Not-The-Schedule

Dear All,

We’re excited to have such a rich array of participants and ideas for the soon-to-be-upon-us DesignInquiry: MAKE/DO. We’ve loosely organized the week based on the content of the proposals and a sense of how the week plays out. Nothing is set in stone, least of all the schedule. The “not the schedule” is to follow.

THE STAGE

Most of the presentations take place in the mornings, with some evening activities, and opening night introductions. (Afternoons are mostly kept free for workshop stuff – making,collaborating, roaming, quarry swimming, etc.) Presenters for each morning typically get together and self-organize the session. This should be done in advance, so that everyone in the group has a sense of how they connect. What you bring individually to the group sessions is obviously based on your proposal, but it need NOT be worked into a full slide-lecture. You could bring objects, books, ideas on paper, install an exhibition or introduce an assignment/workshop (give us an assignment– use us as your researchers). Lectures should be no longer than 20 minutes. It would make sense to try to get all digital media on the same computer for each session if you’re needing projection (we’ll have a projector there, no printer, only your own laptops, and no internet at Pleasant River). Together, we will pick moderators (we’ll sort that out on the first night) to help knead and prod the discussions. The idea is that these sessions are improvisatory and responsive in nature.

Once you’ve taken a look at the “not the schedule”, please contact Ben, Melle or Peter at the addresses below with any questions you may have. Or dive in and start contacting your group-members (email addresses are on the attached not-the-schedule).

See you on Vinalhaven!


Ben, Melle & Peter

DI: MAKE/DO ON THE BLOGOSPHERE:

Andrew Twigg, “Embrace the Strain”, AIGA VOICE http://www.aiga.org/embrace-the-strain/

Sareena Sernsukskul & Pattama Suksakulchai “STREET VENDORS & BANGKOK URBAN SPACE”

http://designinquiry.net/journal/?p=1743

COMING SOON: Elliott Earls, “Make Do: The curious problem of the relationship between Sanjaya Malakar, Rachel Harrison and Marcel Duchamp.” Design Observer.

NOT THE SCHEDULE: DesignInquiry Make/Do 2011

Location: The Barn at the Sparrow Farm, Round the Island Road, Vinalhaven ME


SUNDAY EVENING:

Making opening remarks: Margo

Making the journal: Ben

Doing the food: Gabrielle

Doing Make/Do: Melle & Peter

Bartering: Leanne & Glen


Name: Gabrielle Esperdy

Position: Associate Professor of Architecture New Jersey Institute of Technology & DesignInquiry Board Member

Website: www.esperdy.net, aka American Road Trip

Bio

I am an architectural historian and critic based in New York City. My work examines the intersection of architecture, consumerism, and modernism in the urban and suburban landscape, especially in the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries. I look mostly at minor or everyday buildings and at the ways that social, economic, and political issues shape the built environment. I’m working on two book projects at present: one is called Architecture’s American Road Trip and it explores how architectural discourse absorbed the ideals and concerns of commercial sphere after World War II. The other, god help me, is The Buildings of New Jersey: half guide book/half reference work, it will be published on line prior to appearing in print as part of the Buildings of the United States series (Society of Architectural Historians/University of Virginia Press). I’m also Editor of SAH Archipedia, an online resource of the history of the built environment scheduled to go live in 2012, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Architectural Education. Finally, in addition to all that yadda yadda yadda, I’m a proud DesignInquiry board member and one of three Coneheads of the distinguished DesignInquiry Journal.

Proposal

An ongoing DesignInquiry project is the production of a cookbook that documents the improvisational artfulness of DI dining through a series of illustrated trifolds of recipes prepared at DI gatherings. Given our isolated island location, the scant supplies available at the local grocery store, and the limitations of the Joy Farm kitchen, cooking for DI’s 24 participants is, of necessity, an exercise in making/do. And so is editing the DI cookbook: because meals, both their preparation and consumption, are such in the moment celebrations, too many wonderful dishes and superlative flavors exist as fleeting memories rather than transcribed recipes. Thus, with few exceptions, the draft DI cookbook is too drily retrospective, and it fails to capture the lively, ever-evolving collaborations that DI meals actually are. My contribution to make/do will attempt to rectify this situation by capturing this year’s food/meals preparation live and in action. My goal is twofold: to accumulate images, ingredients, and dishes for the DI cookbook AND to foster a deliberate meditation on the profound relationship that exists between/among place, community, food, and design as we make/do at this year’s DI gathering.


Name: Leanne Elias

Position: Assistant Professor, New Media, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge , Ab, Canada

Website: rocketannie.com

I teach in a New Media program that is housed within a Faculty of Fine Arts in a small Canadian University. The students are, for the most part, engaged and critical, and I love my job. My research interests lie in both design and technology: I am looking at how mobile technology can get students out of the computer lab and into the world to discover design through using QR codes and augmented reality.

Although I love working with technology, the lure of spending a week on an island, away from a computer and close to physical materials is almost too much to bear.

AND

Name: Glen MacKinnon

Position: Academic Assistant, Dept of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge , Ab, Canada

Website: http://people.uleth.ca/~glen.mackinnon/

Artist, stagehand, and educator, living in Lethbridge, Canada. My work as an artist is primarily sculpture with an interest in the properties and potential of specific materials; plywood for example. Most recently I have been looking at light as material in sculpture and in lighting design. My recent work has involved collaboration with the Canadian artist Denton Fredrickson and occasionally, other artists. Make-do offers a chance to work with others outside my discipline and possibly make the beginning on continuing collaborative work, either with Leanne or others.

Proposal

Bartering. Negotiating. Sharing. Give-and-take.

While recent economics make the exchange of goods or services in lieu of payment a logical choice, bartering makes sense for all sorts of other reasons. When you barter with someone, you open the door to learning about other abilities and talents that they possess. In doing so, your perception of them changes. You also learn the kinds of things they value and the kinds of things they don’t, and it becomes apparent to you what kinds of things you value and what kinds of things you don’t.

