A Better World by Design has taken campus by storm this weekend. We decided to experience it for ourselves!
Thoughts on our morning panel…
We started our morning at a panel entitled “Youth Democracy and Design,” moderated by Jen Hetzel Silbert, the founder and curator of Learning 401, an educational non-profit in Rhode Island.
The panel featured Yesica Guerra, director of Crónicas de Héroes/Hero Reports, Sam Gilman ‘15 co-founder of Common Sense Action, and Sam Chaltain, a national educator and organizational change consultant. While the panelists took a few moments each to talk about the work that they had done in their respective fields to design solutions that provide a better platform for youth voice, participants spent the majority of the session asking questions, suggesting potential areas for intervention, and collaborating with one another to brainstorm.
One of the most interesting take-aways was the idea of understanding the delicate balance between individual freedom and group structure within the school system and how this balance can be deeply impacted by the tension that democracy and capitalism create in our public schools.
So about those bubbles…
The multi-colored bubbles popping up around campus are the brainchildren of a RISD art collaborative named Pneuhaus, which began as a thesis project for 2014 RISD graduates Matthew Muller and August Lehrecke. Over the summer, they added Hunter Blackwell (RISD ‘14, glass) and Levi Bedall (Ohio State University, Architecture, ‘14).
Their mission, according to their website, is “focused around designing objects and spaces that require an active participation from their audience,” and their latest installation is no exception.
Perhaps you are well acquainted with Blog’s column, This Week at the Avon. Meet the Avon’s
sulky, redheaded step-sister hip, closer-to-sea-level competitor, the Cable Car Cinema and Cafe. Cable Car, located on seabreezy South Main Street, has recently been deemed “Best Art House Cinema in New England” by Yankee Magazine. This week, Cable Car has extended their screening of the new, much-anticipated documentary Finding Vivian Maier through Thursday. This film seeks to unveil the mysterious nanny who also happened to be one of the most prolific street photographers of the 20th century. She created work on par with Diane Arbus, Lisette Model, and Robert Frank, but her fruits of her Rolleiflex were unknown to the world until 2007.
A 26-year-old real estate agent and director of the film, John Maloof, discovered Maier’s work at a storage auction in Chicago while looking for images of the Windy City to include in a book he was co-authoring at the time. Maier had stashed her work away in boxes, and 100,000 negatives and undeveloped rolls of film had remained unseen until Maloof stumbled upon them. The art world and the general public feel immense gratitude towards Maloof because he made Maier’s work known, but, as the film progresses, the problematic nature of Maloof’s nearly tyrannical possession of the work bubbles to the surface. Maloof had no personal connection to Maier before he bid on a trunk of her negatives for $300, but now he is producing (and profiting from) posthumous prints of her work, and receiving international attention because of Maier’s eccentric story. At times, Finding Vivian Maier comes across as a thinly veiled promotional piece for John Maloof, and it makes the viewer wonder what this film could have been if it had been directed by a third party documentarian.
Scenario: You find yourself at a house party, and your intrigue is piqued by an unfamiliar collegian across the room, wearing a paint-splattered t-shirt emblazoned with the RISD seal. It’s a classic conundrum: two kids from the opposite sides of town, searching for some common ground. You could initiate conversation with age-old ice breakers—”are your calves so defined from walking up the Hill every day?” or, “is it true that you have 8-hour-long studio classes?!” But why not distinguish yourself as the burgeoning free-thinker you are, and discuss the many artists who walked these streets before you did? Maybe you won’t run into any new RISD kids this semester (they won’t be seeing much daylight as they prepare for their impending final critiques), but why not go home for break and impress your mom with these fun facts about artistic beginnings on College Hill? After all, you live in Providence, the self-proclaimed creative capital of the US, and college has transformed you into a learned sophisticate!
Here is your cheat sheet of some eccentric and accomplished artists who have graced the College Hill grounds currently beneath your feet, after the jump: