SU presents symposium on ‘Plastic and Plasticity,’ Nov. 13-14
Plastic and plasticity are the twin subjects of a weekend symposium at Syracuse University, sponsored by the School of Architecture (SOA) and the SU Humanities Center. The program, which runs Nov. 13-14 in Slocum Auditorium and the Tolley Building, includes presentations by nationally renowned architects, designers and scholars, culminating with a keynote address by Jeffrey L. Meikle, an American culture historian and historian of design.
Events are free and open to the public. For more information, call the SU Humanities Center at (315) 443-7192.
The program is part of a yearlong theme presented by the Transdisciplinary Media Studio (TdMS), a joint initiative of SOA and the SU Humanities Center, testing the capacity of digital media to support new modes of collaborative and cross-disciplinary design research, practice and pedagogy.
“Our emphasis is on plastic and plasticity in their manifold sense,” explains Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, who also directs the SU Humanities Center and The Andrew W. Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor. “This twin focus speaks to the goal of TdMS, which uses digital media to foster multi-directional teaching and research. TdMS is the media space of the future.”
Jonathan Massey, associate professor of architecture and chair of SOA’s undergraduate program, echoes these sentiments. “The whole objective of this event and of TdMS, in general, is to bring people together to explore new design practices emerging from technologically inspired convergence,” he says. “The plastics industry, in particular, has a long history of shaping and reshaping the way people think about everything from architecture and manufacturing, to advertising and consumerism, to the liberation of the American housewife. It’s a fascinating material with social implications.”
On Friday, Nov. 13, the symposium will include a series of afternoon presentations by Patrick Mather (SU), Billie Faircloth (KieranTimberlake), David Ruy (Ruy Klein), and Mitchell Joachim (Archibnode Studio), followed by Meikle, who serves as professor of art history and American studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Professor Meikle is an award-winning scholar whose expertise resides at the cultural intersection of science and technology,” says Lambert, adding that Meikle will examine “plastic” as both a noun and adjective.
Meikle will likely draw from his landmark book, “American Plastic: A Cultural History” (Rutgers University Press, 1995), tracing the rise and fall of an industry that is as old as SU, itself. The symposium will conclude the following day with a morning faculty seminar. More information is available at http://tdms.syr.edu/.
In keeping with the yearlong theme, SU will offer three courses in the Spring 2010 semester: “Plastic Thought” (HUM 500), taught by Lambert; “Architectural Design” (407), guest taught by Joachim; and an art elective led by visiting sculptor Keith Edmier.
TdMS is one of 19 Chancellor’s Leadership Projects, designed to integrate student learning opportunities, engage and integrate outside experts and have strong prospects of impacting the world. The TdMS leadership team is composed of Mark Linder, associate professor of architecture and chair of the SOA graduate program; Brian Lonsway, associate professor of architecture; Lambert; and Linder.