PSFA Faculty Drive Innovation During the 2024 World Design Capital

Monday, March 25, 2024

Presentation ahead of the World Design Capital between San Diego-Tijuana
Presentation ahead of the World Design Capital between San Diego-Tijuana.

The 2024 World Design Capital San Diego/Tijuana is described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the future of our region through the power of design. 

As a result, San Diego State University Faculty in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts have taken on projects that align with this mission, demonstrating a commitment to innovation and collaboration across disciplines and borders. 

These projects have the potential to not only enhance the built environment but also foster community engagement and mutual understanding.

The designation of San Diego/Tijuana as the 2024 World Design Capital represents a significant opportunity for innovation, collaboration, and positive change, and the involvement of academic institutions like SDSU underscores the importance of education and research in driving progress and shaping the future of our communities.

Current PSFA 2024 World Design Capital projects include:

La Frontera

Kerianne Quick in collaboration with the Mingei International Museum and the Tijuana Cultural Center

The transborder contemporary jewelry exhibition, La Frontera, explores the complexity of the U.S./Mexico border and what it represents as a physical reality, geopolitical construction, and state of being through the medium of jewelry  - a universal communication tool.

Worn to visibly adorn the body, jewelry is inherently performative. As personal tokens, these objects are suggestive of hidden aspects of the body that wears them. Through this external/internal relationship, we can consider the surface of the body itself a border, making it a uniquely intimate and personal platform to explore themes such as home life, migration, landscape, and identity.

La Frontera features over 90 works from contemporary jewelry artists from diverse backgrounds, including 24 artists who were born, raised, live, or work along the U.S./Mexico border region. Challenging the conventions of traditional jewelry forms, materials, and function, each artist redefines jewelry itself as they explore the symbolic and material significance of the borderlands and the stories they tell of geography, existence, and desire. Exquisitely crafted, these objects are talismans of journey and place. They are stories that are worn.  

La Frontera runs through August 4, 2024 at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

"Temporary Paradise?" @ 50 and Beyond

Bruce Appleyard with Jim Brown

"Temporary Paradise?" @ 50 and Beyond took place on March 16, 2024 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “Temporary Paradise?” by Donald Appleyard and Kevin Lynch, and to chart a new vision for our binational region’s climate, watershed, and coastal resiliency.

A who’s who of experts, planners, and urban designers gathered at San Diego State University to discuss ways to guide future transnational planning and design in the San Diego/Tijuana region amid our current global climate crisis.

This daylong interactive event was open to anyone with an interest in binational planning, watershed and climate action plans, and coastal and inland resiliency, among other topics. 

On the Line: Students from the Borderlands & La Frontera

Associate Professors Kerianne Quick and Adam Manley and Assistant Professor Iren Tete’s

The Mingei International Museum and the Centro Cultural Tijuana will simultaneously present the cross-border exhibition La Frontera. Featuring jewelry designers/artists from the border and beyond, the artists featured in La Frontera have created work centered on issues and experiences relevant to border life. Inspired by the La Frontera exhibition students at SDSU, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, University of Texas El Paso, and Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez are using a shared assignment brief to make work based on this theme from their perspectives as part of thematic classwork lead by faculty across the Applied Design, Craft, and Plastic Arts areas. 

Students will have the opportunity to submit their classwork for consideration in a juried exhibition. Accepted works will be exhibited at SDSU's University Art Gallery from mid-May to mid-June.  The primary goal of this project is to connect students to relevant cultural programming in San Diego and Tijuana and to highlight the voices of the exceptional student artists, craftspeople, and designers of the border region.  

Material Witness

Adam Manley’s project with Kerianne Quick

Material Witness is an exhibition featuring four designer/craftspeople, based in the borderlands, whose creative practices uniquely spotlight the transformational and narrative potential of their materials, capturing fleeting moments in time. Harnessing the unique properties of clay, glass, wood, and metal, these craft practitioners create works that capture provocative moments in their material’s lifetime as they shift from one state into another, refract and filter light, or turn inside out. Material Witness explores sustainable and environmentally-conscious strategies for object making, pointing to relevant and timely issues of natural resource use and management, land occupation, nostalgia, and escapism. 

The objectives are to promote material-specific design practitioners in the San Diego/Tijuana region and explore material knowledge and material-centered practices as a sustainable design strategy. The anticipated impact is to raise the profile of the four exhibitors and to create a perspective shift for the viewer.

Each of the four participating artists is tied to the region, and each uses their creative practices to directly or indirectly explore issues relevant to the greater borderlands. Material Witness will impact the region by creating awareness of these relevant environmental issues through craft and design. Three of the four exhibiting artists are alumnae of the SDSU MFA program: Brandon Seacrest, Luciano Pimienta, and Leslie Shershow. Hiromi Takizawa is the fourth artist and is a faculty member at Cal State Fullerton, based in Orange County. 

Bi-national Recyclable Sculpture Project

Lisa Huppert and the Climate and Sustainability DAN

The Climate and Sustainability DAN is in the process of assisting 11 approved and vetted projects at various levels of capacity under the guidelines of the World Design Capital. The goal is to design and develop a full-circle recyclable sculpture with one location in San Diego and a sister location in Las Playas. The sculpture will ask residents to dispose of plastic and aluminum materials in a vessel created out of recycled materials. All collected items will be sent to cans4books which will convert the collected materials into books to donate to a local elementary school. The project will raise awareness about the importance of beach clean up, neighborhood clean up, recycling, and involving youth in the process to make a difference in their direct community.

Huppert has been mentoring three design students as they develop and propose the design of the sculptures and work alongside fabricator Matt Nelson, local recycling centers, and other area organizations and professionals. The sculpture idea was brought to the DAN via the Ocean Beach Town Council.

Design Educators Forum

Arzu Ozkal and Arts Alive SDSU

Arts Alive SDSU is hosting a one-day forum for design educators to explore the enduring impact of the World Design Capital. The aim is to transform the WDC’s fleeting moment into a lasting legacy by fostering cross-border partnerships and engaging in decolonization discourse. The vision is to create a cross-border design curriculum and resource repository, facilitating diverse perspectives. Empowering students to navigate cross-cultural dialogues prepares them for the global design landscape. This forum signifies a critical juncture in design education, promoting inclusivity, equity, and collaboration across borders.

The Forum is tentatively scheduled for April 13, 2024.

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