A the start of the second MFA Products of Design thesis presentations, aptly named "SE2OND", chair Allan Chochinov welcomes guests, talks about the philosophy and process of the the department's unique approach to the thesis, and provides thanks to the many people who made the projects possible.
Brandon Washington's master's thesis, The Spectacle, is an investigation into Guy Debord's theory of the same name and how it relates to contemporary society. The spectacle is a communication tool that employs fantasy in order to sell the idea of how we should live our lives, and what we should aspire to be.
May Shuchang Sun's master's thesis, Her Sense: Women, Technology and Intervention, is aimed at helping women in the workplace by creating technology that builds confidence. The thesis work grew from her initial question: "How can we build and strengthen the relationship that women have with technology?"
The objective of Lucy Knops' master's thesis, The Void: Finding Value in Nothing, was to reframe the "role of absence" in people's daily lives. She began on a conceptual level by asking simple questions: What if nothing could be something? What if we could add to our lives by taking away more?
Eliz Ayaydin's master's thesis, I Was There When, explores how people deal with traumatic memories-specifically, mental relief following natural disasters. Arguing that "at base, designers make sense of messes," Ayaydin set herself the challenge of making sense of one of the most unexpected and uncontrollable messes there are.
Vidhi Goel's master's thesis, Kona: Changing Perspective on Learning in India, challenges the structure and effectiveness of the current curriculum and public school system in India. She believes that "learning should empower children and liberate them from mental barriers and social crutches."
Steve Hamilton’s master’s thesis, Enough is the New More: Reframing Scarcity to Feel Like Abundance, began with a manifesto of dialectics, eschewing our persistently growth-based metric for success, rejecting the last several centuries of western economic culture that led to the consumerization of happiness in the United States, and offering a more humane and sustainable alternative. His early research centered around a plethora of “wicked problems”—including those pertaining to vastly embedded systemic structures such as energy, materials, transportation, and the design of our cities—and culminated in a set of radical artifacts that speculate on an alternative future.
I'm currently reading a new book on entrepreneurship called An Entrepreneurs Manifesto by Steve Mariotti. He's a bit of a revolutionary when it comes to mentorship. Mentoring has been on my mind lately and the connection is that for those of us that never had a real mentor, especially at an early age, how does this affect us and how does this lack of guidance create trouble down the line of our lives?
Lusha Huang’s master’s thesis, It’s Chinese to me: Luck and Cultural Empathy, explores the disconnect between Chinese an American culture. As a Chinese student in an international design department, Lusha enthusiastically took on the role of messenger—eager to share her country’s tradition and philosophy with others. Her over-arching goal is to build a cultural bridge, fostering understanding between Americans and Chinese. Central to her thesis is the theme of luck, which dates back to ancient China and has always been extremely important to Chinese culture.
I decided to focus my summer research on the experiences of traveling. I’ve always been fascinated by traveling and by exploring different cultures. Also, now that I’m experiencing how it is to live abroad, I'm putting my own culture into perspective. Living here has not only taught me a lot about American culture (and Chinese, and Thai, and Turkish, and so on) but it has also changed how I perceive Brazil and São Paulo just by being distant and looking back with distant eyes.