Posts Tagged ‘Media Design Practices’

Change/Makers video: Crossing borders and disciplines with Graphic Design and MDP alum Rebeca Méndez

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Rebeca Méndez holds Art Center degrees in two different disciplines, Graphic Design (BFA, ’84) and Media Design (MFA, ’97). Her life and work stand as a testament to defying the conventions of those fields by expanding the definition of what it means to be a working artist and designer. She has forged her own path through punishingly uncharted terrain that’s taken her to the arctic tundras of the earth’s poles, as well as many untamed territories.

For these reasons among many others, Méndez was chosen to be the subject of the latest installment in the Change/Makers series of video profiles, which explores the ideas and passions informing the creative practices of some of Art Center’s most innovative and inspiring alumni.

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MDP + UNICEF: make AND break designs empower Ugandan youth

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Peer-to-Peer Mentoring: VJs Shafic, Venas, and Bashir learn basic circuitry in a workshop facilitated by a peer mentor. Photo credit: Tina L. Zeng / 2014.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring: VJs Shafic, Venas, and Bashir learn basic circuitry in a workshop facilitated by a peer mentor. Photo credit: Tina L. Zeng / 2014.

The following story, by Media Design Practices post-grad fellow, Tina L. Zeng, was originally published on UNICEF’S Stories of Innovation blog. The inspiring innovations reflected below are the result of the independent graduate work she began conducting in Kampala, Uganda in September 2013, supported by the UNICEF Innovation Lab.

What if technology was made to break?

What?

I recently wrote a post about a project that disrupts the current product-oriented mentality for designing technology for development. This project, weDub, is a set of platforms for youths in a slum area named Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda to make, instead of consume, technology. weDub is a locally developed audio mixer and preamplifier that youths make to perform live improvisations of media content they reinterpret to an audience; this is locally known as VJing. I talk about the three key outcomes of the project here.

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MDP + UNICEF partnership honored with Core 77 Design Award

Friday, September 19th, 2014

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This Fall, UNICEF’s Innovation Lab in Kampala, Uganda, will embark upon its third year working with graduate students and faculty from Media Design Practices (MDP) at Art Center College of Design. The partnership is integrated into the design program’s unique curriculum, which recently received the prestigious 2014 Core 77 Design Award.

Student work with Ugandan youth was a significant factor in Core 77’s decision to recognize MDP with this honor. Students’ first-hand experience designing technology in a developing world context contributed to what the jury recognized as “…the kind of pure research in education that we believe is the future of education—through [a curriculum] that is not removed from the world because of the way that [it is] embedded in the world.”

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The give and take of MDP alum Matthew Manos’ thriving social impact design practice

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Art Center students visit alum Matthew Manos' verynice design studio in Venice. (Photo by Stella Kalinina)

Art Center students visit alum Matthew Manos’ verynice design studio in Venice. (Photo by Stella Kalinina)

Professionally speaking, alumnus Matthew Manos (MFA 12) was precocious. At age 19 in 2008 he founded his own design studio, verynice, a service free to nonprofits using design as a tool for problem solving. By 2012, with a full-time staff of two, verynice was providing $300,000 in pro bono services.

Today, with offices in Los Angeles and New York and a staff of 10 and growing, Manos’ innovative studio has donated the equivalent of more than a million dollars in services to some 250 nonprofit organizations with the help of skills-based volunteers around the globe. Manos’ book, How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free, open-sources his 50% pro-bono business model. His givehalf.co platform is inspiring other companies to do the same.

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Nailing it: Grad students pioneer wearable tech’s entree into quantified manicures

Friday, July 25th, 2014
Handiwork courtesy of the team behind the Sensor Salon

Handiwork courtesy of the team behind the Sensor Salon

Fresh from wowing a tough techie crowd at Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Media Design Practices grad students Kristina Ortega and Jennifer Rodenhouse give us the lowdown on their novel nail salon concept that turns fingernails into a dynamic digital platform. The duo first hatched the idea for a “Sensor Salon” in a Wearable Ecologies class sponsored by Intel and led by MDP faculty members Philip van Allen and Ben Hooker. Now it’s taken flight, attracting interest in the field as well as a flurry of media attention,  from public radio to Fast Company and Geekwire among other outlets. Their Wearable Services—proffering technologies embedded in nail gels, from LCD screens and 3D printed objects to GPS and haptic feedback devices—may well be fashioning the future.

The Dotted Line: What was your main inspiration for this unusual type of wearable device?

Kristina Ortega: We were really inspired by nail art culture and nail art salons in Los Angeles. During our initial research into the current state of wearable tech we noticed that many devices were one size fits all. This seemed in such stark contrast to this process of self-maintenance we saw with nail art and salon culture, which is all about the process of personalization.