For Make / Do, we propose to involve all of the participants in a week-long bartering extravaganza.


MONDAY MORNING: Improvise (introducing week-long projects)

Liz (improv), Vickie & Ronda (space), Margo (time), Mark (film), Emily (Make-do toys), Ben (exhibition)


Name: Liz Craig

Position: Graphic Designer/Owner, Queen Esther Design, Berkeley, CA

Website www.queenestherdesign.com

I have been running my own studio (Queen Esther Design-named after my mother) and working full-time in companies as a designer for over ten years. Looking back, I realize that my design career officially began at Middlebury College in Vermont where I joint majored in Anthropology and Art. Being interested in other cultures, people and their stories and making art was a natural start to becoming a designer.

In 2005, I received my MFA in Design from California College of the Arts where I studied Improvisational comedy and its relationship to design. I thought that design took itself too seriously and I had seen as much intelligence and craftsmanship in Improv comedy than I had seen in any design campaign. I took off researching to figure out how to imbibe my work with the qualities that made their Improv performances exhilarating. As part of my thesis investigation, I worked in my cousin’s backyard, using a human-powered trampoline to throw found objects into the air and photograph them in mid-flight. Challenged by my thesis advisor, Martin Venezky to walk the walk for all my talk, I began taking Improvisational theater classes and experienced fright and thrill.

Since then I worked as a designer (and magician’s assistant!) in Francis Ford Coppola’s Art Department. I designed wine labels, marketing collateral, sell sheets and brainstormed about new products. Currently I’m working as a consultant in the Communications Department at the University of California and job hunting.

The intersection of improvisation and design is right up my alley! I’m still trying to figure out how to let it inform my work. Spending a week with smart, creative people in Maine where I spent summers as a kid would be the perfect place to do it.

Proposal

I would do an exercise (or several) where I would take the rules of a game used in Improv theater and apply them to design. The outcome would be made vs. being a performance. I believe that creativity happens within constraints and once the “rules” are applied to the process the results will be unexpected!


Name Jonathon Russell

Position Assistant Professor

Company Central Michigan University

Website http://www.jonathonrussell.com

I am a native of southern Illinois and have spent the last 14 years of my life living, working, teaching and moving (with my family) to five different states (we have lived in every time zone) and the United Arab Emirates. The one thing that all of the places I have lived and taught have in common is a lack of readily available resources. I am well schooled in the old adage of “making do, or doing without”.

I am interested in Design Inquiry and the topic of Make/Do to increase my knowledge and understanding of working inside the constraints of limited resources, and being creative with what you have and can easily find. They say two minds are better than one. I am hoping that 24 minds will be a revelatory experience.

Proposal

While teaching in the UAE, a student gave me a gift of a modified book. Nothing fancy, just a catalog from the company where she was completing an internship with the outside corners folded down to create an object shaped like a yurt. She made it because she was bored, but it made me think about the ways designers use objects they have available to them to create design objects. These objects can be for client use or self-promotional, but use cast-off materials or modified pieces of existing design to create the work. I would like to give a presentation that outlines some of this type of project and incorporate a workshop that allows participants to do the same.

Workshop: We will take an existing piece of design, a stack of materials, or both and create a new piece of work that could be personal, political or social in nature. The existing designs can be anything from a pizza flyer to the New York Times. I would provide the materials to be used for the workshop. I feel that if participants bring their own it would be a conscious choice, and I want the experience to be immediate rather than reflective. My plan is to visit departments around the university and collect the books,

binders, pamphlets and catalogs that can be found in the “free!” boxes outside of faculty offices. This would provide a broad range of printed subject matter of various quality and content to work with. The public library and the thrift store are also good sources for material. The work that is produced in the workshop would be limited by the facilities in Vinalhaven. In the most ideal situation we would have access to either a letterpress (with type) or screen printing facilities. The workshop would work just as well with a color laser or inkjet printer, and if that is not available knives, scissors, glue, markers and paint will do. The goal is to look at what is available and use it to express your message. The type of work that will be produced in the workshop is not something that could be used for every client project, but the experience of creating something from scraps can influence the way designers look at those scraps and the potential they hold for design solutions.


Name vickie r phipps

Position Graphic Design MFA Graduate Student, University of Tennessee

Website http://www.behance.net/vickiephipps

AND

Name Ronda L. Phipps

Position Sculptor and Metal Fabrication/ Lecturer at the School of Architecture

Company Self/University of Tennessee

Website http://thewomanofsteel.com/

We are an artist/designer couple working together and independently on a variety of projects. Our collaborative projects have been primarily community oriented performance works:

  • Our most recent project was an outdoor installation of “road-sign-like” metal posters atop bases made from the bodies of motorcycle/bicycle/mufflers.
  • The Society of Civil Fights humorously questioned how we make decisions as a society including a variety of dueling options ranging from marshmallow guns to paintball guns (photo gallery of participants.)

Make/Do often informs the way we work: our process, material selection, and concept. Also, we are in the early stages of founding Bent, a shared creative space that we hope will very much be in line with ideas of make/do. We would be very excited for the chance to take a step back and explore make/do with a group of creative thinkers.

Vickie: I was once told that I was “raised by the trees.” I grew up in a small coalfield town two hours from the closest mall or interstate. A quick sampling of my life experiences: fire fighter, Women’s Profession Football player, residential counselor for kids in state custody, educator at Community Television in Knoxville. For recreation, I have been known to do chainsaw art or spend all day kayaking (flat water only please.) I came to graphic design later in life and fell completely in love. At the moment, I am just finishing up my second year of graduate studies at UT. In addition to being a full time student, I hold a full time position at Home & Garden Television (HGTV) as the Director of Program Planning.

Ronda: When I was a little girl, a tornado was headed toward where I lived. My mother told me to grab something I wanted to save and we hurried to shelter. I took my most valued possessions a bag of metal I had been collection. Later my mother threw the bag away and told me it was trash.

After returning to college for animal science, pre-vet tract, making the dean’s list, I found myself captivated with metal once again. Everyone thought I lost my mind when I decided to follow that passion and pursue a sculpture degree.

