Illustration from online learning in the class of James Lipovac, adjunct associate professor of Foundation Art (via @PrattFoundation/Instagram)
As the spring semester shifted to distance learning, Pratt Institute’s students, faculty, and staff have innovated to continue learning together while staying apart. Here is a visual tour of just a few select highlights from the vibrant work happening across the virtual campus.
Industrial Design Studio II
Examples of the “Isolation Chairs” made by students in Industrial Design Studio II (via @PrattInstitute/Instagram)
Responding to a call by Spanish designer Max Enrich to make tiny chairs out of objects found in self-isolation, the students in Industrial Design Studio II, led by Amanda Huynh, assistant professor of Industrial Design, created chair models out of fruit peels, packaging, batteries, old iPhones, and other household detritus as a design exercise in resourcefulness.
Mail art by Devin M. Alexander, BFA Fine Arts ‘20, created for Drawing IV (via @PrattInstitute/Instagram)
Fine Arts Drawing students have engaged in a mail art project to reflect on self-isolation, distance learning, and the unexpected changes in their final semester. The students have each mailed an artwork to Benjamin La Rocco, adjunct assistant professor of Fine Arts, and he is responding with new mail, often using elements from the original work to create an artistic conversation.
Screenshot of the Emotional Design virtual classroom (courtesy Pamela Pavliscak)
Students in the Emotional Design class led by Pamela Pavliscak, visiting assistant professor in the School of Information, were already exploring the emotional experience of technology before virtual interactions became central to our day-to-day lives. In their projects on empathetic communication, many shifted their focus to explore how technology can alleviate anxiety, ways apps could offer companionship on virtual tours, and how we engage with bots that emulate empathy.
Rethinking public space in “Future Publics” (via School of Architecture)
Undergraduate Architecture students in the degree project section “Future Publics,” taught by Adjunct Associate Professor Cathryn Dwyre and Visiting Assistant Professor Evan Tribus, with writing instruction by Pierre Alexandre de Looz, have spent the past year considering the future of public space in the context of climate change and other global crises. With the outbreak of COVID-19, their work in this year-long studio continues to progress with new questions on public space in a pandemic now present in their discussions.
Disaster Design and Resilience
Online learning in the “Disaster Design and Resilience” course (courtesy Ignacio Urbina)
In the first part of the semester, graduate students in the “Disaster Design and Resilience” course led by Ignacio Urbina, professor of Industrial Design, focused their research on natural disasters in collaboration with the EAPD School of Arts and Design in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While their visit to Puerto Rico to visit sites impacted by Hurricane Maria was interrupted, they continue to work online, with the presence of COVID-19 now making their work in resilience in the face of adversity even more urgent.
Light, Color, and Design Lab
Foundation student Gabby de Castro-Olano’s overhead view of her workroom created for the Light, Color, and Design Lab (via @PrattFoundation/Instagram)
Students in the Light, Color, and Design Lab led by Leslie Roberts, professor of Foundation Art, have created overhead views of where they are now or the places they miss through drawing, collage, animation, painting, and other media.
Writing and Tutorial Center
The Writing and Tutorial Center helping students online with their thesis projects (courtesy Writing and Tutorial Center)
During Spring Break, the Writing and Tutorial Center went online and has continued to help students with their thesis projects, navigating video chat and live documents to make their arguments, research, and words compelling from afar.
Immersive Sound Design
Image from Nicole Schiulaz’s “Coronachles: My Story” (via Soundcloud)
The changes in the semester happened when the students in the Immersive Sound Design class, part of the Game Design curriculum in Pratt’s Associate Degree Programs, were about to work on a weeks-long sonic narrative project. Led by Visiting Instructor Pat Noecker, they used the skills they had learned in storytelling, sound design, and production to craft audio stories on their personal experiences in COVID-19.
Architecture and Magic
Rethinking perspectives in Architecture and Magic (via School of Architecture)
Students in the “Architecture and Magic” seminar, led by Michele Gorman, adjunct associate professor of Undergraduate Architecture, and Adam Elstein, adjunct assistant professor of Undergraduate Architecture, have met the challenge of moving architectural reviews online. This has presented opportunities to think beyond traditional presentations of physical models and drawings to explorations of online video, SketchFab, and interactive 360-degree immersive experiences.