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Media Design Practices alum delivers TED talk on memes as the ‘street art of our social web’

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
An Xiao Mina examines "The Meaning of Memes" on the 2013 TEDGlobal stage.

An Xiao Mina examines “The Meaning of Memes” on the 2013 TEDGlobal stage.

Think you know your memes? If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve probably run across the likes of Grumpy Cat, Scumbag Steve or, one of our personal favorites, Art Student Owl.

Those viral images and videos that people modify and spread across the Internet are always good for a laugh, but at the TEDGlobal 2013 conference in Edinburgh, Media Design Practices alumna An Xiao Mina took the stage to deliver a talk entitled “The Meaning of Memes,” shedding light on how individuals across the globe are turning memes into “the street art of our social web.”

In her talk, Mina provided examples of how people in both democracies and censorship states have used memes to speak out on controversial issues, from the detainment of Ai Weiwei to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. “These memes are about more than humor,” Mina said on the TED blog. “They do what art and visual expression have always done—make us feel less alone.”

This story originally appeared in Art Center’s Spring 2014 Dot magazine, where you can read more about alumni and faculty achievements.

Fashion forward meets emotional rescue: Art Center students imagine the future of wearables

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
Sangli Li's Expressive Wearable.

Sangli Li’s Expressive Wearables shields its user from intrusive sights and sounds.

With Apple and Google both adding fashion professionals to its regiments, it appears that the next consumer electronics war will be waged not over the smartphone in your pocket, but over the devices worn around your wrists and over your eyes.

Always ahead of the curve, Art Center students, instructors and alumni are currently imagining where wearables might head next. And while wearables will undoubtedly translate to big business, how might this technology change our behavior as human beings?

This question, and many more, were explored in a recent Intel Corporation-sponsored Wearables Ecologies course taught by Media Design Practices (MDP) Professor Phil van Allen and Associate Professor Ben Hooker.

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Wearing your heart rate on your sleeve: Inside the wearable tech revolution

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

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By now you’ve heard of Google Glass. But what about bracelets that measure sun exposure? Headphones that double as heartbeat monitors? Or jewelry that unlocks your front door? Are you ready for the dawn of smart watches, smart earrings, smart contact lenses and smart wigs? And no, that last one isn’t a joke.

The “wearables” field is in an early yet promising stage of its evolution. But Art Center, always striving to stay ahead of industry and cultural trends, has had wearables squarely in its sights for years. Today, our students, instructors and alumni are busy imagining where this technology might head next, creating the devices that are paving the way for the future, and questioning how a wearables-saturated world will change our behavior as human beings.

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Clothing that bites back and bridges the gender gap in Uganda

Monday, January 20th, 2014
MDP student Barb Natali designed these  "barbed-shorts" to provoke dialogue about gender-relations in Uganda

MDP Student Barb Natali designed these “barbed-shorts” to provoke dialogue about gender relations in Uganda

Last fall I spent six weeks in Uganda as part of the Media Design Practices program. While there, a few classmates and I attended a crowded performance and had multiple, local men inappropriately grab us as we attempted to navigate the throng. I caught one teen in the act and yelled at him. He grinned at me during the tirade, but was for the most part unfazed.

A few days later when the anger subsided, I reflected on the experience. The incident had provoked questions about the interactions and power dynamics between men and women in Uganda. In order to develop an understanding of these aspects of the society I decided to create a series of designs to facilitate conversations about Ugandan experiences, reactions, and negotiations of the dynamics between men and women, specifically in regard to sexual harassment and inequality.

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How embracing failure has helped John Ryan design solutions to life’s most puzzling questions

Monday, November 4th, 2013
John Ryan (second from left) works with UNICEF and frog design staff on mHealth solutions

John Ryan (second from left) works with UNICEF and frog design staff on mHealth solutions

What was your background prior to Art Center?
I was born in Dublin, Ireland and studied multimedia as an undergraduate. I began my career working as a digital and web designer, and early on I knew that I really wanted to start my own studio. After working for a couple of in-house design teams, I couldn’t quite find the right fit: designers weren’t supposed to have the desire to move so broadly throughout the design process. So I started my own business and worked directly with clients throughout Ireland and UK. It was a fun couple of years and I learned a lot from the experience.

But I had always had a desire to go to grad school, and with my weird mix of interests across disciplines — design and art, technology and code, politics and culture — I became hungry for a new challenge that would integrate more of my own passions and curiosities into my design practice.

Art Center’s Media Design Practices program was exactly the kind of interdisciplinary environment I was looking for—innovative, experimental design work that would give me a platform to engage with the bigger ideas, concepts and questions that lay beyond the previous client work I had been doing.

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