On June 11, the New York chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, hosted “My Dog and Pony: Fresh Blood,” its fifth annual showcase of notable thesis projects by graduates from top design programs in the Northeast. Each graduate was given five minutes to present his or her thesis to an industry audience. Among the 12 participants, four were SVA alumni, making the College the most-represented school in the forum. Their projects all concerned current social and political issues—including immigration, student-loan debt and how we eat today.
First up was Alejandro Largo (MPS 2014 Branding), who documented the stories of 100 immigrants for his Voices Heard project. This collection of first-person accounts illuminates the struggles of those who left everything behind to make better lives for themselves in the U.S.
Next, Alex Todaro (MFA 2014 Interaction Design) talked about Dining Interactions, a series of dinner events exploring how a communal meal can influence the way people relate to one another. He designed several quirky dining tables to provoke different behaviors. One table was rigged to emit a dye whenever someone speaks; a different color for each person shows who’s doing more talking than listening. A tilting table forced diners to pay attention to, and compensate for, each other’s rate of consumption, lest the slower eaters wind up with a lap full of soup. And a table set with an assortment of odd objects in lieu of utensils (syringes, sticks, tubes), gave hungry guests no choice but to engage in group problem-solving.
Also representing SVA were Anne Quito (MFA 2013 Design Criticism), who talked about “designing a country from scratch” (you can read an earlier Close Up post about her work here) and Chiara Bajardi (MFA 2014 Design), who presented a platform for refinancing student loan debt by matching borrowers with investors.
Congratulations to all participating alumni!