Parsons at BJDW: Alternative Creative “Hotspots”

By sevan

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If you couldn’t tell already, I love collaborations. The latest takes us to Beijing. This past June, students from the Parsons New School for Design teamed up with China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Tsinghua University to create a series of site-specific installations in Beijing’s Dongcheng District as part of the “BJDW ALT” studio. The students explored the district to uncover a variety of grassroots, international and community-centered creative spaces and designed their projects in response to these “alternative creative hotspot” environments. The result: Big Urban Game. Participants could take tours of the creative hotspots and interact with the installations, which included new media pieces such as “Surface,” an interactive installation that reduces the immense scale of Beijing into an intimate space.

A selection of the projects that resulted from “BJDW ALT” will be on display during Beijing Design Week, taking place September 26 – October 3, in one of the event’s main venues, 751 D-Park.

Another very interesting project that will feature at BJDW is “Weather Tunnel.” This project takes an investigative approach much like “BJDW ALT” but applies it globally. The series of installations that form the project are informed by environmental data collected from sensors that were deployed in a variety of geographically and geopolitically diverse locations around the world; each installation responds conceptually and formally to to environmental and ecological crises. One installation, “Degree Day,” enables participants to experience a twenty-four hour period of meteorological change across the surface of the earth in just twenty-four minutes while another, “Electromechanical Solenoid Orchestra,” performs melodies and rhythms in response to real-time environmental data.

AT BJDW, Benjamin Bacon, Assistant Professor in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons, will lead a DIY workshop on creating a Weather Tunnel project, as well as Participate in the AIGA China Tech Salon.

By pushing designers to think critically about the surroundings and environments that influence our day-to-day lives, such collaborative projects raise awareness and sensibility in design, whether it be a new building or a piece of furniture.

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