thoughts on music, design and literature

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Art Center's Graduate Showcase

We went to the Art Center College of Design's year-end graduate showcase last Friday night: me, my actress friend Jessica Quinn Donaghy, and my graphic designer girlfriend, who was an alum of the school (and former valedictorian, I might add). We spent three hours browsing through the portfolios of Art Center's graduate students--various disciplines on show included graphic design, motion graphics, transportation design, product design, environmental design, and many others.

I was most impressed by the environmental design work. This may be because my own particular design fetish has to do with furniture and interior design, but really, some of the work on hand was pretty phenomenal. One grad had an underwater theme to her work: lamps made up to look like jellyfish were suspended from the ceiling and attached to the wall.


The transportation design students were clearly very skilled, but after awhile I got tired of seeing The Car Of The Future everywhere I went. Perhaps if I understood the nuances of what made good trans-design, I would have a better appreciation for what I was looking at. Instead, it all looked like a bunch of car junkies wet dreams.


The product design room had some interesting work. This one in particular caught my eye, for obvious reasons:


It's an electric slide bass. There's a handle on the top of the neck with a clamp that presses against the strings. The bassist slides his or her hands back and forth to modulate the pitch. An interesting concept, except that it's completely counter-intuitive for any bassist to put his hand on the *top* of the neck. All bassists move around the neck with their left hand on the bottom--sort of akin to the motion of pumping a shotgun. Add to that the fact that if you have your hand above the neck, and slide the clamp all the way to the high register, you put your wrist in an extremely awkward, potentially painful position.

What ever happened to form follows function?

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