Paola Antonelli, senior curator of Design and Architecture, MoMA; Bjarke Ingels, BIG’s founder and architect; Olympia Kazi, executive director, Van Alen Institute; John Seabrook, The New Yorker writer; Linda Tischler, senior editor, Fast Company; and Rob Walker, The New York Times Magazine contributor.
Adam Harrison Levy is a writer and freelance documentary film producer and director. He has worked on a wide range of historical and arts films, primarily for the BBC. He was the U.S. producer for Selling the Sixties, a cultural history of the world of advertising in early 1960s New York, as well as for the BBC films Close Up, about the artist Chuck Close, and David Ogilvy: Original Mad Man. He has produced and directed countless interviews with a wide range of actors, writers, musicians and film-makers for the BBC and Channel 4.
Keynote: Rob Walker, “Imaginary Objects and Fictional Critiques”
Objects tell stories, and we all tell stories about our objects. But not all stories are equal, and not all stories are true. What role, then, might imagination, speculation, and outright fiction play in understanding, critiquing, and even influencing, our very real material culture? The answer is that these strategies are not merely useful, but vital. That is a strange assertion for a professional journalist to make, but perhaps only a journalist focused on design and marketing can truly appreciate how full of fiction the marketplace already is. The trick is in learning to distinguish among imaginary claims and their motivations. And perhaps, even appropriating the power of the speculative: Using fiction to reveal, using the hypothetical to provoke, using imagination to engage.
Rob Walker is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, and the author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House, 2008) and Letters From New Orleans (Garrett County Press, 2005). He is the co-founder, with Joshua Glenn, of Significant Objects (book version forthcoming in 2011 from Fantagraphics); co-founder, with Ellen Susan and G.K. Darby, of The Hypothetical Development Organization; and founding collaborator of the Unconsumption project. Walker is often called on as an expert commentator on the subject of material culture and branding, notably in the documentary Objectified. He lives in Savannah, GA.
“Speculatively Speaking: The Future of Design Criticism”
A panel discussion about the priorities, possibilities and impact of design criticism, featuring MoMA’s senior curator of design and architecture Paola Antonelli; BIG’s founder and architect Bjarke Ingels; Van Alen Institute’s executive director Olympia Kazi; The New Yorker’s John Seabrook; Fast Company’s senior editor Linda Tischler; and New York Times Magazine contributor Rob Walker, moderated by documentary film producer Adam Harrison Levy.
Panel discussion begins at 6:30 pm.
Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art. Since 1994, Paola has curated the following landmark exhibitions: “Design and the Elastic Mind,” “Achille Castiglioni: Design!;” “Humble Masterpieces;” “Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design; “SAFE: Design Takes on Risk;” “Thresholds: Contemporary Design from the Netherlands;” “Projects 66: Campana/Ingo Maurer:” and “Workspheres.” For these accomplishments she received the 2006 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Design Mind Award. She was also appointed senior fellow at the Royal College of Art, London and given an honorary doctorate by Kingston University. Prior to joining the staff at MoMA, Paola was the editor of Abitare and a contributing editor to Domus. She writes for publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Harvard Design, Metropolis, Nest, and Paper.
Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect and creator of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, founded in 2005. Ingels’ portfolio includes the Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, 8 House in Copenhagen, the new Danish National Maritime Museum in Elsinore, hotel projects in Norway, and a museum overlooking Mexico City. Last fall Ingels opened the New York office of BIG and recently unveiled plans for a residential complex on West 57th Street in Manhattan in development by the Durst Organization. An outspoken architect who addresses issues of sustainability and social responsibility, Ingels has lectured at TED and appeared on CNN. His manifesto Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution is available in varying formats: a book, a 130-metre-long comic strip exhibit, and an iPad application.
Olympia Kazi, a critic and curator of architecture, is the Executive Director of the Van Alen Institute in New York. Previously, Kazi has served as Junior Curator at the Milan Triennale, Fellow of Architecture and Urban Studies at the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Director of the Institute for Urban Design, New York. “Urban Design Week,” her last project at the Institute for Urban Design, was a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2009 Cultural Innovation Fund. Kazi writes regularly on contemporary architecture and urbanism in publications such as Wound, The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Design, and the Skira Yearbook.
John Seabrook is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His articles have addressed a range of issues, including technology, genealogy, design and natural history. He is the author of Deeper: My Two-Year Odyssey in Cyberspace (Simon & Schuster, 1997), Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing the Marketing of Culture (Knopf, 2000), and Flash of Genius and Other True Stories of Invention (St. Martin’s, 2008). His work has also appeared in Harper’s, The Nation, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, and The Village Voice. He has taught narrative nonfiction writing at Princeton University and lives in New York City.
Linda Tischler is a senior editor at Fast Company, where she writes about the intersection of business and design. She is responsible for the magazine’s “Master’s of Design” issue, which celebrates the people in the forefront of design thinking. She also oversees design coverage and blogs on FastCompany.com, where she launched the site’s team of expert design bloggers. In 2006, Tischler won the Society of Professional Journalists’ top award for feature writing. She has also written on art and design for Metropolitan Home, the Boston Globe, Better Homes and Gardens, and Maybourne Style, and held editing and writing jobs at Boston Magazine, the Boston Herald and Microsoft’s sidewalk.com.