unMute: The 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Publication
Take a moment to think about how strange a video chat is. You can see and hear someone, but all the nuance of body language is lost—flattened into two dimensions and reduced in resolution. Conversation starts and stops, unaided by technology cuts and lags. How do you even know when someone is about to speak?
Now take that single moment of video chat and multiply it by sixteen, each tiny square on the screen filled by a student hoping to mentally escape the 2020 pandemic. Norms need to be created so that everyone feels comfortable contributing, and group dynamics have to be explicitly established so no ideas or experiences—indicated sometimes by only the slightest wave—go unshared.
On the surface, a large group video conversation seems unwieldy. It morphs into something entirely new when the meeting happens every weekday for two weeks, pressurized by rapid-fire lectures, readings, and assignments. It’s hard to imagine, but what if—in the midst of a global health crisis and nationwide protests over racial inequality—those sixteen people created bonds so deep and discovered things about themselves so profound that they left the meeting changed? What if they wrote prose so revealing you stole a glimpse into who they are?
If you’re curious, please unMute.
—Summer Intensive Class of 2020
Table of Contents:
For Rob Walker‘s Narrative Strategies for Objects:
Alyssa Blank, “B-F-FitBit“
Danielle Foushée, “What’s in a Mailbox?“
Ian Reagan, “Eight Steps Up“
Marco Rathjen, “The Can Opener“
Marisa Paz, “The Hummingbird Dance“
Rachel Harris-Huffman, “In Appreciation of the Bobby Pin“
Sarah Bonnickson, “Permeable Barriers“
For Karrie Jacobs‘ Engineered Nature:
Caye Burry, “Engineered Nature“
Kate Long, “Under“
Amélie Lamont, “An Ethical Dilemma of Faux-mage“
For Adam Harrison Levy‘s Art of the Interview:
Chrissie Muhr, “Natasha Jen: Craving Diversity—A Messy Process“
Lucie Parker, “Walking America’s Factory Floors with Chris Payne“
For Craig Taylor‘s Speaking of the Streets:
Kim Burgas, “Dialogue“
Mary Yang, “A Pre-Wedding Exchange“
Michelle Duncan, “The Cornologist“
Patricia Madeja, “The Panicked Pandemic Call“