BRAND LAB 1

DESMA 150A | M 9:00 AM-11:50 AM | BROAD 4250

Prof. Peter Lunenfeld lunenfeld@ucla.edu
Design | Media Arts Department
4252 Broad Art Center
Office Hours Mondays, 12:00-1:00

Teaching Assistant: Kevin Haywood khaywood@ucla.edu

 

The Class:

Professors Peter Lunenfeld and Rebeca Méndez offer a two quarter design media arts course sequence dedicated to the development of design media arts research and strategy in the areas of organization, culture, and identity. This hybrid seminar/studio studies how complex organizations are defined by their public identities, and how those identities can be strategized and designed. This course sequence will further the development of Design Media Arts as both an intellectual and a professional discipline.

The course sequence is offered in Winter and Spring academic terms and is structured to cover the following phases of identity development: research, strategy and planning, communication strategy, implementation guidelines, and design development of specific communication material in all appropriate media: web, print, and environment.

 

Format:

This seminar/studio researches Los Angeles - its history, its present, and its future - and the hybrid cadre of students - artists, designers and critical thinkers from within and outside the major and at both the undergraduate and the graduate level - produce meaningful interventions based upon that research. In the first quarter, Méndez, Lunenfeld and the students collectively conduct research and work to develop positioning and strategy; in the second, collectively they work towards the creation of transmedia publishing initiatives. These intersecting initiatives function as documentation of the research process and findings and proposes the Re-Brand LA! strategy.

This course sequence will further the development of Design Media Arts as both an research and a production discipline. Currently, no undergraduate or graduate course is dedicated to the direct intersections of theory & practice, and research & making in design media arts.

Intellectual Discipline: Original research on the positioning and communication strategy of Los Angeles will yield a rigorous form of cultural history and analysis. Our interest is not merely to further the practices we study, but to employ design media arts and design media research as a means with which to intervene in the social and political life of the city and region. Our methodologies are intrinsically critical and will lead us to understandings of considerable intellectual value to those with a stake in study of organizational culture and identity of urban regions and their intersecting micro-communities.

Design Media Arts Practice: Introduction to design media art methodologies and brand research enables the students to understand how complex organizations are defined by their public identities, and how those identities can be strategized and designed. Students will learn design media arts research methodologies from a range of core disciplines, including sociology, engineering and marketing. Over the two terms of the course they will learn to apply these to the design of identity, community and communication strategy.

 

The Requirements:

This class is predicated on the belief that making is a form of thinking and that research and design are allies. The readings, class discussions, interactions with visitors, field trips, prototyping and demos are all essential features of the class. Attendance and participation are mandatory, you are allowed one excused absence, further absences drop your grade by a quarter point each. Assignments will require both design research and practice, and will be graded as such. Grading: attendance will count for 10%; in class participation 20%; prototypes 30%; final demos 40%. Please let us know of any issues or conflicts before assignments are due, we are reachable by email but cannot guarantee instant response. It is your responsibility to make sure that all class emails reach you.

 

Course Reading:

Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, edited by David Ulin (The Library of America, 2002) + Reader

 

The Academic Expectations:

Plagiarism of any form is a violation of UCLA Student Conduct Code Section 102.01—Academic Dishonesty: http://www.deanofstudents.ucla.edu/conduct.html

Wikipedia is an essential contemporary tool, but using it in academic situations is tricky. Here’s a great Student Wikipedia Use Policy written by Alan Liu from UCSB: http://www.english.ucsb.edu/faculty/ayliu/courses/wikipedia-policy-short.html

 

 

SCHEDULE

RESEARCH: Weeks 1 - 4

Prologue: Los Angeles as Dreamscape

Jan 4 Intro
4 cards LA as Dreamscape
http://discoverlosangeles.com/guides/fun-facts/thats-so-la.html

Jan 6 Boosters & Babbitts
Scan Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona (1884)
http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/ramona-text.htm
Selections, Writing Los Angeles:
Harris Newmark, from Sixty Years in Southern California 1853-1913 (1915)
Lewis Adamic, from Laughing in the Jungle (1932)
Arna Bontemps from God Sends Sunday (1931)

 

Phase 1: Case studies I

Lecture: Sunshine or Noir?
Relevant examples of Los Angeles as branded urban narratives.