It took me almost 20 years to find metal again.

Whenever possible, my work is about repurposing materials and using what others discard as trash or scrap.

Proposal

Space for Life: An experiment in open-ended, multi-authored something around a Question:

How can we embrace creativity in finding New uses for space that will transform social interactions?

Shared Framework:

  1. Seed: the Initial question written on reclaimed material from a glove factory along with pens + supplies (reclaimed also)
  2. Open-ended nature of project: If the criteria were written down/they would be restrictive
  3. Closing: near the end of the week a Conversation around the experiment will occur
  4. Host Motivations: The content generated by the experiment will be used to inspire/inform unscripted performance projects
  5. Provided Background: The question derives from a July 2007 Report by the thinktank Demos entitled Equally Spaced? Public Space and interaction between diverse communities which examined how we live together. The report concludes with 4 recommendations including:
    1. aim to create a setting for “trusted” spaces, where people feel secure to take part in unfamiliar interactions
    2. embrace creativity and innovation in finding new and imaginative uses for space that will transform the interactions between people
  6. 6. Reference material available For the curious (not necessary material for participation):
    1. 3 copies of the Demos report
    2. A list of questions the hosts currently have around public space, Make/Do, and unscripted performance

Name: Ben Van Dyke

Position: Head of Graphic Design, University at Buffalo

Website: benjaminvandyke.com

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from?

I am a designer and educator in Buffalo, NY. I teach typography and design history at the University at Buffalo where I am the head of the graphic design program.

What are your interests in the topic MAKE / DO:

My research revolves around gallery installations and occasionally two-dimensional printed posters. I produce complex typographic installations made of steel, acrylic, paint, piano wire and any other materials I can bend, fold, twist, mutilate and spray paint. These exhibitions are site-specific, improvised uses of spaces and materials that flirt with the territory between turbulence and unity. These three-dimensional typographic structures form a code, illuminating modes of communication that go beyond language ultimately revealing new areas of research.

I rarely see the exhibition space before installation and I make no sketches or plans ahead of time, often arriving only days before the opening date. This not only maximizes the pressure to work quickly and intuitively but also focuses the energy of the exhibition on the value of Uncertainty and disconnects the work from pre-existing expectations of what Design is.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

Throughout the course of the week, I would like to initiate and help develop a DI group exhibition somewhere on Vinalhaven. This will be an improvised process of scouting locations, finding materials and gathering work made during DesignInquiry. I am excited by the idea that on the day we arrive, there is no work to speak of, no gallery, no theme and no participants but by the end of the week, there will be a celebration of making and doing.


MONDAY EVENING: Screening “Making Faces”


TUESDAY MORNING: Type, film, print & chance

Richard, Mark, Brooke, Jonathon, Maia & Eric


Name Richard Kegler

Position Director, P22 type foundry

WNY Book Arts Center

Making Faces film

Website: http://www.p22.com, http://www.wnybookarts.org, http://makingfacesfilm.blogspot.com/

I am based in Buffalo NY. My type design company, P22 type foundry has been making and distributing digital fonts for over 15 years. I have overseen/directed/executed most of the type design and support graphic design for P22. A few years ago I decided to attempt a re-immersion into analog via starting the WNY Book Arts Center (WNYBAC) in a disused building in downtown Buffalo. The center is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization with a gallery, printshop, library, gift shop and printing museum. The mission of WNYBAC is essentially to MAKE and to DO. The printshop hosts visiting artists in residence as well as thousands of students on one time and extended projects. The fuzzy areas that overlap between Art, Design and Craft are of the greatest interest to me. My current film project manages to merge my professional and personal interest in typography, hand craft and my Masters degree in Media Study into one project.

Proposal

I can adapt a presentation on any of my 3 major projects: From a presentation on P22’s unorthodox uses of OpenType technology in fonts that create interactivity with designers (which may be considered a hindrance to design by some, or pushing the possibilities of the often underused programming capabilities with fonts), to the other end of the spectrum on how the WNY Book Arts Center’s design aesthetic is reliant on the type faces and image cuts found within our cases and hand printed using reclaimed inks and papers for a truly “Make/Do” exemplar. A third option is to screen and discuss the Making faces film which follows the late Canadian Type designer Jim Rimmer, through his process on making a metal and digital typeface. All three presentation options very much fit within the Make/Do premise. I feel the interaction with other artists/designers/craftspeople is crucial in having an honest evaluation with ones own work. This, and I have been to Vinalhaven and love the idea of going back.


Name eric eng

Position: designer, eric eng design

Website ericeng.com

I have participated and assisted with DI ’04+’05, after which I later left the US to pursue my post graduate in London. Since completing my MA, I have worked for various architectural practices and cultural institutions throughout Europe. Recently I have been working with the St Brides Library’s letterpress studio in producing type specimens and personal work. Having come to London to study printing and letterpress in particular, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of a new venture of the St Brides Library. I have also mentored/assisted on the FdA/BA Design for Graphic Communication course at London College of Communication, where I received my MA degree. Currently I am working on an exhibition for the Musée royal de l’Afrique Centrale which opens in Brussels in April 2011. Spanning seven languages in six museums across Europe, the traveling exhibition has several design challenges consisting of usability, wayfinding, linguistic, graphic and typographic as well as technical and spatial constraints. The opportunity to teach graphic design, work in the letterpress studio and maintain a base of clients has brought a good balance to my life and ultimately to my work. My focus has been in wayfinding and exhibition design, an area which relies on a unique approach to the technical and graphic challenges. This also reflects my interest in linguistics, information systems, typography and spatial/environmental design.

I was really interested in the text from the website saying ‘celebrate designs that produce something out of nothing’ as it is how I work with letterpress and producing books in particular. My goal is to build on the process of development, in the area of conceptualization. I would like to play with both the process of pre-conceptualization and the stages of making or producing.

