January 9: Nicholas de Monchaux, "Fashioning Apollo"
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EST)
Wednesday, January 9, 6:30 p.m.
MFA Design Criticism Department
School of Visual Arts
136 West 21 Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10011
Nicholas de Monchaux, “Fashioning Apollo”
Please join us at the SVA MFA Design Criticism department for the first lecture in the Spring 2013 series, a presentation by Nicholas de Monchaux, architect, urban designer, theorist, and author. Stay after for a reception and a chance to chat further with Nicholas and to mingle with D-Crit faculty, alums, and students. The event is open to the public, but registration is required.
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface in July of 1969, they wore 21-layer fabric-and-latex spacesuits crafted by seamstresses taken from the assembly line of Playtex, maker of bras and girdles. Architect, urban designer, and theorist Nicholas de Monchaux will tell the story of the twenty-one-layer spacesuit, and how it relates to, among other things, eighteenth-century androids, Christian Dior’s New Look, Atlas missiles, cybernetics and cyborgs, latex, JFK’s carefully cultivated image, the CBS lunar broadcast soundstage, NASA’s Mission Control, and the applications of Apollo-style engineering to city planning.) de Monchaux presents history as urgent criticism, relevant to contemporary practice. The suit is less an object than an object lesson: it tells us about redundancy and interdependence and about the distinctions between natural and man-made complexity; it teaches us to know the virtues of adaptation and to see the future as a set of possibilities rather than a scripted scenario.
Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect, urban designer, and theorist. As well as directing his Oakland-based design practice, he is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Berkeley. de Monchaux is the author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an architectural and urban history of the Apollo Spacesuit, winner of the Eugene Emme award from the American Astronautical Society. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a designer for Michael Hopkins & Partners in London, and Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in New York. de Monchaux's work has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Macdowell Colony, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Smithsonian Institution. In 2011, he was named Michael Kalil fellow of the School of Constructed Environments, Parsons the New School for Design.
When & Where
MFA Design Research, School of Visual Arts, http://designresearch.sva.edu
The SVA MA in Design Research is a pioneering one-year graduate program that trains students to research, analyze, and evaluate design and its social and environmental implications. Students study with some of the best design writers and thinkers of our time. They learn how to curate an exhibition, produce a radio segment, launch a blog, edit a publication, host a lecture series, and stage a major conference.
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City is an established leader and innovator in the education of artists. From its inception in 1947, the faculty has been comprised of professionals working in the arts and art-related fields. SVA provides an environment that nurtures creativity, inventiveness and experimentation, enabling students to develop a strong sense of identity and a clear direction of purpose.
On Tuesday evenings at Design Research we present lectures by the most thoughtful and provocative writers, editors, designers, and curators practicing today in the interrelated fields of design, architecture and urban planning. Selected to supplement our curriculum with their original methods and alternative viewpoints, these speakers inspire and challenge our students. Our students, in turn, through the discussion they lead, help illuminate the concerns and priorities of design criticism today.
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