A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Contemporary Issues in Design: Smart Intersections: Connecting Communities Through Interventions

AIADO 4954 001
Faculty: Ekene Ijeoma

Students in Reimagining Smart Interactions with Communities will work through their practices to create interventions at street intersections around Chicago. In 2013 the writer, Quinn Norton said: “my field must tackle describing a world where falling in love, going to war, and filling out tax forms looks the same; it looks like typing.” In the last year with Pokemon Go and other addicting and distracting apps, our streets are looking like typing too. More and more city-goers are experiencing their streets through their phones; so much that cities in Austria and Germany are putting stop lights in their sidewalks while others in Hawaii have banned crossing while texting. These moves, however, were driven by safety, not empathy. Meanwhile, tech companies are envisioning machine readable streets for their self-driving cars which are based on smart intersections. How can we reimagine smart intersections as human-centered empathy-inducing spaces for connecting people? How can we engage in serendipity and embrace diversity while algorithms are filtering everything we see online and augmenting our real-life experiences? How can we reveal the cultural and social biases of these corporate technology-mediated experiences? We’ll explore these questions through lectures and critiques from visiting artists and designers as well as community organizers and members. Students projects will be installed and performed around the city late-May.