Proposal

In my pursuit of developing alternative design approaches, I would like to use the Montessori teaching approach, which supports self-directed learning, prepared environments for learning, observation and indirect teaching. I propose to continue developing my own approach to generative problem-solving, which could be defined by the making of a series of outcomes within defined parameters of time, space, materials, etc. This idea also reflects the process of remediation, which the message or meaning take on new meanings through the appropriate of the various traces of the various mediums. I would like it to be typography-related, possibly looking at letterforms and linguistics and supported by my musical background in Suzuki violin. In the true spirit of recording/referencing, Vinalhaven could prove to be a perfect environment for developing a new printing techniques! I would aim to visually document the whole process which in the end is the bridge to the next progression.

As I discussed with Melle over a dinner we both contributed to a couple of months ago, I could see from that moment the process of which this idea grew in my head. As we discussed the various teaching methods that apply hands-on development, and the upcoming DI… there was this interest inside to go to DI and work. To make, be involved with absorbing a process that is creative and spontaneous. For me it’s not a break from anything new, but a chance to refine/redefine a moment or the whole process that really intrigues me.


Name: Brooke Chornyak

Position: Faculty, Designer in Residence, Virginia Commonwealth University

Website: http://brookechornyak.com/

Currently I’m living in Richmond, researching and teaching at VCU in the art foundation and graphic design departments. I received a master of graphic design this past May from North Carolina State University. During grad school I had the opportunity to make an examination of current design methods in terms of the client / designer relationship and became curious in other strategies that altered this dependent mode to one of co-creation.

On reading the topic for this year’s DI, the questions and statements posed fit with my current relationship with design practice. DI is a wonderful platform in which you meet and discuss/make together in a collaborative way ideas that you feel very passionate about.

Proposal

Open Works – Lecture / Workshop

Creators have always been agents of social change, often defining new paradigms in society. The design world is currently experiencing just such a shift — as individuals increasingly desire greater degrees of participation and creativity in their lives, the role of the designer is growing to encompass that of catalyst and collaborator.

In the 1960’s, Ivan Illich became concerned with the lack of creative tools available to individuals and subsequently argued for a balance between consumption and creative activities. He believed that gains in technology and mass production came at the cost of individual initiative and the desire to create. It is my belief that all people wish to engage in the creative process as a means of establishing agency and authorship within their own lives. For example, if a particular audience possesses a creative aspiration toward an artifact, then how might we as designers reexamine and reformat its lifecycle in a way, which compels audience members to reinterpret and refashion said artifact? These trends require a collaborative design process, which alters the traditional codependent, controlled relationship between designers and clients.

Umberto Eco highlighted a participatory approach to visual arts, music and literature in his 1962 publication, The Open Work. In Eco’s terms, “open” refers to an artist leaving the composition of a portion of his or her work to either the public or to chance. In design, I believe the concept of open work can push beyond the confines of product customization by establishing the conditions for a co-creative relationship where clients and audiences become collaborators and equals.

I’m proposing a brief lecture leading to a workshop on the adaptation and application of Eco’s concept of open work in design practice, which addresses the following questions through various examples:

How can design motivate and encourage creativity in individuals?

What are examples of these types of tools and their attributes of experience?

What are some ways that we, as designers, can create “open” artifacts and tools to enable others to participate in the design process?

In the workshop we will scrutinize two “open” methods for creating typography. First participants will be able to experiment with a recreation of a strict rule based stencil, the ‘Plaque Découpée Universelle’: designed in the 1870s by Joseph A. David to produce the entire alphabet, numbers and symbols from a single device.

Second, attendants will take part in a looser, less constrained method for typography construction.

(TBD) Either I want to have people fashion the alphabet from dough used to make bagels, but I’m not sure about the kitchen restrictions. Or I can devise a less structured tool that is a bit ambiguous and be open to interpretation by participants.


Name Maia Wright

Position Designer / assistant professor of design, Texas State University

Website www.maiawright.com

I’m a designer who recently moved to Austin from Chicago. I was born and raised in Alaska, and have been steadily making my way south ever since. I’m currently teaching typography, book arts, and design history in the Communication Design MFA program at Texas State University–San Marcos. I am primarily a book designer. My previous design experience includes 5 years of designing books at the University of Chicago Press, and prior to that, 3 years of working collaboratively on book, print collateral, and environmental design at Studio Blue (also in Chicago).

I would like to be a part of Design Inquiry because:

  •  get a charge from the sense of open-ended possibility that comes from engaging in thinking/making/doing with other creative people.
  • I have always been drawn to islands—being surrounded by water feels at once isolating and also deeply in touch. The one time I visited Maine, I took a ferry to an island, borrowed a bicycle, and spent the day biking around the island (I have good memories of that day).

I gravitate to designing books because of their internal complexity and the demands they put on me as a designer to create a system of parts that work together as a whole. In order to make a book that functions well for the reader, the design process requires organization, restraint, and diligence. I see myself very much as a maker — a craftsman fashioning a well-wrought and useable object.

My interest in MAKE/DO is twofold:

  1. In the past several months, the tactic of using chance operations in the creative process has repeatedly surfaced in various ways in my life, through the work of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and the Dadaists. I am interested in the tension between surrendering artistic control to the vagaries of chance, and yet maintaining authority over one’s own work. As someone who practices in the very disciplined discipline of book design, the idea of deliberately enfolding accidents and randomness into my work holds a forbidden appeal.
  2. I am currently developing a project about a museum employee who used the museum in a way for which it was not intended: staging clandestine exhibitions in overlooked public spaces in the building. I will be designing an exhibition catalog as a document of his exhibits. The book will also present the information in a way that is unexpected and surreptitious (not in the way we expect an exhibition catalog to traditionally function). This project is about investigating new ways of making well-known spaces/formats do something surprising.

Proposal

I have two ideas:

  1. I could present a workshop for the DI participants that makes do with materials at hand to create a project, following a process decided by chance operations. The question will be where do we draw the line between the haphazard and the controlled: What variables will each person decide to leave to chance? How do we maintain authority over our work while still leaving space for serendipity and the unexpected?
  2. If my project with the exhibition catalog is far enough along, I would like to present it to the group and tell the story of the museum employee who inspired it. It could spark a conversation about how to rethink books (and museum spaces) in order to make them do things in unexpected ways.

