Already well known for both the excellence of its School of Fine & Performing Arts (whose world-class metalworking program was the first American institute ever invited to exhibit at Munich’s International Design Museum) and the innovation of its Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (whose 3D-printed prosthetic hand for a small boy made big news in 2014), SUNY-New Paltz has created a new program that morphs the two disciplines under a single rubric. The college is calling it FUEL (upper-case despite the fact that it’s not an acronym), and launching it with something called New Paltz Design Week, which runs from March 28 to April 1. There will be lectures, workshops, films and exhibitions on a diverse range of topics fusing contemporary design principles, modern engineering practices and new technologies.
“FUEL’s mission is to connect our current students, alumni, faculty, staff and the college’s surrounding community with notable guest artists and scholars in the arts,” says Fine and Performing Arts dean Jeni Mokren. More than 15 design events and exhibitions will be presented on campus featuring “an incredible roster of leading design professionals and teams.” Presenters and workshop leaders will include pioneering digital design and fabrication team Nervous System; renowned artist and scholar Lev Manovich; James Grady and Brian James from Fathom Information Design; Kia Motors senior designer Michael Torpey; and Shapeways “design evangelist” Lauren Slowik, in addition to a collective of design-focused college faculty.
Highlights include “Visualization, Big Data and Cultural Patterns,” a lecture by CUNY professor/ Software Studies Initiative director Manovich, on Monday, March 28 at 3:30 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building, and “digital gardeners” Jessica Rosenkranz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, a/k/a Nervous System, explaining their wearable and non-wearable products based on nature’s growth patterns on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 100. The week culminates with a “Slide Slam” on Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m., in the Fine Arts Building Rotunda. It will consist of a rapid-fire sequence of exhibitions by some of the Hudson Valley’s top designers, emceed by Sophi Kravitz, engineer and interaction designer at MIX-E, and sponsored by the Hudson Valley Tech Meet-up.
Two evenings of film have also been planned for Design Week: one focusing on design and data, the other on materiality and design in print and industrial contexts. Four exhibitions will be on view on campus: “Made for You: New Directions in Contemporary Design” at the Dorsky Museum, “The Design Process Made Visible” at the Sojourner Truth Library, “Ceramic Design for Serial Production” at the Fine Arts Building and a student design exhibition in the McKenna Theatre lobby.
For a complete list of New Paltz Design Week events and additional information, visit www.newpaltz.edu/fuel.