3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Hailing from the world of fashion, national security, and art respectively, Shelley Fox, Peter Merlin, and Trevor Paglen discuss visual literacy in relation to dress codes. Panelists look at collective identity constructed—and dissected—by open and closed systems of visual codes, such as military insignia and designer logos. Their conversation is preceded from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. by a charrette, a solution-driven workshop staged in the gallery on a platform designed for this purpose by Liam Gillick. In the charrette, students from various departments at Parsons and the public mine visual codes and brand reinforcement in the context of the military complex, taking as point of departure Paglen’s project on iconography associated with the “black world” of classified military culture. Participants work in teams to develop and craft onto T-shirts coded messages, examining the shifts in power when an outsider becomes an insider, as when a consumer is initiated into an elite and “knowing” subculture. Shelley Fox is an award-winning designer and Donna Karan Professor of Fashion Design at Parsons. In this role, she will spearhead the development of a new Master of Fine Arts Program in Fashion Design and Society at Parsons, the first program of its kind in the United States. She has built an international following as a conceptual designer; for the past three years, she has focused on research-based projects, and most recently served as a senior research fellow at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design and the course director of the Masters of Art in Fashion Design and Enterprise at the University of Westminster in England. Peter Merlin is an aerospace historian and collector of military patches who contributed to Paglen’s book on classified militaria, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me. Merlin has published numerous articles covering subjects from aerospace history to nuclear weapons accidents. He has also been researching and writing on the history of Area 51 since 1984. He is a founding member of the X-Hunters Aerospace Archaeology Team and specializes in recovering historic aircraft artifacts from crash sites in the southwestern United States. Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer working out of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His work involves deliberately blurring the lines between social science, contemporary art, and a host of even more obscure disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to interpret the world around us. Paglen's visual work has been exhibited at Transmediale.08 Festival, Berlin; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Kunstraum Muenchen, Munich; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; among other venues. Open to the public, these events are being presented as part of the Vera List Center’s 2008-09 program cycle on "Branding Democracy" and are also held in conjunction with the exhibition “OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding,” on view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center from October 16, 2008 to February 1, 2009.

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 2 West 13th Street

Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served

Special Needs:

If a person attending your event has a special needs request, i.e. hearing assistance or wheelchair accessibility, they should contact the organizer of the event at:

Phone: (212) 229-2436
Email: vlc@newschool.edu

Contact Information:

For more information, contact the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at (212) 229-2436.