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Evan Roth, "Internet Cache Self Portrait: July 17, 2012"

Evan Roth, “Internet Cache Self Portrait: July 17, 2012″


How do we use curation to tell stories?


“The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.”
Douglas Huebler, 1969

We’re swimming in data. The relentless production of digital material has shifted us into a new condition where the foundation of graphic design — image and language — cannot exist without somehow touching (or being touched by) the internet. Massive archives, from digitized libraries to the quantified self, are part of the new landscape that artists and designers rely on for the production and communication of networked culture. In the face of this overwhelming accumulation of found stuff, curation is key. In this unit, we’ll look at how archives, collections and curation can be used to investigate memory, authorship and storytelling.

Learning Objectives
  1. Increase awareness and understanding for the changing nature of content as it relates to design and networked culture
  2. Learn to position yourself in relation to a specific archive of material and investigate its storytelling potential
  3. Learn to translate existing material into new work (design authorship)
  4. Learn to assemble, design and communicate ideas into stories using different kinds of media (publishing)
Studio 1: Surf / search

Search for an archive or collection. Look for existing photos, text messages, spam, novels, selfies, paintings, tweets, data, recipes, paint colors, stories, purple things, pyramidal things, dreams, code, books, artworks, status updates — anything. The only criteria is that the material interests you, and that you feel compelled to share it. Develop a point-of-view about the material.

  • What makes it a collection? If it already exists, what kind of audience does it already have? Or are you creating the collection?
  • If you’re searching online, spend at least two hours surfing the web, preferably more. Wander, explore and dig into parts of the web that reveal the unexpected. If you’re searching offline, be aware of how the found material does or does not engage with the network. Record your journey.
  • Is your collection ordered or disordered? is there a taxonomy?
  • Quantify the material — how big is it? how much memory? how many pages, images, items, authors?

Present your point-of-view and an in-depth analysis of your collection in one week. Include as many metrics as possible (quantity, taxonomy, authorship, timeline, etc.) and at least three concepts embedded in your collection that suggest larger stories.

Due Wednesday 9/16.

Studios 2 – 5:

Compile / document

You will document your collection in at least two different ways and present your documentation. Consider your options — do you print it out? photograph it? scan it? bind it? how else can you record it? How do different techniques of documentation and reproduction change the nature of the material?

Curate / translate

Curation *always* involves interpretation and translation. Edit your collection (in multiple ways) to shape a range of new meanings.

Storytelling / publish

Design a way to communicate and publish your work — make it public.

Studio 6: Final critique (Wednesday 9/30)

Suggested readings

Hito Steyerl, Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?
Clement Valla, The Universal Texture
Archives of Memory
Gerhard Richter’s “Atlas”: The Anomic Archive
Cornell University’s site devoted to Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas
Walter Benjamin, Unpacking My Library
Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Lecture slides

September 14 lecture (PDF)
September 21 lecture (PDF)


4 Assignments / Outline / Unit 11: Paul Soulellis   b Add comment       

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Below are common deadline for all sections. Some instructors may ask for additional deliverables or provide more details

May 7: Last week of classes

– Bring results of both of your extended units to pin up or display for a walkabout
– Critique in your section

May 19: Sophomore Reviews

– Bring actual reflective document. Overview of that.
– Send electronic files to your instructor for results of all units and reflective document: a minimum of six files (pdf, etc.). This may be done via Dropbox, email, etc.
– Work from outside this class is also required for sophomore review. The above is what is needed from DS2.

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Many great projects related to Unit 8. Particularly Ben’s collaboration with the Elevator Repair Service performance troupe. Their collaborative works show how manual execution of recordings and automated processes lead to interesting results. See:

Info on the lecture

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w “The Machines are Coming”


How can we begin to communicate a complex idea or action using an economical combination of words, type, and image?


Identity design is a critical skill practiced by graphic designers. Before an entity (be it a company, organization, or cause) can create collateral, launch websites, pitch products or conduct campaigns, that entity must have a well-conceived identity. A well-conceived identity is not just a memorable mark (logo); it is also a considered synthesis of language and typography, image and environment. For this unit, students will attempt to encapsulate a socially responsible cause (e.g. light pollution or eliminating land mines) using a simple yet sophisticated combination of words, type, and image. The resulting logotypes or logos may serve as a catalyst for further investigation into identity systems, messaging, or audience engagement.

Learning objectives

– Communicate a complex issue using minimal language or form (identity design)
– Add layers of meaning or content to your identity (create an identity system)
– Explore unconventional methods and media for promoting your identity (engagement)

One-week assignment

Download pdf

Extended portion

Download pdf

4 Unit 10: Rich Rose   b 2       

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