School of Art, Media, and Technology

Meet The Awesome People In DT: Francisco Zamorano

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The Design and Technology MFA program is full of energetic, unique individuals who work together to think, inspire, and create with technology. This series, by journalist Rachel Signer, provides a glimpse into some of the people in the DT division of the Art, Media, and Technology program who work that make DT such a great place to work and study. This one is about second-year student Francisco Zamorano. He has been prototyping things that help people play with sound in some crazy ways. Read on…

RS: What year are you and what program are you in? What did you do in college?

FZ: I’m in the D&T MFA and it’s my second year. I studied design in Santiago, Chile. My undergrad was kind of similar to the MFA in D&T because it was multi-disciplinary. I studied general design, but I focused on audiovisual design, and I worked in that afterward. When I graduated, about ten years ago, there wasn’t an established field of audiovisual design in my country. so I started doing motion graphics, film, teaching myself, and I worked in that for almost eight years. I was teaching at the university and the field began to grow.

What is your favorite thing about being a student at Parsons?

Being around all these amazing people, from completely different backgrounds. Most of the faculty are really great, in their professional work as well as as teachers. You learn a lot from your classmates because of their different disciplines, especially people who have no design training, because they have a different perspective. It helps you think outside of the box.

What do you like, and not like, about living in New York City?

I like that it’s a mostly pedestrian city. I had a car in Santiago and the traffic is terrible. And the diversity  – different countries, different races. I like the synergy between different people, it generates a beautiful thing. The public transportation isn’t always good. I live in Brooklyn, and it runs twenty-four hours a day, but sometimes you’re on a train and suddenly it changes to a different line, for example.

What are you working on right now that is exciting to you?

I’m working on my thesis, and it is about exploring social aspects of collaboration in sound environments. For example, when people get together to mnake music, what happens in between them is really interesting. A rock band, for example, they get together and they reheasrse, or perform, but they communicate not only on verbal terms. they have more complex levels of communication. There are things that only musicians understand about that kind of communication. My thesis is about how novices who don’t really know music can be engaged in sound experience. I’m trying to engage people through playful experiences, lucid states of mind, having fun with the musical experience. I’ve made some prototypes. They help people become playful, break the rules, and that’s very important. When people tried my prototype, they really surprised me, it was great. I make stuff with materials I already have at home and I use open-source software.

What’s something unique about your background the influences how you work?

Knowing things about movement, and visual graphics, gives me some idea about what works visually in terms of communication. I used to work in advertising for corporations, and I kind of rejected that when I came here. I wanted to work more with people and appearances than trying to sell products.


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