UIC School of Design 2018–2019 Public Seminar Series
Designers and educators Jess Giffin and Jim TerMeer are partners in the product design studio Giffin’Termeer and faculty members at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where they teach design, fashion, and print media. Their work spans the commercial and cultural and focusses on small scale objects, including lightweight lighting, growing products, and 3D scanning. Jess and Jim have exhibited internationally at the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Tokyo Design Week, the Cheongju Craft Biennale in South Korea, Espace EDF Electra in Paris, the Seoul Design Olympiad, and the Design Biennale in St. Étienne, France. They will visit CADA to discuss the boundaries and overlaps between design and craft, investigating contemporary positions in design that incorporate craft as a form of critical design practice.
The UIC School of Design public seminar series serves as a research platform for the school’s MDES program, stimulating broad intellectual inquiry about the values guiding the designer by promoting discourse across industrial and graphic design.
Thursday, November 29
Architecture and Design Studios
845 West Harrison Street, Chicago
This event is free and open to the public.
UIC School of Design 2018–19 public seminar series
This year’s public seminar series explores the boundaries and overlaps between design and craft, investigating contemporary positions in design that incorporate craft as a form of critical design practice.
At a time when the reindustrialization of America is attracting growing interest, craftsmanship is making a counter-resurgence. Contemporary designers incorporate artisanal processes, materials, and the flaws of the handmade in their work, while museums are demonstrating a renewed interest in “feminine” subjects such as fiber and ceramics. Technology enables artisanal practices — 3D printing allows designers to make, customize, and repair on their own; and to serve as editor, publisher, and distributor.
While craft skills and processes have often been integral to industrial production, this revival may reflect a response to the negative consequences of modernization, globalization, and abusive labor conditions in the developing world, as it did for the Arts and Crafts movement and the early years of the Bauhaus. Or perhaps it provides an antidote to the pervasiveness of mechanistic production and the digital world, allowing space for disciplinary skill, obsessive focus, and what sociologist Richard Sennett calls “the special human condition of being engaged.” Whether a form of cultural and economic resistance or an essential human value, craft’s current prominence suggests a reevaluation of the importance of artisanal practices, and a renewed emphasis on the ethical value of doing a job well.