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The 27th Stadium Experience

This fall, we’ve invited the MFA candidates to contribute to the feature column in the newsletter and blog.

One of my biggest passions in life is visiting Major League Baseball stadiums across the country, a feat I’ve achieved 27 times now. In many ways, my first few weeks as a new student in the MFA Interaction Design program have been a comparable experience. When I first visit a stadium, I begin by taking a lap around the inside, spending the first few innings watching the game from different sections and levels of the stadium to gain a brand new perspective each time. I’d like to think I just completed my first “lap” at SVA. In the past two weeks, I’ve been asked to look at interaction design from a variety of perspectives. One day I see it through the lens of typography and visual communications, the next I examine it from a physical computing standpoint. What seemed like a random assortment of classes connects to help shape a comprehensive view of interaction design. Knowledge from one typography class isn’t put on the back burner until next week, but rather, applied to other classes throughout the week.

After my walking tour in the stadium, I return to my section, ready to watch the rest of the game from the comfort of my seat. I’m usually not alone. Experiences are shaped by the person in the seat next to me. Sometimes it’s friends who are diehard stat junkies, and as a result, the conversation turns to how the dimensions of left field cater to an influx of homeruns. Other times I’ve found myself with a history-buff friend. With the latter, we often end up studying the stadium as a historical monument than a field of athletic competition. Again, this analogy can be carried over to my first few weeks at SVA. When I look around the room, I see a molecular biologist, a graphic designer, an architect, and countless other backgrounds sitting in the seats next to me. These seemingly disparaging areas of expertise never hinder us, but rather help to bring a variety of experiences into our problem solving. Every discussion has 15 people ready to impart a past experience from their specific perspective.

When I recently stepped foot inside my 27th stadium, it was unavoidable that I would strike a comparison of it to previous stadiums I’ve seen. But it was also important that I looked at it with a fresh perspective and the same childlike wonder I had when I stepped into my first baseball game 18 years ago. That’s my goal here at SVA—to step into every project with an enthusiasm equal to the project before it, but armed with past perspectives and some amazing talent at my side. I’m stoked to be here.

Now, where’s the beer guy?

Cooper Smith, Class of 2012

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