Art Center presented two unique visual exhibits that showcased student work based on separate immersive trips to both Cuba and Berlin Wednesday evening in the form of interactive and multi sensory displays aimed to provide a snapshot into the daily lives of these foreign lands.
“Here at ‘Fresh Eyes Cuba’ you’re virtually in Cuba. You experience the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes and the touch of being in Havana, Cuba,” said Art Center’s Graphic Design Chair Nikolaus Hafermaas.
Fresh Eyes Cuba is a 14 week transdisciplinary ArtCenter studio course organized around a 10-day immersive trip to Havana, Cuba that took place in early October. Faculty and students lived in Havana and collaborated with the Instituto de Diseño (ISDi), Cuba’s design school. The Fresh Eyes Cuba was made possible by Art Center’s award winning Designmatters social impact department.
“We lived there, we worked there, we collaborated,” said Hafermaas.
“This whole exhibition that you see here is designed in the Cuban spirit of every Cuban is a designer. Why is everyone a designer? Because there is so much scarcity in things that we take for granted here in the United States. So to make due, to improvise, to create something out of nothing is that kind of resourcefulness and is something that our students learned here,” said Hafermaas.
The pop up installations, as they’re called, featured photography, video projections, home made musical instruments and other works that were directly inspired by student experiences while in Havana.
“All the digital assets that we collected are brought back into scale, into space-into what we call ‘media texture installations’,” said Hafermaas.
The other half of the exhibit was dedicated to the Berlin exhibit called CITY_X.
The creative focus of this 90-day studio in the German capital is the re-imagination of the soon-to-be-closed Tegel International Airport as a Smart City. Named the “Urban Tech Republic,” this ambitious private/public initiative will transform the former inner city airport into a research venue and model city for sustainable green technology on an urban scale.
“Our Test Lab Berlin project was about how to connect the Urban Tech Republic to that creative industry of Berlin. What you see here in the exhibition are four distinctively different strategies ofnhow to engage the hackers, the tinkerers, the artists, the musicians that live in Berlin—that thrive in Berlin—with that ambitious Urban Tech Republic,” explained Hafermaas.
The dual exhibit represented the worldly opportunities that Art Center provides its students to help create well-rounded artists.
“To become a thriving artist and designer in all of the world, you also have to be able to immerse yourself in very different cultures. You have to go out of your comfort zone and you have to immerse yourself in something that’s completely different from where you’re from. Going both to Cuba and to Berlin for the other group are prime examples of what we do,” said Hafermaas.