Parsons Paris

Inside The Life – AMT Senior

Joelle Rodriguez

I am a Colombian artist finishing my last year at Parsons Paris in the AMT Program. Previously I was able to complete a semester in the New York campus, but this semester I am back in Paris working on My thesis. My work is focused on what I am passionate about and not necesarily tied to a specific medium, I am able to express my ideas through a variety of ways such as paintings, drawings, sculptural work etc. I explore the intersections between art design and technology through these creative practicies that are grounded in a social, political and environmental context. My overall philosophy is to contribute to the environment through sustainable innovative approaches.

What Am I Up To?

General life in Paris can be slow and fast all at the same time. Some Days things get done and your mind is working at a fast pace, and other days you find yourself just wanting to sit at a cafe all day and admire the city with a good pastry and just relax. For me this city has always held a healthy balance. One of the perks of Paris is that you hardly ever run out of things to do. There is always a beautiful gallery exhibition or museum to go to, and always a new restaurant or bar to discover, it is just a matter of going out and exploring the city. Life here is like being picked up and being placed in the middle of an artwork, with the stunning architecture following your every move. As a student focusing in the arts this city is the place to be, it is a hub of all forms of design and a gateway to opportunities.

Starting this last year and my last fall semester as an AMT student I didn’t really know what to expect. Over the summer I contemplated ideas for my thesis but did not come into class with anything concrete. Soon i discovered that the first weeks of senior year are key and essential in development of concepts domains and themes that professors help you elaborate on and brainstorm, nothing has to be concrete yet, and that it is encouraged to open your mind to all possibilities.It was a new step to take, as well as now going to the Romainville campus. At first I was hesitant when I heard of a new campus outside paris, but once arriving I realized that the place feels more professional and serious. The space is much larger, private and very pleasant to work in. I felt like a genuine senior walking through the doors and I felt like getting work done.

Thesis for me can be represented as the teachers and the school letting loose the reins and I am now able to go explore and deep dive into anything I feel drawn to. It is the most freedom throught my 4 years of study here at parsons paris. Where I am now, week 6/7 in the amt class it is all about prototyping. Learning the failures and successes of your creations for your thesis prep. Coming up with a preferred area of study can be challenging but that is what the first couple of weeks are this semester. We now go through 2 rounds of prototyping before the final prototype for the midterm critique. This fall there are two classes dedicated to thesis, the first thesis studio, the second ARS standing for advanced research seminar. This class helps you research and write the paper along with what you create. So to sum up we identify an area of study, then research its major assumptions and precedents, and then propose a project within this area of practice. We then explain the significance of the undertaking and develop a methodology for conceptualizing, researching,prototyping and writing that then creates the thesis project and the paper.

The most interesting part of studio class for me is critiques and presentations. You are placed in groups of 3 or 4 where you can share your ideas and provide feedback. Here you can see all the other inspiring projects, and comment with your peers. This is my favorite aspect of the class, the opportunity to help others, providing a different perspective and receiving a different perspective.

This semester I decided to focus on the theme of fire and combustion for my thesis. This means researching different types of flames, different colors of flames, experiment on different materials etc. To then link this idea to global warming and the current crisis we are in. The themes of sustainability and environmentalism are recurring in my work and are what I am passionate about.
Below prototypes of my senior year combustion experimentation.

Prototype 1.

Ideas: Play on a blue ethanol flame invisible to the naked eye and linking it to the population’s contribution to global warming and the unprecedented amount of heat/co2 we produce, invisible in our everyday lives and invisible as top priority in society. Clear movement across the work, leading from one place to another.
This blue fire is the deadliest of flames, just as strong as red and yellow. Goal is to translate a message of a reminisce of fire and time/translate a message of urgency.

Prototype 2

Idea:Based on the idea of control. Highlighting the importance of small controlled induced fires that help the environment. How indigenous practices on this can be applied to society in order to help avoid deforestation and enrich the ecosystem. As well as bring awareness to the negative results of deforestation (amazon rainforest) due to large corporations and represent the destruction. Wooden material but clear to see how control was used to contain/History to the flame Goal, to shed light on how us as a community aid to deforestation without knowing, through supermarkets like casino, franprix, monoprix and carrefour. To offer an helpful alternative something that can be applied
These examples are just a sample of what is to come, a kind of sneak peek into the class. After these simple prototypes 3 more rounds of experimentation follow, before midterm evaluation. This shows the amount of thought and research put into every detail. Every class helps youre idea, molding it and changing it to become stronger and better over time. I am very excited for this year of study and the path on which it will take me.

Joelle Rodriguez
Art Media and Tech

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