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Food, Cities, and Music: A Look at Three Developing Thesis Projects

After developing initial thesis proposals, presenting a two-minute pitch, and drafting a research plan, students arrive at week five of the “Thesis Development” course with Jennifer Bove. Students are looking to bring design context to the world around them with topics they’re passionate about. Colleen Miller caught up with three MFA candidates, John Finley, Russ Maschmeyer, and Beatriz Viscaino for a preview of work in progress:

Beatriz Vizcaino, Food

“I will be exploring the lack of transparency in the processes and practices involved in the food industry. Consequently, I am interested in investigating the consequences it has brought to individual lives (increased obesity and nutrition related diseases) as well as environmental changes. I have always been interested in acquiring healthier eating habits and in food. After a couple of my family members were diagnosed with diabetes type 2 I became even more aware of the problem. I realized that nutrition is not only the means by which we can have a better body, but it is a self-care measure that everyone has to consider in order to be healthy.”John Finley, Cities“I want to create experiences which reveal to people the unseen connections between themselves and others living in their city. I’ve had this nascent love of architecture, urban planning, and maps since I was a kid. On family vacations I’d be the navigator, using a road atlas to learn the geography of where I was and where I was going. The juxtaposition to me was a heady mix of teleportation and predicting the future. In today’s environment of (nearly) ubiquitous computing, I am looking to bring back that kind of magic and connect people to where they are in a way we’ve never thought before.”Russ Maschmeyer, Music“I’m exploring the intersection between movement, pattern, and gesture in computer music interfaces. As a musician, hobbyist recording engineer, science geek, and interaction designer. This topic is everything I love in one delightfully complex puzzle. I’m hoping to gain a deeper understanding of what makes music move people, both mentally and physically as well as what the mental process of musical ideation looks like in both musicians and non-musicians. Hopefully I’ll be able to demonstrate that non-musicians are much better at creating music than they might assume given the right frame, and that once you take away the necessity to learn an instrument, almost anybody can create and improvise fantastic musical ideas.”

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