2016 MDP Design Residency CFP and Jury Announcement

December 17, 2015

Above, clockwise from top left: Natural Wifi, detail, m-a-u-s-e-r (Mona Mahall and Asli Serbest), completed during the 2015 residency; 2016 jury: Rosten Woo, Rhazes Spell, Natalie Jeremijenko, Tim Durfee.

The MDP Summer Design Residency is granted to a creative practitioner or team whose experimental design work engages emerging issues in science, technology, culture, and society. The winning proposal—to be selected by a jury that includes Natalie Jeremijenko, Rosten Woo, Dr. Rhazes Spell, and Tim Durfee—should demonstrate how design/making can be used as a mode of inquiry and critical engagement.

Mona Mahall and Asli Serbest with the installation Natural Wifi in the Wind Tunnel Gallery.


Call for Proposals

This call for proposals welcomes designers, filmmakers, architects, artists, hardware sketchers and software developers to submit proposals for design-driven research projects to be conducted in Summer 2016 in residence in the MDP studio. 

In the MDP, we define “media” broadly (see Tim Durfee’s blog post on this subject). Therefore, the residency is open to a range of disciplinary perspectives and practices. Projects that are the best fit will address network or digital culture; pervasive computing; information and communication technology; screen culture; or social media – as part of the subject or process of the work. 

Given the modest budget and time frame, we consider this an opportunity to explore a discrete question as part of a larger investigation and/or an opportunity to test a new idea. Applicants should demonstrate an ability to successfully document and disseminate experimental design and research projects, and to manage a team.

We cannot fund commercial projects – projects for which the researcher is being paid by a client – however we are not averse to projects that have potential commercial applications. The residency is not suitable for the latter stages of a project’s “finish.” To be considered, projects must allow for discovery-through-making during the residency period. The research page of this site shows past residents and faculty research projects that we have supported. 

Art Center's south campus, a Daly-Genik renovation of a former supersonic jet testing facility.

Art Center’s south campus, a Daly-Genik renovation of a former supersonic jet testing facility.


The Jury

Our jury’s eclecticism reflects the MDP approach and interests. Based on the merits and fit of each proposal, ten finalists are selected, which are then blind reviewed by the jury.

Natalie Jeremijenko was awarded the VIDA Art and Artificial Life International Awards Pioneer Prize “for her consistently brilliant portfolio of work over the past two decades,” (a prize only awarded once before to Laurie Anderson). She has also been named one of the 2013 Most Innovative People, one of the most influential women in technology 2011, one of the inaugural top young innovators by MIT Technology Review and 40 most influential designers. Jeremijenko directs the Environmental Health Clinic, and is an Associate Professor in the Visual Art Department, NYU and affiliated with the Computer Science Dept. and Environmental Studies program. Her degrees are in biochemistry, engineering, neuroscience and History and Philosophy of Science.

Rosten Woo makes educational displays. He produces public artwork for organizations like Clockshop, California State Parks, the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County. He works in long-term collaboration with grassroots and non-profit organizations to illuminate the politics of places and the mechanics of large systems. His work has been exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial, the Venice Architecture Biennale, Netherlands Architectural Institute, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and various piers, public housing developments, tugboats, shopping malls, and parks. He is co-founder and former executive director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a New York based non-profit organization dedicated to using art and design to foster civic participation. His first book, Street Value, about Race and Redevelopment on Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall was published by Princeton Architectural Press; most recently he was a contributor to LAtitudes: an Angeleno’s Atlas published by Heyday in 2015.

Dr. Rhazes Spell’s interests lie at the intersection of science, technology and society studies (STS), software studies and media art. As both a media artist and educator, his research explores creative and critical uses of digital technology for creating interactive audio/visual experiences and physical installations. He is particularly interested in data narratives: how stories shape facts and how “facts” shape cultural plots. Rhazes completed his MS and PhD at Duke University where he studied Biomedical Engineering specializing in computational biology and bioinformatics. After a postdoctoral research fellowship in scientific visualization with the Duke Visualization and Technology Group, he worked as a user experience designer and developer in the entertainment, finance, healthcare and defense and intelligence industries. Following his industry experiences, Rhazes attended UCLA where he completed an MFA in Design | Media Art.