Name Jonathon Russell

Position Assistant Professor

Company Central Michigan University

Website http://www.jonathonrussell.com

I am a native of southern Illinois and have spent the last 14 years of my life living, working, teaching and moving (with my family) to five different states (we have lived in every time zone) and the United Arab Emirates. The one thing that all of the places I have lived and taught have in common is a lack of readily available resources. I am well schooled in the old adage of “making do, or doing without”.

I am interested in Design Inquiry and the topic of Make/Do to increase my knowledge and understanding of working inside the constraints of limited resources, and being creative with what you have and can easily find. They say two minds are better than one. I am hoping that 24 minds will be a revelatory experience.

Proposal

While teaching in the UAE, a student gave me a gift of a modified book. Nothing fancy, just a catalog from the company where she was completing an internship with the outside corners folded down to create an object shaped like a yurt. She made it because she was bored, but it made me think about the ways designers use objects they have available to them to create design objects. These objects can be for client use or self-promotional, but use cast-off materials or modified pieces of existing design to create the work. I would like to give a presentation that outlines some of this type of project and incorporate a workshop that allows participants to do the same.

Workshop

We will take an existing piece of design, a stack of materials, or both and create a new piece of work that could be personal, political or social in nature. The existing designs can be anything from a pizza flyer to the New York Times. I would provide the materials to be used for the workshop. I feel that if participants bring their own it would be a conscious choice, and I want the experience to be immediate rather than reflective. My plan is to visit departments around the university and collect the books, binders, pamphlets and catalogs that can be found in the “free!” boxes outside of faculty offices. This would provide a broad range of printed subject matter of various quality and content to work with. The public library and the thrift store are also good sources for material. The work that is produced in the workshop would be limited by the facilities in Vinalhaven. In the most ideal situation we would have access to either a letterpress (with type) or screen printing facilities. The workshop would work just as well with a color laser or inkjet printer, and if that is not available knives, scissors, glue, markers and paint will do. The goal is to look at what is available and use it to express your message. The type of work that will be produced in the workshop is not something that could be used for every client project, but the experience of creating something from scraps can influence the way designers look at those scraps and the potential they hold for design solutions.


TUESDAY EVENING: Stop motion (Mark), writing & reflection (Charles)


Name Mark Jamra

Position CEO, TypeCulture LLC

Website www.typeculture.com

I am a type designer, educator and amateur filmmaker in Portland, Maine. My company, TypeCulture, a digital type foundry and academic resource, was founded in 2004. Obviously, this all requires making and doing. What interests me more is the other connotation: “making do.” This is something that I do every day and it does not necessarily mean making a compromise (although many times it does). I would like to experience how other people “make do.” This is not to say that I’m not coming for the food, which I am. As well.

Proposal

Firstly, I’m pretty good at frying bacon and flipping pancakes. Secondly, I will be screening some short videos made in one of the most resource-deficient classes I have ever taught. In between the screenings, I will explain the processes involved in the making of the videos, in the hope of sparking an exchange in experiences in teaching creative problem-solving and creating no-budget, low-resource projects.


Name: Charles Melcher

Position: Associate Professor, Graphic Design, Maine College of Art , Designer, Co-owner, Alice Design Communication Portland, Maine

Website: Alicedesign.com mecagd.com

Bio

I am co-owner of Alice Design Communication 1998–present with Margo Halverson. I received a BFA in photography from Mass Art and a decade later followed with an MFA in graphic design from Yale University school of Art. I am currently an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Maine College of Art. I grew up sailing on Cape Cod working in the summer community of my family’s co-ed sailing camp, I learned to bake bread from my mom. This experience of community still influences my life.

Proposal #1

One morning I woke from a dream – my father was standing in a room declaring he was ‘Leaving Land’ in a week – which was typical in his life. He had a deadline and he was preparing for it. This power of a self-directed deadline was his way of making-do. He sailed around the world, deadline by deadline, declaration by declaration. He moved from one thing to the next.This thread made a curious link to MAKE/DO and inspired a connection to; self direction, a deadline, and ‘use what you have’. I will make a 10 minute presentation from this starting point.

Proposal #2

I will lead an evening workshop in Proprioceptive Writing®, a meditational discipline. It is a method of listening to thoughts and feelings, a method of reflection. In this process, we can slow down, notice details, and give ourselves permission to experience emotions as they arise. Over time, the writer is able to reflect more clearly. As chatter dissipates, stories emerge and the relationship with the inner self becomes more familiar and more intimate.


WEDNESDAY MORNING: Making the abstract visible

Tim, Margo, Rachele, Emily & Lindsey


Name: Margo Halverson

Position: Professor, Graphic Design, Maine College of Art Designer, Co-owner, Alice Design Communication Co-founder, Framer, DesignInquiry Portland, Maine

Website: Alicedesign.com mecagd.com

Bio

I am co-owner of Alice Design Communication 1998–present with Charles Melcher. My love of language and the narrative power of the photograph led me to the world of typography and graphic design. I received a BFA and MFA in photography from Arizona State University where, post-graduation, I studied graphic design with Rob Roy Kelly. I am currently Professor of Graphic Design and Program Chair at Maine College of Art. I grew up in North Dakota and after moving to Maine from Arizona, I still miss living in grids within the landscape of flat, white, horizontal bands interspersed with telephone poles and shelterbelts.

Proposal

I think MAKE/DO implies constraints of some sort. I notice this attitude (which becomes CAN/DO) kicks in when I have run up against lack of time. From grabbing what I need for a trip to planning a class or project, the result reflects and blends the time I was able to spend in the process with what I made of the constraints.