Jan 11 Noir LA
Selections, Writing Los Angeles:
Raymond Chandler, Red Wind (1938)
Nathaniel West from Day of the Locust (1939)
Chester Himes from If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945)
Film: Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003)

Jan 13 Sunshine LA
Selections, Writing Los Angeles:
Tom Wolfe, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965)
Rayner Banham from Los Angeles: The Architectures of Four Ecologies (1971)
Jan Morris, The Know-How City (1976)
Lawrence Weschler, L.A. Glows (1995)

 

Phase 2: Definition Research

Jan 18 MLK Holiday

Jan 20 Ethnography, Design Research, Branding
Readings from Brenda Laurel, ed. Design Research: Methods and Perspectives (MIT, 2005):
Peter Lunenfeld, The Design Cluster
Brenda Laurel, Muscular Design
Anne Burdick, Design (As) Research
Lisa Grocott, Speculation, Serendipity and Studio Anybody
Tim Plowman, Ethnography and Critical Design Practice

Jan 25 The City at the Edge of Forever
A Visit from David Ulin
Selections, Writing Los Angeles:
Joan Didion (All, c 1973-1989)
Mike Davis from City of Quartz (1990)
Rubén Martínez, Going Up in L.A. (1989)
Sandra Tsing Loh, Coming Home to Van Nuys (1993)

Scan and Audit:
Los Angeles as a macrohistorical construct
Stories of the city and its micro-communities (fictional and mythological portrayals of type)
The branding of LA from Pueblo to Global Capitol (from orange crate labels to advertising films to governmental websites)

Jan 27 Presentation of Ideational Research Materials

 

Phase 3: Qualitative Methodologies

Ethnography
Interviews with LA historians
Interviews with micro-community stakeholders

 

PROTOTYPING: Weeks 5 - 9

Phase 4: Organization Prototyping

Feb 1 Locative Media, Urban Computing, Info-Aesthetics

Marc Tuters and Kazys Varnelis, Beyond Locative Media http://networkedpublics.org/locative_media/beyond_locative_media
Amanda Williams and Paul Dourish, Imagining the City: The Cultural Dimensions of Urban Computing
Andrea Lau and Andrew Vande Moere, Towards a Model of Information Aesthetics in Information Visualization

Feb 3 Flashpoints

Marc Tuters and Kazys Varnelis, Beyond Locative Media http://networkedpublics.org/locative_media/beyond_locative_media
Amanda Williams and Paul Dourish, Imagining the City: The Cultural Dimensions of Urban Computing
Andrea Lau and Andrew Vande Moere, Towards a Model of Information Aesthetics in Information Visualization

Feb 8 Social media, crowd sourcing, DIY

Clay Shirky, from Here Comes Everybody (Excerpt)
James Surowieki, from The Wisdom of Crowds (Excerpt)
Lisa Anne Auerbach, d. d. i. y. (Don't Do It Yourself)

Feb 10 The Urban Persona

What would LA's Facebook page look like? What would the city tweet? Which bands would be on its Myspace? Would the city use rss feeds, build its own Web page from scratch, employ templates, use already existing emoticons or invent its own?

Micro-communities research: A group is given an LA neighborhood and its micro-communities to research. Specific questions are to be answered with regards to services offered, audience, competition, etc.

Flashpoints research: A group is given two central points of political/social/aesthetic conflict to thoroughly research from the history of Los Angeles. Specific questions are to be answered. Students are asked to blog communication materials generated by their findings.

Multi-Micro: Using the findings from the micro-communities research, each student creates the most effective hybrid organization. The information is presented in two methods: as an outline and as a diagram.

Flash Cards: Using the "Flashpoints" research as a foundation, create "Flash Cards" which historicize, contextualize and animate political/social/aesthetic flashpoints from LA's history, making them speak to contemporary micro-communities. The information is presented in two methods: as an outline and as a diagram.

Macro Urban Branding: Organize into three groups. Using the individual "multi-micro" as foundation, each team creates a "macro urban branding." These results represent the ideal hybrid from the all the individual's research. The information is presented in two methods: as an outline and as a diagram.

Feb 15 Presidents Day Holiday

Feb 17 Case Study: Gidget on the Couch

Visit with Matt Nourse
Peter Lunenfeld, Gidget on the Couch: Freud, Dora (No, Not That Dora) and the Secret Austro-Hungarian Roots of Surfing

RESEARCH DOCUMENTATION: Weeks 8 - 10

Phase 5: Individual Research and Prototyping Documentation

The quarter's final presentation is comprised of all the research, findings and possible scenarios. This documentation is presented in three different media: one, digital as part of the class website, two, digital in a CD, and three, a hard copy in the form of a book.

Feb 22 Protyping I

Feb 24 Protyping II

Mar 1 Protyping III

Mar 3 Protyping IV

Mar 8 Protyping V

Mar 10 Demo Day

Presentation order:
Flashpoints group
Micro-communities group
Break
Tech group
Wrap-up