Tim Durfee‘s interdisciplinary architecture studio produces work at all scales, with a particular interest in discovering forms of design relevant for life now. In 2015 he was named one of “Fifty Under Fifty: Innovators of the 21st Century” by a jury of leading architects and educators. His exhibition/installation “Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City” (co-curated with Mimi Zeiger) was awarded the Bronze Dragon for the 2015/16 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Shenzhen. Current projects include a permanent artwork for the LAPD, private residences, and—with Ben Hooker and Jenny Rodenhouse—“The Logistical Baroque” and “Free-k Zones,” two films in a series that explore potential urban implications of contemporary phenomena in media. He has degrees in English and Architecture from the University of Rochester and Yale University. 


Interior of the Wind Tunnel studio.

Interior of the Wind Tunnel studio.


The Residency

Residents are given project space within the MDP studio. Housed in a former supersonic jet testing facility, the MDP studio is part of a complex called the Wind Tunnel Graduate Center for Critical Practice, which includes the Wind Tunnel Gallery, the Graduate Art MFA studios and galleries, and the Hixon Courtyard, in the heart of Art Center’s south campus in Pasadena, California.

The award includes project space in the MDP studio for up to 14 weeks together with access to the College’s renowned shops and production facilities from letterpress to video editing to large-scale rapid prototyping. The resident will also receive a $5,000 stipend and can submit a project budget for up to $5,000. The resident will also get to work with a project team of 2–5 graduate student research assistants (media designers/design researchers) for 7 weeks.

Residents can have access to the studio and facilities from May 13 – September 20, 2015, during which time they are required to be in residence for a minimum of 7 weeks, from June 29 to August 13. The residency culminates in a small show installed in the Wind Tunnel Gallery from August 13–September 17.

The Wind Tunnel Gallery space, part of the Media Design Practices studio.

The Wind Tunnel Gallery space, part of the Media Design Practices studio.


The Facilities

The MDP will provide dedicated project space. The MDP studio is adjacent to the Graduate Art studios and galleries and will be home to at least one other research team, post-graduate research fellows, and MDP research faculty.

Researchers will have access within the studio to a digital shop, desktop and laptop computers, a digital video editing bay, recording equipment, color printers and plotters, projectors and miscellaneous digital devices. Researchers will also have access to the the College Library, the Color, Materials, and Trends Laboratory, and campus workshops for wood, metal, rapid prototyping, letterpress printing, screenprinting, and more.

The South Campus is walking distance to good housing options and shopping. It is adjacent to the MTA Gold Line which provides easy access to Chinatown, Koreatown, and downtown L.A. There is bus service between the South Campus and the main Hillside Campus.

The Made Up exhibition in the Wind Tunnel Gallery.

The Made Up exhibition in the Wind Tunnel Gallery.


The Research Interns

MDP summer residencies offer our students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience doing research in design. Project Proposals should include plans to engage between 2–5 students as research interns and should include a job description and required skills for each position. The students will receive course credit and are available for 4 days per week for a period of 7 weeks (June 29 – August 13).

Students who are eligible to apply for a research internship will have completed at least one year of graduate school. Our students are media designers from varied backgrounds. Skills/experience may include: communication design, video, motion graphics, environmental media, physical computing prototyping, rapid prototyping, programming, and research and writing. Researchers will have the opportunity to review intern applications and may request interviews before selecting interns.

Deliverables and Calendar

Facilities available: May 09 – September 09, 2015
Student Project team available: July 5–August 19 (7 weeks)
Project installation: August 18
Public Discussion: August 18
Project work open to public: August 18–Sept. 22
Public Research event: Sept. 22
De-install deadline: Sept. 25
Full documentation due: Sept. 30, 2015

To Apply

Download this pdf for full directions.

Applications are due electronically by midnight, PST, February 1, 2016

Applicants must submit the entire application as a pdf or link by e-mail by midnight, PST, February 1, 2016. The application should include a cv, project form, and 2-page project proposal.


Individuals who will be students at the time of the residency are not eligible, except for doctoral candidates who are ABD. We encourage recent graduates from Masters Programs to apply. Faculty from Art Center College of Design as well as other colleges and universities are encouraged to apply, as are practitioners. Full-time MDP faculty are not eligible, however part-time faculty are.

Applicants from outside the U.S. are responsible for paying for and procuring the necessary visas. Art Center may be able to assist but any additional legal costs would be deducted from the project budget.

Art Center will not pay for housing, shipping, or travel to/from Art Center. However we can recommend resources to locate short-term housing and transportation. We recommend that researchers traveling from other cities, and particularly from other countries, plan to arrive 1-2 weeks prior to the start of the residency in order to allow enough time to get situated.

For more information:

Kevin Wingate: kevin.wingate (at) artcenter.edu
Graduate Media Design: www.artcenter.edu/mdp

Art Center College of Design: www.artcenter.edu