School of Art, Media, and Technology

Lecture: Mental Maps + Geographic Realities

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The School of Design Strategies will host a lecture by Kevin Henry, Associate Professor of Product Design, Columbia College Chicago.

When: Wednesday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor
The lecture is free and open to all New School students, faculty and staff.

The processes of visualizing design are evolving as quickly as the various design professions in part due to the rapid advances in visualization technologies and the growing complexity of the world. It is no longer enough to envision a design idea and how it might be built or produced. It must now be visualized in a broader context relating the design and its various impacts and interactions with the user, the environment, and increasingly with new technologies it seeks to integrate into the solution. This is a on-going challenge for students trying to come to terms with the various analog and digital methods of generating, refining, and presenting ideas.

Current research in cognitive neuroscience reveals a wealth of information about how the brain parses data to understand the physical world both through concrete form and motion. Adding this new knowledge to the existing wealth of information on the psychology of vision can help the designer better leverage innate cognitive capabilities in everything from sketching three-dimensional forms to explaining interactions that occur in space and time.

This lecture explores a wide range of topics both historical and theoretical while offering practical hands-on strategies for better understanding design visualizations of every kind from quick analog sketching and rendering to computer modeling, scenarios and storyboards, information graphics and finally effective presentations. The lecture has been designed to get students to see the universality of technology as tools (digital and analog) as well as the interconnections and precedents of ancient technology—Renaissance perspective, for example—and the latest computer aided design or animation tools.

Kevin Henry is an industrial designer, educator, curator, and writer interested in the intersection between design, technology, and culture. He has lectured widely in a variety of contexts on a variety of topics including sustainability, technology integration into art and design curricula, the changing nature of photography in the era of social networking, and revamping foundation programs for the 21st century. He has published articles in a variety of journals and on-line websites including the industrial design supersite Core77. He is currently finishing up his first book due out in early 2012 on design visualization with the UK publisher Laurence King. Curated exhibitions include a recent show on contemporary Chinese industrial design and d.i.y. culture.

At 9:30 a.m. on the same day, Professor Henry will take part in a panel discussion—What’s Art Got to Do with It? Design Writing in the Twenty-First Century—at the College Art Association Annual Conference at the Hilton Hotel here in New York City. His presentation is titled The Emerging Aesthetic of Ugly: Fabbing, Modding, Hacking, and the Power of DIY Interventions, an Assessment. Joining him on the panel will be Parsons faculty members Cameron Tonkinwise and Shana Agid.

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