Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category

Art Center students pave the road into the future of autonomous cars

Friday, June 19th, 2015
First cars to travel The Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. Photo (detail): Los Angeles Public Library

First cars to travel The Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. Photo (detail): Los Angeles Public Library

In On the Road, Jack Kerouac wrote, “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

But what does it mean when that “next crazy venture” is fueled by a set of algorithms?

As we’ve previously reported, the arrival of autonomous cars could very well usher in a new era of safer roads. But might the public be hesitant to hand over the keys of their vehicle–often seen as a bedrock American symbol of freedom–to Apple, Google or Uber?

“The promise of the automobile 100 years ago was being able to go anywhere, anytime,” says alumnus Stewart Reed (69), chair of Art Center’s transportation design programs. “This idea freed people from structuring their lives around stagecoach or train schedules and opened up a world of new experiences.”

What wasn’t the promise 100 years ago? Moving 11,700 vehicles an hour at peak times through the Sepulveda Pass. (more…)

Move over, Siri, and let Nan Wang’s Cartner do the driving

Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Still from graduate Media Design Practices student Nan Wang's Cartner project.

Still from graduate Media Design Practices student Nan Wang’s Cartner project.

Earlier this week at its WWDC 2015 developer’s conference, Apple announced that iOS 9–the next iteration of its operating system for its iPhone and iPad devices–will include a beefed-up “proactive” version of its voice-driven Siri software that will anticipate user’s needs and deliver relevant information in a timely manner.

Cool stuff, right? Now imagine how such a human-computer interface might evolve. And imagine it in your car.

That’s precisely what graduate Media Design Practices (MDP) student Nan Wang envisioned last fall in a course entitled New Car Experiences.

In that studio course led by Associate Professor Ben Hooker, MDP students spent the entire 14-week term creating “video sketches”–polished visualizations intended to spark discussion–based on student research conducted during the previous term in a class also led by Hooker and his MDP colleague Professor Tim Durfee.

“We immersed ourselves in the current visions of the automotive future to find out how different industries think things are going to play out,” says Hooker, whose expertise lies in collaborations within the field of human-computer interaction, of the research that led to the video sketches. “It soon became apparent there wasn’t one clear view, and that there was space for fresh thinking in this arena.”

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Illuminating Lumi: charting a startup’s path from Shark Tank to Y Combinator to VC funding

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
Jesse Genet with Inkodye display

Jesse Genet with Inkodye display

When 16-year old Jesse Genet began printing tee shirts in her parents’ basement, the enterprising teen could have scarcely fathomed a future in which her bright idea would morph into Lumi, a company with $2.5 million in sales, which appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, earned a coveted spot in Silicon Valley’s hottest startup incubator Y Combinator (think Airbnb, reddit, Dropbox) and has just closed on a seed venture round of financing.

Jesse and Lumi business partner Stephan Ango met as Product Design students at Art Center. Before starting college, however, Jesse was a natural-born entrepreneur who sought out a better way to print photography on textiles. A ton of research led her to a reference about a dye process that intrigued her and eventually led her to the man who owned the rights to the dye and the last inventory of the substance. She first contacted him while still in high school. “He didn’t take me seriously at first,” Jesse recalls. “After all I was just a high school kid. It wasn’t until Stephan and I joined forces and we made several trips to Northern California to meet with him that he finally began to negotiate with us seriously.” (more…)

Autonomous for the people: cars of the future will need to balance new features with safety

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

 

Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s Connected Mobility “video sketch.”

Still from Media Design Practices students Elaine Cheung’s and Shan Shen’s Connected Mobility.

Last week, Chevrolet announced that more than a dozen of its 2016 cars and trucks would be compatible with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, the tech giants’ competing in-dash interfaces for vehicles that connect to the driver’s smartphone.

Considering both CarPlay and Android Auto were only publicly announced last year, the speed of Chevrolet’s adoption of these interfaces could signal a sea change in how quickly automakers respond to consumers’ demands.

Geoff Wardle, executive director of Art Center’s graduate Transportation Systems and Design program, says Silicon Valley’s forays into the transportation arena have lit the proverbial fire under Detroit.

“Traditionally the car industry has designed vehicles over a three- to four-year time period,” says Wardle. “But people want the same features in their cars that they have on their smartphones, which change every few months.”

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Doing the unimaginable: Alum Dan Santat’s Caledecott-winning book to become animated feature

Friday, May 29th, 2015
Detail of an illustration from Beekle by Dan Santat. Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Detail of an illustration from Beekle by Dan Santat. Courtesy Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

It’s been quite a year for Illustration alumnus Dan Santat (BFA 01).

Back in February, he was awoken at 4:30 a.m. by a call from the American Library Association (ALA) with the news that his childrens’ book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend had won the Caldecott, the nation’s most prestigious award for childrens’ literature.

And this Wednesday it was announced that Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated director of Thank You for Smoking, Juno and Up in the Air, would be writing and directing an animated film based on Beekle for Dreamworks Animation.

“I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character wearing a paper crown stole our hearts,” said Reitman in a press release announcing the deal. “His name was Beekle, and I’m now honored to be adapting Santat’s charming story into a feature film.”

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Film alumnus Chris Campbell’s Maglite commercial wins student Emmy

Friday, May 15th, 2015
CCampbell

Alumnus Chris Campbell accepts the 1st Place Commercial award for “Maglite – Dreamweaver” at the 36th College Television Awards, presented by the Television Academy Foundation at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 23, 2015.

And the College Television Award for best commercial goes to….Art Center alumnus, Chris Campbell, for his Maglite—Dreamweaver spot, a heartwarming ad concept which features a father and son bonding while using the flashlight to make shadow puppets.

The Television Academy, which hosts the Emmy Awards, created The College Television Awards to offer film students a national platform to showcase their work and talent. Modeling itself on the Primetime Emmy judging process, entries are reviewed by active Television Academy members. With more than 1,100 students from 500 schools across the United States vying for a few slots it is also extremely competitive.

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Leap Before You Look: Inside the revealing new exhibition on Black Mountain College, with MOCA curator Helen Molesworth

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

 

Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

Photo: Hazel Larsen Archer, Merce Cunningham Dancing, c. 1952-53, gelatin silver print, 8 ¾ x 5 7/8 inches. Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

“Most people in the room probably know a little something about Black Mountain College, and it’s probably part wrong and part true,” said Helen Molesworth. Relaxed in black sneakers and a loose sweater, the new chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, less than five months into her new job, offered a candid and engaging behind-the-scenes look at her work on a revealing new exhibition about Black Mountain College—the first comprehensive exhibition on the subject to take place in the United States.

The curator’s talk in February, a full year ahead of the exhibition’s opening in L.A., was part of both the Wind Tunnel Lecture Series and Art Center Dialogues. And as she disclosed to her unsuspecting audience at the outset, “You’re the first! I haven’t actually given a Black Mountain talk yet.”

For Molesworth, Black Mountain College’s mythic status—as the birthplace of the neo-avant-garde and the site of legendary collaborations by Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Merce Cunningham—has in fact been a problem to overcome, an impediment to a more complete understanding of its history. “It was a place charged in ways that engendered mythmaking from its inception,” she said, “and a lot of that mythmaking was self-generated.” (more…)

Student/Space: Kristina Ortega — Media Design Practices, Episode 3

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Did you know that the human body contains over ten times more microbial cells than human cells? How might this important but often overlooked aspect of our bodies offer new strategies for engaging with each other and our communities? Kristina Ortega is a Media Design Practices student whose thesis research explores the relationship between microbiota and civic health. In this final episode we visited her graduation show to see her completed project and hear her thoughts on life after school. Be sure to check out our pervious episodes when she was beginning to investigate the human micro biome and deploying bacteria covered cheerleaders to a Los Angeles cul-de-sac. (more…)

Beyonce and beyond: Pretty Hurts students explore the intersection of art, feminism and pop culture

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
Laura Solomon

Laura Solomon

Pretty Hurts (Art 257) started out as a class that stirred debate and outright defiance both within Art Center’s student community and online publications. As the instructors of Pretty Hurts we would like to highlight the outcomes of the course as well as the projects that originated as a result of the class and how the ideas discussed fractured away from the class to influence Art Center College of Design’s student and faculty community. (more…)

Onward and upward: Art Center’s Spring 2015 Grad Show

Monday, April 20th, 2015
Bruno Gallardo shows off his Zero Motorcycle prototype to alum Miguel Galluzzi of Aprilia/Piaggio. Photo by Jennie Warren

Bruno Gallardo shows off his Zero Motorcycle prototype to alum Miguel Galluzzi of Aprilia/Piaggio.
Photo by Jennie Warren

A fresh crop of creatives, 205 strong graduated from Art Center this past weekend, ready to harvest and haul their skills to the marketplace. The first pages of these grads’ yet-to-be-told professional narratives could involve launching a start-up, diving into a new position at a high-profile agency or escaping on a global adventure to see the world and collect some inspiration in the wilderness instead of the concrete jungle.

We decided to check in with a few during Spring 2015 Grad Show—our annual recruitment open house.

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