Art As Design: Power Trilogy
(2019 - 2021)

Letterpress: Obsolescence

“Obsolescence never meant the end of anything, it's just the beginning.” – Marshall McLuhan

Assume your role a vestige of an inexpressible past! Free yourself from chasing latest tech trends! Relish in the obsolete! Call out the planned obsolescence economy! Examine what is timeless: then and now! Through writing, looking and making as well as weekly readings from Cleeton, Pitkin and Cornwell to David Jury, Obsolescence asks you to get technical and view technique as a mode of criticism. Through examining the work of organizations such as Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA), we will question the boundaries of a graphic design education and practice. Topics include: craft as message, publishing as communication and obstruction as a mode of inquiry.

Studio in Graphic Design: Trickster

During our first semester we will discus the identity of artist performing the role of a designer. How is the role of a graphic designer expanded or limited? How has it historically been portrayed? Where were the definitions created? Who was allowed to perform this role in the past? To what end? What are the territorial wars between art and design really about? We will examine the technological and cultural shifts that led to the present day definition of graphic designer, especially examining the relationship between design culture and the Western world. We will examine thriving design cultures that have been omitted by Western historians to draw attention to the interrelated nature of design systems with systems of power. The assessment format of this semester is oral defense. Traditional critiques are substituted with collective making and organizing assignments.

Studio in Graphic Design: Pollyanna

The second semester we will discuss the skillset artists as designers bring to their work to function in late capitalist business models. We will examine the relationship between graphic design and American capitalism, explore the Nordic model and reflect on the relationship of graphic design and state building. Students will be called to investigate the characteristics necessary for artists to succeed as designers/problem solvers under the various models. What are some common characteristics of the role of a graphic designer? How can performing the role of a designer be used as a critical tool? What are the opportunities to inhabit the problem-solving aspect of graphic design in a way that achieves critical and subversive results?

Video: student showcase based on the open archives