather to show evidence of your attention to your work. There may be no response/critique.
Towards the end of the semester, you will be asked to synthesize your notes into a more finished process document that will be shared with your instructor, to be graded as Unit 18. We will spend time on this during the last two weeks of the semester. More details to come.
What are my design values?
Often, we are called upon to respond to a design challenge with solutions. But deep insight into a design process begins with awareness, self-directed inquiry and questions, not answers. If we allow uncertainty and risk into our practice, even vulnerability, we might get closer to our own values and identity as a designer. Unintended consequences and surprise can be key ingredients in the search for our own position in the world of design. In this introductory unit we will practice a questioning stance as preparation for your last semester in the Design Studio sequence, and for the faculty to take note of your needs and interests.
— Begin by yourself. Using the index cards, generate a series of questions around your own interests in design. What is important to you? (30 minutes)
— There are no right or wrong questions, but try to ask questions that are open to flexible opinions and points of view (rather than yes/no questions). Open is good. Try to be as authentic as possible to your own identity as a designer.
— Now, pair up. Interview each other about your questions. Test them. . . how do they hold up to conversation? Try asking: why — what if — how — how might we? Which questions resonate? Which are most important? Choose three. (60 minutes)
— Double the groups and expand the conversation. Discuss your sets of questions. (30 minutes)
— Give form to one (or two but no more than three) of your questions with image, text and/or objects. (60 minutes)
— Install your expression in the GD Commons and be ready for a group discussion at 5pm.