The Philadelphia project is a required project of all Museum Exhibition Planning and Design majors. It asks each student to take an aspect of the city of Philadelphia and interpret it as an exhibition. Past topics have included civil rights, craft beer, protest art, urban wildlife, and more. I chose to interpret the history of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital, the first “Lying In Department” in the country.
The document produced is a reflection of months of research, writing, and design. At various points I was combing through hospital archives, generating artifact schedules and floor plans, modeling my space in Vectorworks, building mock ups of my panels, and ever trimming down and tightening the narrative. The result is a good start towards a project that touches on medical history, feminist history, epidemiology, and the crucial yet sometimes harmful role of pride in medical practice.
“We start this thesis with two problems: (1) that chemistry is underrepresented in science centers and museums, and (2) High school students who can benefit from informal learning opportunities in chemistry are often left bereft, contributing to a general decline in interest in the topic. The thesis supports these assertions and proposes that what helps one may also help the other.”
This MFA project was completed in May 2017 with the help of my committee. Erin McLeary PhD (Science History Institute), Polly McKenna-Cress (University of the Arts), Jane Boyd PhD (Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, The Mutter Museum, etc) and David Ucko PhD (Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, Museums + more LLC).
As part of a prototyping internship with Eastern State Penitentiary in November of 2015, I was invited to interpret and build a temporary version of a “confessional”. Visitors are invited to anonymously submit a confession of a crime, any crime, to help to break down the mental barrier between criminals and non criminals, and confuse the notion that anyone who serves prison time is getting a just punishment for their act.
The confessional was constructed from cardboard, butcher paper, and black tape. Many confessional sheets are in a stand inside the booth, next to a locked box where completed confessions can be submitted. Sample confessions with crimes ranging from “I jaywalk on the regular” to “I drove drunk, hit a parked car and fled the scene” adorning the outer wings. It was placed in the Recharge room of Eastern State Penitentiary, a heated resting space with benches and a phone charging station that serves as a shelter from the elements.
The confessional in place in the recharge room.
A slightly closer view
An obligatory selfie with my work. Happy confessions!
Designed to Defend was my first semester major project at the University of the Arts, Fall 2015. The class was tasked with developing, and designing exhibitions for the Fictional “Podunk Museum of Design”. For the purposes of this exercise our constraints were 1000 sq/ft of floor space with a maximum 17′ high ceiling. Budget was not a constraint.
This exhibition was developed by a classmate of mine and I took over for the final design process.
With this concept and gestalt, I designed an immersive adventure experience where the visitor is invited to assist a fictional team of immune system superheroes called “The ImmuniTeam”, to help the body design weapons and defenses against enemies.
I designed the floor plan around the narrative concept, then projected it into an axonometric view of the proposed exhibition space.
I then established exact graphic identity, sample topical graphics, and promotional material.
In may of 2014 I was actively involved in organizing an event for the New Orleans Red House (An offshoot of the New Orleans Art House) called the “DIY Science Museum”. They contacted me for my background working in information design, scientific media, and museums. I displayed my personal work, and helped to vet, curate, and lay out the exhibition on the day of the event.
The event itself consisted of many local artists and designers, some selling wares, some simply displaying work. a band and a few DJ’s came to perform. a projection mapping dome was set up in the back yard and a screen playing science documentaries was also erected. A few educators performed educational experiments for wide eyed onlookers. Given the nature of the Red House art collective, it was a fairly free form, strange fusion of house party, pop up educational event, museum, and concert. I am proud to have been part of it.
Inspired by the teratological specimens in the Mutter Museum, I have sculpted, molded and cast three late term fetuses displaying major malformities. The emerald one, whom I named Mordechai, displays phocomelia. The sapphire one, whom I named Shiloh in honor of Shiloh Pepin (the mermaid girl), displays sirenomelia. The ruby one, whom I named Isabel, displays cyclopia.
The three are designed to be objects of horror and beauty. I don’t have the gut reaction of most to the display of teratological specimens, and in fact find them quite fascinating and beautiful in their own right. For what they represent: development gone awry, and for what they are: little monsters. I wanted to capture my own feeling of awe and beauty by translating the experience into art, and presenting the specimens not as horrific things, but as unique and beautiful as jewels. I named them to give them identity, and I colored them to give them associated value beyond their media.
Ideally, I display them suspended in appropriately sized mason jars with each other.
Set of Drawers, built to the length of my torso. The height of each drawer corresponds to segments of the spine, Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Sacral. Custom cast bronze drawer pulls adorn the front of each drawer with an example of a vertebra from that region of the spine, flanked by a bifurcated example of an organ from that region of the body (Brain, Lungs, Intestines and Genitals). Red oak with the back edge kept raw.
Educational module detailing the superficial muscles of the shoulder, anteriorly and posteriorly. Roll over a muscle and it is shown to the side, isolated, with its origin and insertion points highlighted.
Photoshop illustrations, Programming in Flash, Actionscript 3.