This week we are remembering and celebrating the life of Norman Schureman, our beloved teacher, mentor and friend. It’s been 5 years since we had to say goodbye to one of the most passionate designers and significant instructors in our Art Center community. The ripples of his influence are still felt as we continue to uphold his ideals in the Product Design department, as well as through the Norman Schureman Memorial Endowed Scholarship fund. On the special week, let’s raise our glasses with pinkies out and remember our friend Norm.
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Sound is a fugitive object. We live in a muted cosmic universe – the big silence – where aural comprehension is confined to only certain molecule-rich atmospheres of planets supporting species of living things with an evolved ability to hear. We’re just damned lucky to be one of them—and even luckier to know of our own good fortune.
Without volume or mass (at least not the kind that succumbs to gravity) sound on Earth is weightless, fleeting and ephemeral—certainly not the solid we think of when contemplating the form of a physical thing. And yet sound is described in just those tangible terms, as having color, weight, body or texture. It isn’t that the material world just happens to offer us a robust set of analogies; it’s also because sound is, to our comprehension, very much like an object—a transient form of object, one that moves through time. Its shape, it might be said, is something we sense fourth-dimensionally.
As you plan your viewing party and fill out Academy Award voting ballots before the winners are revealed Sunday night, consider these opinions from our working professional Film Department faculty. The race for Oscar gold is nearing the finish line, so we asked our panel of experts not only what they think will win but what movies they would like to see recognized in various categories and why.
May the best film take home the biggest box office regardless of the number of statues the cast and crew collect.
Art Center’s reputation as a creative proving ground doesn’t exactly evoke images of artistic ardor, sunset strolls or even longing looks among the library stacks. But, as the saying goes: love is stronger than hate, war…or, in this case, work-weary creative determination. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that Art Center’s bridge has also served a figurative function, fostering deep and durable connections among more than a few alumni who have tied the knot.
So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a closer look at the elements unique to couples who survived three years of Art Center’s intense maker bootcamp of high-standards and brutal crits and successfully applied the iterative process to love.
Media Design Practices faculty member, Elizabeth Chin, illuminates her experiences doing field work in Uganda in Anthropology Now, excerpted below.
In a small village in eastern Uganda, I sat on the porch of my host’s home. A retired head teacher, he has a rumbling, stentorian voice that commands authority. As we sipped tea, he looked over at me and asked: “Is it true that in your country it is legal for a man to go with a goat?”
After a moment, I sputtered, “Well, no!”
He considered my answer. “But it is legal for a man to go with a man?”
I told him “Yes.”
He continued, “And for a woman to go with a woman?”
“That too,” I said.
Laughter, tears and, most of all, love was in abundance last Thursday evening, when more than 200 close friends and family gathered in Art Center’s Wind Tunnel Gallery to remember the extremely perceptive, bigger than life, impressively precise, brutally honest and encouragingly supportive Leah Toby Hoffmitz Milken, who passed away in October after battling a rare form of brain cancer.
President Lorne M. Buchman described Leah’s teaching as “the spine,” the core, the fundamental center for the design practice of her students. “Letterforms are a significant means through which human knowledge is conveyed and made precise, he explained. “Leah gave us the gift of knowing language, of seeing the visual word, in its most precise and exacting form. And from that came a release, a creativity of communication that can only enhance our experience as human beings.”
Product Design faculty member Jeff Higashi spent over three years inside NFL players heads. As Vice President of Product Development assigned to develop a device that would capture data to assess potential concussions, Higashi gave a lot of thought to the mechanics of the sport as well as to how the players and teams might best be served by what players wear on the field and how.
With Sunday’s Superbowl showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks swiftly approaching, we asked Jeff to explain how the X2 Biosystems’ XPatch device he helped develop might help protect players from the plague of concussions afflicting the sport. And we also seized the opportunity to ask this wearable tech designer to analyze some of the messages these two formidable teams are sending via their uniforms’ color, materials and design elements.
Sky-high architectural praise for Pasadena’s Sequoyah School, designed by Art Center instructor Alice FungMonday, January 26th, 2015
For the last 12 years, architect and visual artist Alice Fung has been teaching a materials course in Art Center’s Integrated Studies Department while working as a principal with her architecture firm, Fung + Blatt. One of Fung + Blatt’s recently completed projects, the Sequoyah School in Pasadena, is featured in the January 2015 Schools of the 21st Century special issue of Architectural Record, in an article by Sarah Amelar, excerpted below. The magazine’s annual review looks at “the world’s most architecturally significant K-12 schools…that exemplify good design as a crucial component in a school’s programmatic development.” The issue is currently on newsstands and available at Art Center’s Student Store at Hillside Campus. The project also received an Honor Award from the AIA last fall.
True to the collaborative spirit of the progressive Sequoyah School, in Pasadena, California, its students played active roles in the recent architectural changes on campus. Architects Alice Fung and Michael Blatt asked the pupils at this independent K-8 school to list their “wild dream” improvements and prioritize their needs. Their input had impact: Fung + Blatt Architects’ (F+B) initial intervention here, in 2009, was a shaded pick-up/drop-off shelter, addressing a top priority of its users. The architects also tackled small projects, gradually weaving together the eclectic campus, before transforming a long-overlooked section with new buildings.
Instead of disrupting learning, the multi-phased design work inspired it, engaging students, for example, in mapping and analyzing the existing campus. In Sequoyah’s “place-based” pedagogy, its surroundings are fodder for learning.
But the site—a 2.25-acre parcel between a freeway off-ramp and a major artery—is not an obvious spot for a school. Sequoyah leases its campus from Caltrans, the state highway agency, yet the school has flourished here for decades, striking a balance among seemingly irreconcilable conditions. (more…)
Cloud 9 formation: Environmental Design students draw inspiration from nature and Buckminster Fuller for innovative pavilion on Spain’s Costa BravaWednesday, January 14th, 2015
Cloud 9, an award-winning Barcelona-based firm known for its dynamic, cutting-edge architecture, has collaborated with Art Center’s Environmental Design Department to design and fabricate a work/play pavilion for a residential site located on Spain’s Costa Brava.
Students from multiple disciplines were challenged to create an innovative structure that would draw inspiration from the local environment (a Mediterranean hillside amid tall pine trees), integrate new media, and become a case study for future projects. Cloud 9 director Enric Ruiz-Geli, imbued by Buckminster Fuller’s interest in natural geometry and parametric design, gave students their brief in February 2013 and followed up with regular visits as the project progressed. Concepts were developed and prototyped at the College’s Hillside Campus in Pasadena before being implemented at the site in Spain.