New School News

Parsons Festival 2018 Features Innovative, Socially Engaged Art, Design, and Technology

The Parsons School of Design community has been through a lot lately.

With end-of-semester crunch time right around the corner, an electrical fire broke out in the basement of 2 West 13th Street — home to hundreds of Parsons classes.

As a result, 2 West 13th Street was forced to close, threatening significant disruptions to 600 classes and Making Center capacities. However, by working creatively, collaboratively — and quickly — New School staff were able to find replacement spaces for classes in 2 West 13th Street through the end of the semester.

Thanks to the staff’s hard work, Parsons Festival — the annual celebration of the leading art and design school — will go on as planned, too.

Running through May 18, the festival features exhibitions and sales of student work, public programs, interactive installations, and workshops across The New School’s Greenwich Village campus and at venues throughout New York City, including Aperture, the Westbeth Gallery, and Roche Bobois’ Madison Avenue showroom. This year’s festival is once again part of NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s citywide celebration of design.

The festival showcases the creative and intellectual achievements of Parsons’ graduating students — a diverse and exciting group of artists, designers, architects, photographers, filmmakers, technologists, scholars, and strategists. Parsons Festival offers the New School community and the general public opportunities to experience and engage with the innovation, critical inquiry, and social concerns that drive the creative process at Parsons.

For an idea of what to expect at the festival, New School New_S is taking a closer look at standout projects that have emerged from programs throughout Parsons.

Street Seats
Students from BFA Product Design, BFA Architectural Design, BFA Interior Design, MFA Lighting Design, and MFA Design and Technology

Students from the BFA Product Design, BFA Architectural Design, BFA Interior Design, MFA Lighting Design, Food Studies, and MFA Design and Technology programs transformed the sidewalk at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street into a space for New Yorkers to sit, socialize, and people watch. Designed with an eye to sustainability, the fourth iteration of the annual project is built with netting from repurposed fishing net, biodegradable coconut fibers and jute webbing, and naturally rot-resistant western red cedar. A lighting system using solar panels, batteries, and energy-efficient LED lighting is activated by a daylight sensor, providing artificial light after sundown.

Seating for Eating: Partnership with Roche Bobois
MFA Industrial Design and BFA Product Design Students

Parsons School of Design and Roche Bobois are showcasing 16 functional, full-scale furniture prototypes designed by Parsons students for the leading design brand’s Design Awards competition. In response to the theme “Seating for Eating,” students created prototypes to reinvigorate “the cultural and historical rituals of resting, gathering, and nourishing the body.” Final concepts were presented in December to judges, who shared feedback with students and selected two first-place winners and one second-place winner. On view May 10–23, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. Roche Bobois Showroom, 200 Madison Avenue.

Glades & Limestones: The Biopolitics of South Florida
Michaela Manzieri, BFA Integrated Design

Shaped by Manzieri’s studies and experiences in New York and Miami, Glades & Limestones is a research-based installation piece confronting and exposing the hybridity and resilience of South Florida’s biological and social history. Through cartography, sculpture, and bacterial culture, Manzieri depicts multiple cases of colonization and transfection, focusing on both coral and human populations, past and present, with an eye to future sea-level rise.

Yang Zhang, AAS Fashion

In his work, Zhang attempts to digitally decode the structure of the body. Using Adobe SketchUp as his mapping tool, he creates a hyper-realized form of the human figure, which he uses to design his garments. Yang’s pieces include exaggerated arms, legs, and torsos that are recreated as gloves, pants, and jackets, respectively.

Designing for Transitions in Cancer
Javi Arenas and Emma Eriksson, MFA Transdisciplinary Design

The experience of cancer patients is often defined by transitions: between being diagnosed and beginning treatment, and between finishing treatment and beginning years of screening and monitoring. Fear, frustration, distrust, confusion, and, above all, a loss of agency come with the territory. Working in partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Arenas and Eriksson explore how design can play a role in creating a more supportive environment during these transitions.

White Enough
Paula Elizabeth Mateo, BFA Fine Arts

In White Enough, Mateo uses artificial and real hair to explore ideas of beauty imposed by systemic racism on the Afro-Latinx community. The work speaks to self-hatred, racism, confusion of origin, and the stigma resulting from refusal to conform to Eurocentric standards. Mateo pulls, untangles, twists, fluffs, sets, and sews together hair of different textures and colors, combing it into a single piece. She pierces it with nails, symbolically penetrating each strand with the expectations of society. She hangs the hair on walls, wears it, and forces it into corners.

Clusters of Tweets: Responses to #metoo
Ellie Frymire, MS Data Visualization

Last October, several women came forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein, sparking the #metoo movement. In Clusters of Tweets: Responses to #metoo, Frymire analyzes the scope of #metoo tweets and visualizes the language contained therein. By examining only the content of the tweets and using unsupervised machine learning, she is able to more accurately characterize the opinions shared using #metoo.

Research on Street Lighting Conditions in NYCHA Housing
Iris Ahn, MFA Lighting Design

Working with associate professor of lighting design Craig Bernecker, Ahn explores the relationship between the street lighting conditions and the perceived level of safety at Jacob Riis Houses in Queens. The goal of this study is to see whether lighting design could be used to improve the quality of life and and create a safer urban environment.

Nicole Collis, BBA Strategic Design and Management

Citize* is a digital platform through which students from The New School help students from the Idea Platform at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus, launch start-up companies by providing emotional, financial, and intellectual support. A response to both the Puerto Rican debt crisis and the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Citize* offers an innovative alternative to traditional humanitarian responses through long-term sustainable economic solutions.

Sonder and Bazaar
Jesse Cermak, BFA Interior Design

Sonder and Bazaar is an LGBTQ+ hub, market, and housing environment that provides a space in which homeless youth who are active artists, designers, and creators can pursue their craft. The various programs hosted by Sonder and Bazaar provide employment opportunities through permanent shops as well as a space for makers to sell their goods in a constantly changing bazaar. The remaining portion of the space, spanning the other five floors, provides affordable micro-housing units for homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

Borrowed Good
Erin Tilley, MS Strategic Design and Management

Borrowed Good is a scalable systems approach to reducing plastic consumer waste, starting with disposable utensils. Washable metal utensils are delivered by subscription to restaurants for takeout use, customers place the used utensils in conveniently located deposit boxes, and the dirty utensils are collected from the deposit locations, washed, and redistributed to restaurants.

Hey You Up?
Maggie Samson, BBA Strategic Design and Management

With Hey You Up?, Sampson creates a series of zines that provoke communication about sexual health to foster empowerment and non-judgmental decision making. Topics such as consent, pleasure, identity, and communication are discussed through anecdotal storytelling, poetry, and illustration.

Conrad Schooneveldt, BFA Product Design

Rollarium features intuitive features, such as an ergonomic form and lively color scheme, that adapt the design of the classic A-frame walker for the 21st century. Enabling users to maintain their mobility and independence, Rollarium changes the A-frame walker from a symbol of disability to a celebration of ability, helping users live life to the fullest.

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