For DesignInquiry’s MAKE/DO I will share variations of time-work that necessitates the design of a visual language. What do various structures of time look like? Not the data visualization of timelines made by graphic designers, but looking at how other fields map time in space — how might dance be diagrammed, how is conducting music drawn, how do the marks of directing a theater play or notating speech represent time. I’ll present a visual menu of notation and diagramming from a curiosity of -how do ‘they’ do it- then we can collaborate and play with opportunities at MAKE/DO to design a structured formal language that notates time, space, and content(s) of our inquiry.


Name Tim McCreight

Position Vertical, Brynmorgen Press

Website www.brynmorgen.com

I trained as a metalsmith and taught in that subject for thirty years. I continue to make work but I also write, design, and publish books on metalworking and design. I consult for industry and run a small independent publishing house.

I come from a world that spans business, design, and making. A typical day includes hauling boxes of books, copy editing, page layout, and research in metal clay. I have long been intrigued by the topics and the collaborative nature of DesignInquiry and I feel it’s time to stop looking on and start participating. I’ve been making jewelry for more than 40 years (ack!) and I feel that tradition-laden field has given me some insight into the interface between thinking and making. Somewhat unusual in my field, I have generally veered away from exacting traditional techniques in favor of those that not only make use of their immediate context but celebrate it.

Proposal

In the early 1990s a Japanese company invented a material called Precious Metal Clay (PMC). I was among the first US artists to use this material and have since written and taught extensively with it. The material yields honest-to-god silver objects but bypasses the need for special skills and equipment. I would like to introduce this material to the group with particular interest in seeing the objects that are created are unique to the time and place. I can provide all the required materials and tools, and as much or as little background about jewelry-thinking as is desired.


Name Rachele Riley

Position Designer, Educator, The University of the Arts

Website www.racheleriley.com

I am originally from Washington, DC. I began my studies in New York as a studio artist in 1990. After a year as an artist-in-residence with the National Park Service (1996) I recognized my strong interest in communication design and digital/video imaging. Seeking adventure, I moved to Germany. I first learned the language and then studied design at the Hochschule fur Kunst und Design Halle. I returned to the U.S. in 2001 and eventually earned my MFA in Design/Visual Communication at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005. I am currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at The University of the Arts.

In my own work I explore various media and address topics of control, accumulation and the visualization of information. My graphic responses (videos, web-based interactive works, and print media) are made in response to place and fact, offer degrees of interpretation, and provide a forum for considering the impact of war and violence on human society.

The opportunity to participate in this summer’s Design Inquiry MAKE/DO workshop will inspire my own work and approach. I will be sharing the experience with my students as we all manage the balance between research and making, and navigate between what is fixed and what is flexible. I am especially looking forward to gaining new perspectives on design by working closely with others and having conversations while in residence. The Design Inquiry workshop would be an invaluable creative and intellectual experience for me.

Proposal

In response to the theme MAKE/DO I propose to discuss the constraints of technique (vis-à-vis digital technology) and how the spirit of improvisation leads a project into new meaningful territory.

I will present as case studies two projects of mine in which ‘making do’ technically shaped the process and project’s result in enlightening ways for me creatively and conceptually, often providing points of departure for future endeavors and discussions. The two particular projects are slightly different technically: a video, Visualizing the Art of War (2005) and an interactive web-based experience, The Evolution of Silence (in progress).

Visualizing the Art of War examines the power of numbers and visual abstraction to address the media experience of war. The Evolution of Silence is a multi-faceted visual exploration of the destruction conducted at the Nevada Test Site. The project currently focuses on the craters of Yucca Flat—the site of experimental, post-World War II nuclear detonations—and on the 50 L.A. Darling Company display mannequins, which (representing human subjects) experienced the force of several nuclear explosions in the 1950’s.

http://www.racheleriley.com/work_evolsilence.html

http://www.racheleriley.com/work_visualizing.html

workshop

framing war

(in the age of extreme documentation and information accumulation)

how can designers interpret the information of war?

what is a meaningful focus?

what makes an impact?

1

making do with constraints

(technical, informational, timeframe, or etc.)

participants perform design experiments within expressed parameters

how does the imagination leap?

how does transformation surprise?

2

making design do something other than what is expected

(something radical or seemingly wrong)

participants share in the evolution and definition of a work

is pleasure in the unexpected?

does a design always need to know what it is at the start?

what is the value in becoming?

process

using everyday iconography to do something other

using everyday language to say something other

thwarting constraints, finding other ways to make and manipulate images

embrace a scenario that is controlled (where there are known and unknown factors) as an opportunity for improvisation and interpretation


Name: Lindsey Culpepper

Position: MFA Candidate in Design, UT Austin

I love odd objects and the handcrafted, I am a 3-D thinker and maker. I am originally from El Paso, Texas. I received my Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design from Arizona State University in 2007. After working as an industrial designer for a company specializing in office products and craft tools, I returned to school at the University of Texas to complete my MFA. My focus is craft and low-volume fabrication and also interested in the emerging idea of open-design. I am interested in the Make/Do topic because it allows investigation of improvisational design-solutions in a workshop environment.

Proposal

Old things and places show signs of wear and use, they are descriptive of human interaction. As a place ages, makeshift objects begin to describe how people have adapted their environment to meet their changing needs over time. Makeshift objects are created to meet these needs according to a variety of inputs, resulting in a various levels of craft.

For my MakeShift project, I documented and analyzed instances of adaptive and intuitive design, as it relates to functional objects, within an East Austin neighborhood. Within the group of makeshift objects, I was able to discern functional categories like Shield, Contain and Furnish. The level of modification to materials, the level of intention of the project and perceived permanence begin to describe a level of craft. I considered how these factors relate to each other and how they begin to describe the motivations of the maker. What is implied by the vernacular and what opportunities does it offer?

I would be interested in organizing a workshop that considers the characteristics of permanence, intention and modification as they relate to the improvised object. How will these “factors of makeshift” be represented in the improvised solutions that we create to accommodate our needs as visitors to VinalHaven? I would like to document these as a group, as well as instances of makeshift from around the island. As we create these adaptive and intuitive solutions quickly and often temporarily, we often overlook the value of these objects. By documenting these instances, I think we can become more attuned to seeing these where they exist and may serve as inspiration for our creative endeavors.


