I’m giving a talk this Saturday at the WMC Fest in Cleveland, Ohio. The Weapons of Mass Creation Festival is a 2 day event packed with design talks, concerts and all sorts of other creativity-related goodness. It’s now in its 2nd year and is put on by local agency Go Media. A whole host of exciting people are speaking, check the lineup here.
My talk is Saturday evening at 5:30PM EST. I’ll be talking about all sorts of things — mainly some strange and wonderful lessons I’ve learned along the way from trying to become a famous musican to eventually dropping out of graduate school to terrify my parents and live a life of crime. Or something like that. Anyway if Cleveland is nearby for you I hope to see you there! Definitely find me and say hello. Maybe we can even talk about design (or anything else random of our choosing at that moment).
A few weeks ago, Scott gave a lecture to my fellow Academy of Art students. The talk was part of the Designspeak lecture series and was open to students and faculty (and 20 lucky blog readers). The room was jam packed, with a bunch of people even crammed in on the floor. The talk covered a wide range of topics: early influences, current design process, Tycho, the blog, and much more. We even got a glimpse of the first poster Scott ever designed!
The lecture was about 1.5 hours long, with a 30 minute Q&A at the end. In addition to the Academy film crew, I was on hand with my 5DMKII to capture some of the evening. Given the massive file size, and limited continuous shot duration on the 5D, I only recorded sporadically, and wasn’t able to capture everything I would have liked. I shot until my memory card filled up and was able to capture a total of 30 minutes of the talk. I selected the shots you see in the video above from this sample.
As I said in my intro that night, it would be hard for me to convey how much I’ve learned from Scott over these last two years interning at the studio. I consider myself enrolled in two design schools (Scott’s, and the Academy) and it was really exciting for me to see these two worlds combined. I’m very glad that everyone at the Academy was able to get a glimpse into Scott’s world and I’m also really excited now to be able to show you all at least a little bit of the talk. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to see one of the talks in person, I highly suggest you make that happen (I think Toronto is your next opportunity). In the meantime, hopefully this video will tide you over.
Recording the talk was another great test run with the 5D and I learn something new each time I take it out. This time, audio was the main issue as I wasn’t able to find a suitable solution before the talk. What you hear through most of video was from the Academy microphone — at the end is what it sounds like off the internal mic on the 5D. Basically the on camera mic is completely useless. It helps for syncing external audio to the video, but that’s about it. For future excursions I am definitely going to look into some form of either a mounted shotgun mic or wireless LAV.
I saw Maya Lin speak this past Tuesday as part of the City Arts & Lecture series. The event was in part sponsored by the California Academy of Sciences and was a conversation between Maya and the Academy’s Ryan Wyatt, Director of Science Visualization. They walked through many of Maya’s projects, old and new, and discussed her approach to art and science. Much of the work that was shown (some of which is pictured above) I was not familiar with. As I am from Washington DC, I have always been aware of her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I was very much impressed with the way her work has evolved since then. (She was only 20 years old when she designed it.)
Science plays a major role in the work she is doing now. She is very intellectual in her approach and conducts a massive amount of research for each project. For example, her first of two pieces for the Academy of Science, entitled Where the Land Meets the Sea, was based on data from a US Geological Study mapping the topology of the San Francisco Bay. As with her Systematic Landscapes, she takes great care to humanize this data and give it new depth and life. The piece looks like a drawing, floating in space above the terrace, and she describes this melding of art and science as a “way to visualize our world in an effort to more fully understand it.”
Maya has a tremendous passion and curiosity for the world around her. She surrounds herself with mountains of research and works tirelessly to translate cold hard facts into more accessible and relatable pieces of art. Some of this stems from what she calls a “child like curiosity” to just see what it will look like, but there is also a very political aspect to her work. She wants to make people aware of the environment they take for granted, and she said a few times, “If we can’t see it, we pollute it.” Through constant collaboration with scientists, Maya is trying to help us see what we’re missing.
The work pictured above is: Systematic Landscapes (2), Topologies, and Wave Field, all of which can be seen on her website. All are very experiential, something she laments is lost in the stillness of a photograph. Better to visit in person if you can.