Present Tense: The 2011 D-Crit Conference

The groundbreaking MFA's second annual conference features thesis presentations and a powerhouse panel on the state of design criticism.

Present Tense: The 2011 D-Crit Conference takes place On May 4, 2011 at the Visual Arts Theatre in New York City. Moderated by documentary film producer Adam Harrison Levy, and featuring New York Times Magazine contributor Rob Walker as keynote speaker, the conference presents the 11 graduating students, who will each make a sharply honed 10-minute presentation on their thesis topic, and a panel of prominent critics on the future of design criticism.

Event Information When: 4 May 2011, 1:00 to 8:00 pm
Where: Visual Arts Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
Price: Free and open to the public
The roster of panelists, keynote, and moderator of the 2011 D-Crit conference, Present Tense.<br /> Top image: Selections from the student thesis presentations, from L to R: Amelie Znidaric’s "Listen to Your Chair: Design and the Art of Storytelling"; Kimberlie Birks’ “Recreate: New Grounds for New York Playgrounds,” which charts the city’s playground renaissance; and Michele Washington’s “Untangling the Naps: The Afro Talks Back"
The roster of panelists, keynote, and moderator of the 2011 D-Crit conference, Present Tense.
Top image: Selections from the student thesis presentations, from L to R: Amelie Znidaric’s "Listen to Your Chair: Design and the Art of Storytelling"; Kimberlie Birks’ “Recreate: New Grounds for New York Playgrounds,” which charts the city’s playground renaissance; and Michele Washington’s “Untangling the Naps: The Afro Talks Back"
This year's fast-paced half-day event will be held at the SVA Theatre in NYC from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm, concluding with a panel discussion that includes MoMA's Paola Antonelli, BIG's founder and architect Bjarke Ingels, Van Alen Institute's executive director Olympia Kazi, The New Yorker's John Seabrook and Fast Company's Linda Tischler, who will join Levy and Walker onstage to debate the priorities, possibilities and impact of design criticism. The conference will be rounded off with a reception where you can get to know better the next generation of design critics, editors, journalists, authors, curators, strategists, and educators. The students' topics range from the design of playgrounds to the use of sound as a communicative tool in design and architecture and from a consideration of decay and impermanence in design to an analysis of the Afro as visual archetype. A full roster is included below.
Teddy bears in factory, 1915. From Saundra Marcel’s D-Crit MFA lecture, “Living Licensed: Consuming Characters in Girls’ Popular Culture”
Teddy bears in factory, 1915. From Saundra Marcel’s D-Crit MFA lecture, “Living Licensed: Consuming Characters in Girls’ Popular Culture”
Speakers:
Paola Antonelli
, senior curator of Design and Architecture, MoMA; Bjarke Ingels , BIG's founder and architect; Olympia Kazi , executive director, Van Alen Institute; John Seabrook, The New Yorker ; Linda Tischler, senior editor, Fast Company ; and Rob Walker, New York Times Magazine contributor.

Moderator:
Adam Harrison Levy
is a writer and freelance documentary film producer and director. He has worked on a wide range of historical and arts films, primarily for the BBC. He was the U.S. producer for Selling the Sixties, a cultural history of the world of advertising in early 1960s New York, as well as for the BBC films Close Up, about the artist Chuck Close, and David Ogilvy: Original Mad Man. He has produced and directed countless interviews with a wide range of actors, writers, musicians and film-makers for the BBC and Channel 4.
The SVA D-Crit MFA in Design Criticism—the first of its kind in the United States—seeks to cultivate design criticism as a discipline with new writing and thinking that is imaginative, historically informed and socially accountable.
From “Going Public: Creation and Dissemination of the Designer’s Identity.” Molly Heintz examines how designers promote themselves from the current era (Karim Rashid’s signature on a method soap bottle) to Raymond Loewy (on the cover of Time magazine and in an ad for Air France—which at the time was not yet one of Lowey’s clients)
From “Going Public: Creation and Dissemination of the Designer’s Identity.” Molly Heintz examines how designers promote themselves from the current era (Karim Rashid’s signature on a method soap bottle) to Raymond Loewy (on the cover of Time magazine and in an ad for Air France—which at the time was not yet one of Lowey’s clients)
Schedule
1:00 Registration, desserts and coffee
1:30 Opening remarks by Alice Twemlow
1:45 Keynote: Rob Walker, "Imaginary Objects and Fictional Critiques"
2:20 Opening remarks by Adam Harrison Levy
2:30 Amelie Znidaric, "Listen to Your Chair: Design and the Art of Storytelling"
2:45 Zachary Sachs, "Permanence as a Criterion"
3:00 Coffee break
3:15 Sarah F. Cox, "The Detroiter: Resident Design Initiatives"
3:30 Stephanie Jönsson, "Designing Sound: Aural Agency in the Twenty-First Century"
3:45 Kimberlie Birks, "Recreate: New Grounds for New York's Playgrounds"
4:00 Coffee break
4:15 Saundra Marcel, "Living Licensed: Consuming Characters in Girls' Popular Culture"
4:30 Michele Washington, "Untangling the Naps: The Afro Talks Back"
4:45 Aileen Kwun, "Mirror Image Maker: Looking at Music Videos of the Internet Age"
5:00 Coffee Break
5:15 Molly Heintz, "Going Public: Creation and Dissemination of the Designer's Identity"
5:45 Vera Sacchetti, "Design Crusades: A Critical Reflection on Social Design"
6:00 Avinash Rajagopal, "Tinkering with Design: The Convergence of Design and Hacking"
6:30 Panel Discussion, "Speculatively Speaking: The Future of Design Criticism," featuring Paola Antonelli, Bjarke Ingels, Olympia Kazi, John Seabrook, Linda Tischler and Rob Walker
7:30 Closing Remarks
8:00 Reception

The SVA D-Crit MFA in Design Criticism—the first of its kind in the United States—seeks to cultivate design criticism as a discipline and contribute to public discourse with new writing and thinking that is imaginative, historically informed and socially accountable. Drawing on the broadest possible definition of design, the curriculum includes graphic, web and product design, as well as fashion, urban planning and networked systems. The course of study couples a theoretical framework with significant opportunities for practical experience. In providing the tools for researching, analyzing, evaluating and chronicling all aspects of design, students will prepare for careers as design critics, journalists, editors, curators, educators and design managers.

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