To continue my series interviewing the professors from MICA who have helped shape this podcast, this week I talk to my critical theory professor Ian Bourland. In addition to teaching at MICA, Ian is an art historian and critic whose work focuses on the diaspora, photography, and the global contemporary. In this conversation, Ian and I talk about his background and interest in art, the role of the critic in the art world, what a new type of design criticism could look like, and how designers can think about their work critically within a larger cultural context.
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Erin Pellegrino and Jake Rudin are the founders of Out of Architecture, a career consulting firm and resource network, where they are exploring the value of architectural skills both in and out of the profession. Through career consulting, career tools, and their recent book, Erin and Jake help architects leave architecture. In this conversation, we talk about the shape their consulting takes, what's missing from architecture and design education, and why so many designers want to leave the profession.
Deb Chachra is a professor at Olin College of Engineering and the author of the new book, How Infrastructure Works: Inside the Systems That Shape Our World. In this conversation, Jarrett and Deb talk about why we don't want to think about infrastructure and how it encourages and discourages particular ways of living, overlap of design and engineering education, and value of teaching principles of care and maintenance.
René Boer is a critic, curator, and organizer in and beyond the fields of architecture, design, heritage, and the arts. His new book, Smooth City, focuses on the obsession with perfection in cities around the world. He is the co-founder of Loom, a practice for cultural transformation, and is one of the driving forces behind Failed Architecture. In this conversation, Jarrett and René talk about the idea of smoothness, the intersection of criticism and activism, and finding new forms to fund design writing.