Design Product, Environment, and Materials
Student Varun Mundra’s “Cradle to Cradle” diagram on pinball machines (courtesy Varun Mundra)
As undergraduate Communications Design students have continued their studies in the Design Product, Environment, and Materials class led by Visiting Assistant Professor Cristina Gabriele, they’ve found their work on “Cradle to Cradle Diagrams” to be especially relevant in a moment when design practices can be more considerate and responsive to ecology. These design systems consider the entire lifecycle of an object and how that process can protect and support ecosystems.
Pratt Young Scholars
Drawing by Yasmmine Yoon created as part of Pratt Young Scholars (via @PrattInstitute/Instagram)
Pratt Young Scholars—a program for highly motivated New York City public high school students in the Center for Art, Design, and Community Engagement K-12—has also transitioned to online learning. In a recent session of “Drawing the Object,” Adjunct Assistant Professor Jonathan Peck asked students to draw a window or open door and focus on the value difference between the inside and outside spaces.
Undergraduate Architecture Rome Program
The virtual classroom of the UA Rome Program (courtesy Frederick Biehle)
After seven weeks in Italy, the Undergraduate Architecture (UA) Rome Program was suddenly cut short by the outbreak of COVID-19. They initially planned to continue their studies in New York, then experienced another radical shift as the entire Institute moved to distance learning. Using the knowledge base gained during the first part of the semester in Rome, students have continued to assemble online, with faculty members creatively working on virtual presentations and Google Earth explorations that would in other times have been walking tours, freehand sketching classes led from home, and a final review that will be attended virtually by Italian architects and professors.
Fashion Design III
Fashion Design III students experimented with creating work with available material (via @PrattFashion/Instagram)
As part of the Fashion Design III design studio, Yoon Chang, visiting assistant professor of Fashion Design, asked students to create a sculpture, accessory, or other object using material available in their present living space that relates to the creative process of their practice.
French language class
Incorporating the pandemic into French language pedagogy (courtesy Marielle Pelissero)
Students in the French language class of Marielle Pelissero, visiting assistant professor of humanities and media studies, have been collaborating remotely on one-minute videos responding to the pandemic. Called “Les bons côtés du confinement,” the videos involve working together with one student writing the script, one recording the audio, one interpreting what they understand of the audio, and finally one writing down the subtitles in French.
Drawing a self-portrait in 25 parts in the Graduate Drawing class (via Fine Arts)
Students in Professor Langdon Graves’s Graduate Drawing class have created self-portraits in 25 parts in their distance learning, with results including ink mixed with hand sanitizer, depictions of life at home, and even an Animal Crossing avatar.
Writing Women Architects on Film
View of remote teaching from Dale Cohen, visiting associate professor of Undergraduate Architecture (via School of Architecture)
While spring break was planned to be a major stage of film production for the “Writing Women Architects on Film” Undergraduate Architecture seminar led by Visiting Associate Professor Dale Cohen, the students have quickly adapted their processes, whether recreating footage they would have shot or using found images to create similar content. As they did on campus, they still end each class by collectively viewing films, including a recent selection on the Bauhaus.
Graduate Interior Design Foundation Studio
Noguchi.REMOTE on Instagram
Renaming their project from Noguchi.DUMBO to Noguchi.REMOTE, the Graduate Interior Design Foundation Studio is using Zoom meetings and an Instagram account for students to share their work on imagining a space for the Noguchi Museum in DUMBO, Brooklyn, so they can see each other's progress just as they would walking by their desks on campus. They are also encouraged to use what they have around the house to continue physical, analogue exploration of their ideas before tackling them on digital platforms.
Casting and Moldmaking
Remote moldmaking using household materials (via @PrattFineArt/Instagram)
Using Jell-O, ice, and paper, Visiting Assistant Professors of Fine Arts Blake Hiltunen and Naomi Safran-Hon are bringing moldmaking and casting into remote learning, innovatively using the resources available to achieve their learning outcomes and demonstrate creative thinking.