Parsons School of Design, MPS Communication Design
PMCD 5200 Visual Culture Seminar Fall 2021, Section B
Instructor: Luiza Dale
Wednesdays 7–9:40 pm EDT


Course Description


This seminar course is designed to explore contemporary positions in communication design and discuss its future spaces in society and industry. It is an exercise in critical thinking to understand the transformed and expanded nature of globalized visual culture in the 21st century and how design has shifted. Through discussions and lectures with practitioners, researchers, and New School faculty, students will be invited to consider the cultural landscape of communication design and explore its best practices and new working methods. Class topics include: archives, authorship, craft, digital interfaces, ethics, locality, materiality, observation, publishing, self-reliance, social justice, vernacular and visual narrative.

The diversity of visiting guests will promote analytic interaction with opposing viewpoints as well as provide networking opportunities for the class. Students will read, write and complete 3 projects that explore their position as designers.

Instructor Information


Luiza Dale
dalel160@newschool.edu
Office hours by appointment over email only

Commitment to Equity and Diversity


In the Communication Design program, we are committed to creating a more inclusive, equitable and anti-racist community. We recognize that we must continue to advance our teaching pedagogy and expand our curriculum to address issues of white supremacy, racial discrimination and other forms of systemic oppression.

We come to the classroom from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. It is important to be respectful and empathetic towards others, be open to criticism and engage in new ways of learning. On the first day of class, we will write a Group Agreement that outlines our collective classroom standards for the course. We will be responsible for upholding the agreement throughout the semester.

Hybridity


Depending on the week, we will meet in person in room 601 (6 East 16th St) or online via Zoom. Check the Schedule for details before class each week. All guest lectures will take place online.

Class Time


Each class will be composed of a combination of reading discussions, guest lectures, presentations, critiques, and in-class exercises.

Readings


There will be 1–2 assigned readings for most classes. Students are responsible for writing one short reading response due the night before class. Reading responses should include your thoughts on the material (2 sentences minimum) and 2 questions for discussion.

Projects


There will be 3 projects. Projects 1 and 2 are individual and happen during the first half of the semester, while Project 3 is collaborative (2 students per group) and spans the second half of the course.

Project 1: Person, Place or Thing (3 weeks)
Project 2: Manifesto (3 weeks)
Project 3: Notes from the Field (9 weeks)

In-class Exercises


While this is a seminar class, some in-class time may be devoted to short exercises and demos.

Guest Lecturers


There will be a series of invited speakers in the course, ranging from researchers, artists and designers. They will present their work to all sections on Zoom and host an open Q&A. Lecture recordings will be available via Vimeo. Schedule subject to change.

Requirements


During the unusual conditions of teaching and learning in an ongoing global pandemic, we will make every effort to upkeep active and meaningful engagement, at times potentially without the reality of a classroom setting.

You will need:

Credit


Thank you to Lynn Kiang and Lucille Tenazas for the collective planning of this course. Thank you to Laurel Schwulst, Mindy Seu, Sophie Auger, and Tuan Quoc Pham, whose syllabi I looked at quite a bit before writing this one.

See full syllabus

Project 1: Person, Place or Thing


We are all coming together physically after a long time of virtual interactions from different locations and time zones around the world. As we navigate between the real and the virtual, our identities shift, determined by the environments and interfaces we navigate. Choose a Person, Place or Thing that is unique to your day-to-day life. The chosen subject should clearly establish your specific context.

Prepare a brief 3-minute presentation on your subject.

Considerations:


Dates:
For references and inspiration, see this Are.na channel

Project 2: Manifesto


A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, and/or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. Manifestos either accept a previously published opinion or public consensus, or promote a new idea with oftentimes prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. They are usually political or artistic in nature, but may also be humorous or present an individual’s life stance.

Write and design a 150-word personal manifesto that exists digitally and articulates your motives in pursuing this program and your thinking around communication design within our current context.

Considerations:


Dates:
For references and inspiration, see this Are.na channel

Project 3: Notes from the Field


This project is to be done in pairs. Based on your ongoing learnings from the class (including readings, discussions, projects, and guest lectures), develop an online notebook. The publication must exist on the internet as a microsite and accommodate multiple entries (minimum 6, with text and images or solely text), allowing for it to expand over time as you collect your thoughts until the end of the semester.

