The 2013 D-Crit Conference
counter/point: The 2013 D-Crit Conference was moderated by NPR’s “The Takeaway” host John Hockenberry, and featured graduating students of the SVA MFA in Design Criticism Class of 2013. Paola Antonelli, senior curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, delivered the keynote lecture, launching an afternoon of rich, polyphonic exchange between the students and a headlining roster of design curators, practitioners, theorists, critics, educators, and planners. D-Crit students presented their thesis research in counterpoint with: Walker Art Center curator of Architecture and Design Andrew Blauvelt; British interaction design firm Dunne & Raby co-founder Fiona Raby; architect and theorist Mark Foster Gage; director of the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City Toni Griffin; and architect and activist Michael Sorkin.
Topics addressed included: the persistence of segregation in today’s built environment; the problems inherent in exhibiting graphic design; the spectacular framing of nature in the urban environment; product design’s social and participatory dimension; and how some emerging architects are using literal representation in new ways.
The 2012 D-Crit Conference
Eventually Everything: The 2012 D-Crit Conference was moderated by Change Observer co-editor Julie Lasky, and took place on May 2, 2012 at the Visual Arts Theatre in New York City.
The conference was comprised of four themed panels, each introduced by keynote speakers: media historian Stuart Ewen; Pentagram partner Michael Bierut; 2×4 founding partner Michael Rock; cultural historian Jeffrey Schnapp; and Interboro Partners principal Daniel D’Oca. Topics addressed included the absence of firearms in design collections, the persistence of an anti-ornament bias in architectural discourse, Main Street USA as rhetorical trope, and the need for designers to make repairable products.
This was the third D-Crit conference organized by, and featuring, graduating D-Crit students. The conference reception took place at the Vitra store.
The 2011 D-Crit Conference
Present Tense: The 2011 D-Crit Conference was moderated by documentary film producer Adam Harrison Levy, and featured The New York Times Magazine contributor Rob Walker as keynote speaker, the 11 graduating students, who each made a sharply honed 10-minute presentation on their thesis topic, and a panel of prominent critics on the future of design criticism. The students’ topics ranged from the design of playgrounds to the use of sound as a communicative tool in design and architecture and from a consideration of decay and impermanence in design to an analysis of the Afro as visual archetype.
The panel included MoMA’s Paola Antonelli, BIG’s founder and architect Bjarke Ingels, Van Alen Institute’s executive director Olympia Kazi, The New Yorker’s John Seabrook and Fast Company’s Linda Tischler, who all joined Levy and Walker onstage to debate the priorities, possibilities and impact of design criticism. The conference was rounded off with a reception at GD Cucine.
Crossing the Line:
The 2010 D-Crit Conference
Crossing the Line: The 2010 D-Crit Conference was moderated by D-Crit faculty member, award-winning author, and “Studio 360” host Kurt Andersen. The event featured thesis presentations by all 15 graduating students alongside keynote talks by design visionary and Doors of Perception founder John Thackara and author and educator Peter Hall. Topics under discussion ranged from the design of personal memorial objects to the use of smell as a communicative tool in design and architecture, and from design and visual language in the films of Jean-Luc Godard to the applications and implications of car sharing. The conference reception took place in the Sky Room at the New Museum.