See Change 2013

Carl-DeTorres-IBM.jpg

PreRamble:  Took the day to take in some “luminaries, inspiration, and remarkable work from across the visual spectrum” at the See Change Conference, an annual event sponsored by the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the College of Design, AIGA Minnesota, and the Minnesota Journalism Center.

As a generally fidgety personand big fan of natural light, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve spent an entire day inside a darkened theater. Fortunately, the See Change itinerary was tight and the line-up first-rate — the day was packed with engaging people doing amazing things. Overall, impressive and inspiring; a few highlights from the eleven segments:

  • First up was award-winning photographer Jim Fiscus – unassuming guy, demeanor belied his Texas roots (and boots) – unbelievable images, painterly vibe, each uniquely shocking – I’m guessing no one approaches him to shoot puppies or weddings.
  • Architect Geoffrey Warner represented for the “let’s move stuff with a crane” crowd. His award-winning (yep, all of the presenters were note-worthy folks) “weeHouse” design (the living-space equivalent of the Mini Cooper) is an “inexpensive prefab cabin that has gained international attention as a symbol of architectural optimism.” Having recently significantly downsized my own square footage, might I suggest a spin-off business in “weeFurniture” … McMansion fixtures don’t work in tight spaces.
  • Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton — endearing BFF foodies with impeccable taste who breezily finished each other’s sentences while channeling Diane Keaton. Their mouth-watering photography was non-strategically slotted close to, but not at, the lunch break. (I would have given them my iPad for a bowl of curried beet soup.) Sign up for the Canal House blog and get a daily virtual helping of what delectable thing they’re cooking up for lunch.
  • Then there was the next presenter.  Another unassuming guy who had done something or other for WIRED Magazine … blah, blah … And then he started working through his slides. … As my kids would say, … “Shut-up!!” It was THAT GUY. The epically talented guy who is responsible for the beyond brilliant IBM print campaign (example above). Carl DeTorres has an uber-colorful, precise-yet-whimsical design/illustration style that perfectly depicts abstract tech concepts. It’s alive, beautiful, simultaneously moving and balanced. Love. It. … So, my advice to this young man (and I’m sure he was hanging on my every word) was to get started on archiving his work now, so when he becomes the iconic designer that he pretty much already is, he won’t be faced with rooms full of festering sketchbooks and a daunting disarray of random files (see documentary on Bert Stern). I also insisted that he check out the “Spoonbridge and Cherry” the next time he’s in town.

The Take-Away: The See Change Conference is a total value-add – See Change 2014 – a must-see.

Post Note: Special thanks to event founders Pat and Smitty Schuneman – your vision and support is vitally important to the spirit and quality of inquiry at the U and is a much appreciated source of enrichment and inspiration for the Twin Cities design community.