Art Center College of Design to be Showcased in First-Ever "Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City"

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The Graduate Media Design program at Art Center College of Design will be among the international designers, architects, filmmakers, corporations and other educational institutions exploring the “New Urban Lifestyle” as part of Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City (LTDW). LTDW celebrates the power and energy of cutting edge design and technology emerging from Japan and its intersection with current trends materializing in Los Angeles.

Composite of images representing Sputniko!, Jon Rafman and Keiichi Matsuda from "The Metropolis of Me" Symposium

"The Metropolis of Me: New Narratives of Urban Interface" Tim Durfee and Ben Hooker in conversation with (represented from left to right): Sputniko!, Jon Rafman and Keiichi Matsuda

To be partnered with one of the most cutting edge design programs in the country is definitely something we value greatly.

The Graduate Media Design program at Art Center College of Design will be among the international designers, architects, filmmakers, corporations and other educational institutions exploring the “New Urban Lifestyle” as part of Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City (LTDW). LTDW celebrates the power and energy of cutting edge design and technology emerging from Japan and its intersection with current trends materializing in Los Angeles.

Anne Burdick, Chair of Art Center’s Grad Media Design program, said, “Little Tokyo Design Week is a great opportunity for the city of Los Angeles and for Art Center. We look forward to participating alongside world class designers, artists, and creative thinkers and engaging the public in an exciting dialogue about the future of our cities and the future of design.”

“We are honored to be working with Art Center College of Design,” states Hitoshi Abe (Principal, Atelier Hitoshi Abe) LTDW Chair and Director for the UCLA Paul I and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies and the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. “To be partnered with one of the most cutting edge design programs in the country is definitely something we value greatly and we look forward to their amazing line-up of speakers and exhibits exploring the ‘New Urban Lifestyle’ of the future.”

Taking place July 14—17, LTDW is a free, four-day public festival that will span the geographic breadth of Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles with a series of museum exhibitions, student installations, public happenings and temporary galleries in the form of shipping containers placed throughout the public plazas of Little Tokyo. Under the auspices of Art Center’s Grad Media Design program, the College will produce three separate projects for LTDW, based on the festival’s theme, “New Urban Lifestyle,” which explores how design and technology will shape our lives in cities of the future.

“The near future is certain to bring many major changes—both positive and negative—to our lives in cities,” said Tim Durfee, core faculty and Director of "amp: Projects in Media and Architecture" within the Grad Media Design program. “Yet, for all of the speculative exuberance applied to imagining these futures, we believe many habits of thought often prevail which fundamentally inhibit a substantive evolution of what actually makes up a ‘city,’ and what roles they should play in the lives of their inhabitants.”

Speaking about the College’s participation in LTDW, Mr. Durfee added, “Grad Media Design emphasizes an approach that responds to issues without the assumption of a particular type or mode of outcome, and—similarly—to resist the adaptation of common assumptions for topics of technological or social concern. This ethic is in evidence for both our 'PLAN C' installation and 'Metropolis of Me' symposium, where we attempt to approach familiar topics from somewhat novel directions in order to reveal overlooked opportunities or implications.”

The three projects being produced by Grad Media Design for LTDW include:

PLAN C is an installation and visual essay by Mr. Durfee and Sean Donahue, founding faculty member of Grad Media Design's new Media Design Matters track. In the wake of Japan’s recent earthquake, tsunami and near nuclear meltdown, PLAN C presents several “re-thinks” of common assumptions about disaster planning: from long term hoarding of food and water in urban infrastructure; to safe, intentionally combustible hillside neighborhoods; to “Friendly Looting”—managed access to food suppliers in the event of disaster.

Mr. Durfee, along with multimedia designer and core Grad Media Design faculty member Ben Hooker, is organizing a symposium examining The Metropolis of Me: New Narratives of Urban Interface. Mr. Durfee and Mr. Hooker will moderate a discussion wherein three emerging voices in art and design will examine a new form of urban existence—one in which computers, cameras, geo-locators and micro-bloggers are producing customizable virtual cities spatially and informationally coincident and layered upon physical cities of old. Panelists include artist/designer Sputniko!, architect/interface designer Keiichi Matsuda and artist Jon Rafman, known for his remarkable curated images from Google Maps with Street View. The symposium will be held on July 14 at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum.

Alongside student work from UCLA, USC and SCI-Arc, Art Center Grad Media Design students Alex Braidwood and Julianne Weiss will display their 2011 thesis work, Listening Instruments and Myriad Accounts, in a Little Tokyo storefront. Listening Instruments is a set of devices that transform the relationship between people and the noise in their environment. Myriad Accounts is a functioning real time reading and writing system that expand the palette of methods with which happenings may be recorded through text.

Little Tokyo Design Week is currently seeking sponsorship for the July 2011 festival. This event offers sponsors and individuals a unique opportunity for brand exposure and positioning, including, but not limited to, PR, logo placement in online and print materials, and live event integration. For in-kind, media, and general sponsorship inquiries, please contact info(at)ltdesignweek(dot)com.

About Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City (LTDW)
Commencing July 14-17, 2011, Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City (LTDW) celebrates the power and energy of cutting edge design and technology emerging from Japan and its intersection with current trends materializing in Los Angeles. LTDW will present a series of programs that integrate Little Tokyo’s Big Three cultural institutions (Japanese American National Museum (JANM), Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA), community partners, retailers, and restaurants and will engage local and international designers, artists, architects, filmmakers, corporations, and students from the Southern California region to explore possible scenarios for a “New Urban Lifestyle.” Produced in collaboration with Community Arts Resources (CARS).

About Graduate Media Design
Art Center’s program in Graduate Media Design offers a two- or three-year Master of Fine Arts curriculum that helps ambitious designers from a variety of backgrounds become design leaders and researchers in emerging fields. The established Media Design Projects track prepares designers for a world in which virtually anything—from a new material to a global network—may be the next medium or platform of communication. The new Media Design Matters track, a groundbreaking collaboration with Art Center’s Designmatters Department, prepares designers to create working communication platforms within a social and humanitarian context for real-world partners.

About Art Center College of Design
Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, Art Center College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. Art Center offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of art and design disciplines, as well as public programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for its ties to industry and professional rigor, Art Center is also the first design school to receive the United Nations' Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status, providing students with opportunities to create design-based solutions for humanitarian and nonprofit agencies around the world. During the College's 80-year history, Art Center's alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live, and important issues in our society. For current news and events about the College, visit Art Center’s blog, Dotted Line.

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