Considerations:


Dates:
For references and inspiration, see this Are.na channel Credit: This project was inspired by a prompt called Writer’s Notebook, by Laurel Schwulst.

In-class exercise: Web Show & Tell


We will start every class with website show and tell presentations by selected students (1 or 2 students per class, 5 minutes per student). Links should be collected on the class Are.na channel. This quick activity will allow for thinking on what we are drawn to online and why, new discoveries and inspiration, and casual class discussion time.

Week by week

Week 1, 09/01: Course Introduction (in person, room 606)


Introductions
Group agreement + Names and pronouns
Syllabus review
Projects review

*break*

Introduce Web Show & Tell
Sign up for Web Show & Tell slots
Introduce Project 1

For next class...

Week 2, 09/08: Self-Reliance + Creative Practice (online)


Guest Lecture: Jessica Helfand
Please join the lecture Zoom at the start of class and after a break, at 8:50pm, join our usual class Zoom

Reading & lecture discussion
Sign up for presentation slots for next week

For next class...

Week 3, 09/15: Project 1 Due (in person, room 606)


Web Show & Tell: María
Quick reading discussion
Project 1 presentations, part 1

*break*

Project 1 presentations, part 2

For next class...

Week 4, 09/22: Locality + Vernacular (online and at 6PM, this class only! )


Guest Lecture: Clara Balaguer
Please join the lecture Zoom at the start of class and after a break, at 7:50pm, join our usual class Zoom

Web Show & Tell: Lena
Reading & lecture discussion
Introduce Project 2
Sign up for 2-on-1 slots for next week

For next class...

Week 5, 09/29: Critique (in person, room 606)


Mini lecture: Lucille Tenazas
We will join the lecture Zoom at the start of class in room 606, see you in person!

*break*

Web Show & Tell: Austin
Sign up for presentation slots for next week
2-on-1s to discuss Project 2 progress

For next class...

Week 6, 10/06: Project 2 Due (in person, room 606)


Web Show & Tell: Maud
Project 2 presentations, part 1

*break*

Project 2 presentations, part 2

For next class...

Week 7, 10/13: Living Archives (online)


Guest Lecture: Mindy Seu
Please join the lecture Zoom at the start of class and after a break, at 8:50pm, join our usual class Zoom

Web Show & Tell: Sili
Reading & lecture discussion
Introduce Project 3 and decide on groups
Sign up for 1-on-1 slots for next week’s Midterm check-in

For next class...

Week 8, 10/20: Midterm Reviews (in person, room 606)


Mini lecture: Lynn Kiang
We will join the lecture Zoom at the start of class in room 606, see you in person!

*break*

Midterm check-ins, 1-on-1s

For next class...

Week 9, 10/27: Queer Publishing (online)


Guest Lecture: Paul Soulellis
Please join the lecture Zoom at the start of class and after a break, at 8:50pm, join our usual class Zoom

Web Show & Tell: Maya
Reading & lecture discussion
Sign up for 2-on-1 slots for next week

For next class...

Week 10, 11/03: Critique (in person, room 606)


Web Show & Tell: Antoinette

*break*

2-on-1s to discuss Project 3 progress

For next class...

Week 11, 11/10: Design + Big Tech (online)


Guest Lecture: Allan Yu
Please join the lecture Zoom at the start of class and after a break, at 8:50pm, join our usual class Zoom

Web Show & Tell: Carla
Reading & lecture discussion

For next class...

Week 12, 11/17:Speculative Design (online)


Guest Lecture: Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
Please join the lecture Zoom at the start of class and after a break, at 8:50pm, join our usual class Zoom

Web Show & Tell: Yiyao
Reading & lecture discussion
Sign up for 2-on-1 slots for next week

For next class...

Week 13, 11/24: Critique (in person, room 606)


Mini lecture: Luiza Dale
We will join the lecture Zoom at the start of class in room 606, see you in person!

*break*

Web Show & Tell: Claire
2-on-1s to discuss Project 3 progress
Sign up for 2-on-1 slots for next week

For next class...

Week 14, 12/01: Critique (in person, room 606)


Sign up for presentation slots for next week

*break*

2-on-1s to discuss Project 3 progress

For next class...

Week 15, 12/08: Project 3 Due (in person, room 606)


Project 3 presentations, part 1

*break*
Project 3 presentations, part 2

By 12/15...

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