Student Work

  • Transdisciplinary Design (MFA)

    Isabella von Mühlen Brandalise

    Eventual everydays: infiltrating and opening systems through design

    This thesis is a stimulus meant to encourage design to be less of a singular solution to a problem and more of an opening to possibilities--a process of experimentation. Infiltration — finding and filling holes while navigating a path — is proposed as a method of active appropriation and opening of the urban space, generating prefigurative events rather than actual propositions. The project is structured as a pataphysical story, mixing fiction and reality with in-between narratives, missing chapters and different entry points. The context is the NYC Mayor’s Office, being an instantiation of the public sector, traditionally known as a space of slow decisions, risk aversion, silos, and top-down strategies that aim for permanence. From such a scenario emerges the NYC Subcommittee of Temporary Operations and Public Dissent (STOPD), an agency that exists nonexistently. It is a curatorial lab infiltrated into the New York City’s Mayor’s Office that questions controlled structures of officialdom by creating a temporary autonomous zone. Besides articulating experiments and programs, STOPD also collects ideas from the public in decentralized yet connected archives throughout the city. Its mission is to challenge structures and open processes, allowing residents to imagine new ways of interacting in and with the urban environment. Precisely for this reason, it is both a desired and feared possibility within an official context. The subcommittee’s ultimate goal is to build capacity for self-organizing and dissent, promoting conditions for distributed agency, imagination, alternative forms of governance and a more just society to emerge.