Name: Emily Luce

Position: Assistant Professor New Media, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Artist. Designer. DesignInquiry Board member. Misguided Gardener.

Website: ugh

Bio

I am a designer, artist and researcher based in Western Canada. I keep one foot in Lethbridge, Alberta where I teach, and one foot in Port Alberni BC, where my partner is based and our garden is, and fly off at almost every opportunity. When DesignInquiry is over this year, I’ll be heading west to build a miniature, inhabitable replica of the house owned by artists Janet Cardiff and George Burres-Miller which has been lived in, altered, worn down and loved and by a long list of artists over the years. Two years of work finally coming to fruition and I just realized it’s a knockoff, too. Wow.

Proposal

Knockoffs, Stone Skipping, and Make/Do Parts

My original proposal for Make/Do involved exploring the idea of the knockoff. I’ve recently started researching the graphical, troubled history of the iconic Canadian Hudson’s Bay Blanket. In the course of this research, I’ve come across more knockoffs than I could have imagined and after months of trolling thrift stores and ebay, have decided to develop a collection of Bay blanket knockoffs. I think the idea of copying or generating a slightly altered idea is an approach to consider for Make/Do. Rather than focusing on the negative connotations of knocking off (I’m looking at you, Urban Outfitters), there is an immediacy and a connectivity of thinking, meeting the audience in a different way, and a bit of a wild west spirit that’s worth exploring. I can show you some images of the blankets, and I’d love to hear the group’s thoughts on this subject. A journal piece would come out of that.

Meanwhile…there are a couple of other items on my Make/Do to-do list. I’m still buzzing from DesignInquiry Montréal, and there’s a point in my notes about using the flow even if you’re going against it. I want to test this theory out in the physical world by skipping some stones in tidal waters to see what happens. I’d like to invite anyone who is interested in this design-and-physics experiment to try that out with me. Maybe we’ll get somewhere.

And finally, the Australian company MakeDo has generously donated several sets of their toy assembly parts for the DesignInquiry participants to play with over the course of the week. We can make things, and send them pictures of what we’ve done, and they will respond back to us.


THURSDAY MORNING: Constraints & everyday life

Miriam, Dan, & Peter


Name Miriam Simun

Position: Masters Student, Interactive Telecommunications Program/ NYU

Website http://www.miriamsimun.com

I was raised by Soviet refugees in the heart of Boston. We had rugs on the walls and at night my grandfather would sit in the kitchen drinking tea and cognac, and explain to me nothing is permanent.

My work explores the promise of objects and experiences to serve as visions of possible futures, interventionist ethnographic research tools, and catalysts for conversations that engage a wider public in questions of progress. I am interested in design as a mode of inquiry, not only in process but also in end result: a question, now materialized. In this material form questions can be asked, explored, and perhaps answered through our visceral senses, put our rational mind on hold for just a minute, and appealing to emotional and embodied forms of knowledge.

Make/Do addresses relates to my work in key ways: designers understand that they think through making, but how do our ‘users’ think through doing? And how can we encourage more thoughtful, critical, and playful ‘doing’? As well, the Make/Do concept addresses a questions I have been working with for a while now: How do we enjoyably make do? (make “making-do” be pleasurable?). Scarcity of resources in our society of false over-abundance is often viewed as unwelcome constraint, sacrifice, leading to a not-as-good-as-it-could-have-been result. Instead, how do we, as designers especially (thus trained in creativity within constraint) reframe to impending society-wide turn to “making do” into a moment of possibility: making-do amidst limited resources can be about simplicity, refinement and elegant solutions, and joy.

More formally, I am a 2011 Masters candidate at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. I have served as Graduate Fellow at Stern Business School’s Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning, a Project Development Assistant to Natalie Jeremijenko at the xDesign Environmental Health Clinic, and Social Media Strategist at R/GA. Previously I was a researcher at the Digital Natives Project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and a researcher at the Research Center for Information Law at the University of Sank Gallen. My work has been published in New Media & Society and International Journal for Learning and New Media and exhibited at Conflux Festival, Postmasters Gallery, and CUNY Graduate Center. I have a BSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics.

Proposal

Making for thinking through doing: Make Do better.

I would love an opportunity to lead a design charette around how to design better interactions with our natural resources. Living within our means is not a punishment, it should not be boring or a sacrifice. Taking constraints as opportunities, each group will choose a daily mundane interaction with natural resources (water, energy, air – a laptop, a cigarette, a teapot) and prototype better interactions, ones that are both pleasurable to perform and make us think about what we are using when we are doing. We will prototype these pleasurable interactions with limited resources, a portion of which will be scavenged from around Vinalhaven. Making do with what you have can be a pleasure.


Name: Peter Hall

Position: Senior Lecturer in Design, University of Texas at Austin

Website: http://peterahall.com

I have written about design in its various forms for a variety of publications since the 1980s. I currently teach design theory and history in the design program at UT Austin and seminars and lecture on mapping as a design practice. This summer I taught a 1-week mapping workshop at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, and now I’m trying to gather together some of my writings around the theme of failure and its uses to practice and criticism–a DI topic a few years back. I grew up and was educated in the UK but am now fully acclimatized, living with my (American) family in Austin where we enjoy swimming, camping, fish tacos and fried pickles.

Proposal

I would like to present a book project I’m working on in collaboration with the illustrator Jeanne Verdoux, featuring sketches (as drawings and text) of people riding on the New York City subway. I’d like to situate this project in terms of other projects that illustrate what De Certeau called the “practice of everyday life”: how, contrary to the perception that our lives are increasingly described and dictated by commercial systems, we also produce our own lifestyles through the art of walking, moving, and adapting readymade products. So, it’s an optimistic “thinkpiece” on the art of “making do” as a constant and often unconscious creative act.


Name: Dan McCafferty

Position: Faculty of Design, OCAD University

Website: (currently offline) www.dannershellerphillershuber.com

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from?

