schedule

  • Monday, November 6

    6:30 PM
    BAMPFA

We Must Conjure Our Gods Before We Obey Them with Michael Rock

Design has become so elastic that it is applied universally from chromosomes to climate change. We design spoons and tables and rooms and houses and computer programs and cities and power grids and national identities and international treaties and defense systems and, when all else fails, military campaigns. At the heart of it all, Michael Rock argues in this lecture, is the deeply human desire for coherence. Design solidifies, and naturalizes, things that start off as opinions, stories, and traditions and so supplies the form to the fictions by which we live. But while we tend to think that design exists to serve us, the reverse is true: once established, it’s almost impossible to think outside the systems and structures we create to frame our lives.

Michael Rock is a founding partner and creative director of 2x4 Inc., a multidisciplinary design studio in New York City, and director of the Graphic Architecture Project at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Since 1991 he has been adjunct professor at the Yale School of Art and in 2016 he was appointed visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His writing on design has appeared worldwide and he currently is a contributing design critic for the New York Times T Magazine. He is the recipient of the 1999 Rome Prize in design from the American Academy in Rome.