Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies

Collaborations: MFA CD Blog

Experimental Experiments : Natalie Jeremijenko speaks at Collaborative Design

Adding to the intellectual ecosystem of Collaborative Design, Natalie Jeremijenko visited the Collaborative Design Studios to talk about Experimental Experiments: How to improve environmental health and eat it too.

Her projects are prosthetics for the collective imagination, enriching to public discourse towards the radical. Doing this work has taught her the value in being a non-expert. The strength is in a willingness to do experiments, with fun being the most important tactical strategy. Experiments are not only the realm of the scientist, but part of a participatory democracy.

You are only as persuasive as your representation.

Someone asked how she quantifies impact. Rather than seeking comprehensive data that might demonstrate some proven hypothesis, the value

There’s much greater strength in providing an experience, and looking to anecdotal proof through stories and personal buy-in. When people share their stories, the impact of project is greater.

People aren’t merely rational, and the power of a designer is capturing attention and intrigue through a provocative experience. Data is important, and can be invaluable supporting proof. But attempting to quantify something as elusive as an experience is often a lesser goal. After all, the value of a project needs only one meaningful experience.

The best outcome is creating a public memory of a possible future.

What might it look like to have fast, efficient, emission-free public transportation? Perhaps zip lines transversing a city; a robust network of interconnected buildings. Looking towards existing infrastructure, we can adapt previous methods and practices to evolve to changing needs and technology. For example, the building code states that elevator shafts be isolated from the rest of the building to prevent spread of fire. But with new technology, buildings could harness the passive cooling technique of stack ventilation, while incorporating mechanical louvers that could close off the shaft if fire is detected. Ideas like this call into question a status quo that’s developed to fix problems of the past, but gets stymied by inability to evolve.

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