My name is Dan McCafferty. I would be coming to Design Inquiry from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, though I am originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I moved back to Toronto after a brief but wonderful time living in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I graduated with my Master’s degree in Graphic Design from NC State.

What kind of work you do?

Before moving to Raleigh, I worked for several years in Toronto as a graphic designer at two (I believe) respectable studios. These places were “high-end” corporate identity/communications in focus. Since returning from NC State, I have not returned to studio life. I am currently working in the Faculty of Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. I have taught design studio classes, typography studios and an interdisciplinary (graphic/industrial/environmental/material design) course called Think Tank. This year I am the faculty mentor Shift, the OCAD-U Student Publication. I am also trying to engage at a curricular level, and I have proposed a new multidisciplinary course for the OCAD-U Design Department called Critical Design. The course proposal has been approved and will start next year for 3rd and 4th year students. The course emphasizes connections between technology, market forces, society and the environment through the design of discursive artifacts.

Why you are coming?

I am hoping to come to Design Inquiry because I am keen to meet other design thinkers, researchers and makers who share inquisitiveness about design. I want to contribute to help build a sense of community around design inquiry and speculative approaches. As a young professor, I am interested in how the discipline and practice of design is changing, and how this could affect what and how design is taught. I also want to learn much more about what other design researchers and practitioners are currently looking at and considering, and how Make/Do relates to their form of practice; as well as share some of my own directions and hopefully get feedback.

What are your interests in the topic MAKE / DO:

I identified with the topic in both ways that were used to frame this year’s retreat. On one hand, I have often found myself struggling with the difference between having an idea, and its actual implementation or completion, so I am always eager to find approaches to either letting go and making; or more practically, to stay focused, inspired and productive. On the other hand, I have also experienced the challenge of working within various constraints that most design problems present, whether those be time, budgetary constraints, etc.

Although I feel that there are a ton of possibilities for investigation on either side of this coin, my current personal interest in the topic Make / Do is around the idea of constraints. I would like to look at constraints as a possible avenue for overcoming the barrier between ideas and implementation.

My interest is primarily conceptual, or speculative, meaning that I do not intend to present a comfortable, navel-gazing talk on such practical concerns as how liberating it can be finding creative ways to design a stationary system (for example) with only two colors, when you wish you could have four.

Instead, I intend to look outside of design to find where other practices have identified systematic, ontological-level constraints, and sought ways of embracing them, or methods for exploiting them, to ultimately create new work that pushes the boundaries of that discipline.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

I would contribute in a few different ways. I would really enjoy contributing to the tradition of meal preparation/discussions that I have read about. At home, I do some of my favorite thinking while in the “cooking zone.”*

I would certainly be an active contributor to more focused dialogues on ideas directly to the theme of Make/Do. I really enjoy discussions about broad ideas, notions, theories. I love to push ideas around, ask questions, be critical, and so on. I believe that the whole format for Design Inquiry is well suited to my strengths.

More constructively, I would like to contribute a brief presentation on this idea of constraints, and the idea of constraints being used as creative, generative tools, in the service of producing new work. Canadian poet Christian Bok is an active and significant figure in the contemporary Oulipan world. My presentation would be—in part—an introduction to, and consideration of, his work and the work of this group’s approaches to structure at large. I’d like to consider ways design might be influenced to find speculative ways to use constraints as tools for improvisation. This could potentially be followed by a workshop that considers applying some of the kinds of constraints discussed in the presentation, to some form of making.

Beyond this, I would also be really happy to contribute to any ongoing dialogues or efforts that seek to extend the findings of the week’s gathering. I would be happy to be involved in helping to shape a community through working on tangible documents or artifacts, post-Design Inquiry, 2011.

* An example of what I might perhaps contribute in this vein is a discussion about design and “feel.” As a musician (drummer), I often speak about “feel” in reference to music—like most musicians do. I also—occasionally—speak or think about design in this way, too. In the kitchen, I tend to work this way—by feel—so I think it might present a perfect aligning of interests.


FRIDAY MORNING: Exhibition/performance/journal/leftovers brunch

Jordan & everyone


NAME / Jordan Gushwa

POSITION / Sr. Graphic Designer, VCUQatar

WEBSITE / www.qatar.vcu.edu & www.luvinart.com

Since June 2009 I have been directing the graphic design studio at VCUQatar which is the branch campus of Virginia Commonwealth University school of the Arts in Richmond Virginia. VCUQatar is located in Doha the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar. The studio is responsible for all communications, web and print material for the VCUQatar undergrad programs, MFA program, gallery, & the Tasmeem international design conference. We are a multi national shop where on any day you could hear 5 different languages.

Prior to 2009 I was a member of the Cranbrook 2d design studio. While at Cranbrook I became both a grown and ruined man and so now labor under the glorious knowledge of complete self indulgent freedom. Because of this I continue to make the mistake of turning professional work into personal work.

Proposal

To MAKE/DO or COOKING WITH SUBSTITUTIONS.

My wife and I are Americans living in the Gulf. Our life is a mixture of new experiences and simulated familiar experiences from home, SUBSTITUTIONS. We are however not alone in our displacement as VCUQatar’s faculty represent 23 countries and two thirds of Qatar’s population are expats from; India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, England, Sweden, Canada … EATING and family life dominate Qatar’ s multi layered culture and distinct classes/nationalities congregate in hotspots well known within a particular expat community. A southern Indian restaurant serves up a variety dosas to a family with three children, they are born and educated in Qatar but will grow up to know the place of Kerala through it’s people and food.

At our home in Qatar we are into cooking. Food can open a window to a familiar place but also an opportunity for innovation when ingredient substitutions happen out of necessity. An example: paneer enchiladas.

I will contribute to DesignInquiry through writing for the journal & a participatory cooking workshop exploring the theme MAKE/DO through COOKING WITH SUBSTITUTION. (CWS could become a metaphor driven design methodology or a lens through which I can interrogate the nature of expat design practice.)


Friday 3pm – Departures