Two events last week show the remarkable range and reach of this college. Friday evening, the Goldstein Museum of Design hosted a garden party, called "Dig Design," around an Indian theme, complete with Ragamala dance, henna painting, and sari draping. Held in the HGA gallery in Rapson Hall, the event enlivened the spare space that Steven Holl designed with the bright colors of traditional Indian apparel and decorative arts, serving as a reminder of the underlying compatibility of ancient and modern aesthetics.
Meanwhile, last Thursday and Friday, the college co-hosted with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and AIGA Minnesota the second annual See Change conference (www.seechangeconference.org/). Among the extraordinary designers from across the country who spoke there, one of them, Matthew Atkatz, outlined five digital technologies that he saw having the greatest impact on our lives:
1. Social indexing, in which the digital world will deliver customized information to each of us based on our preferences
2. Cloud computing, in which smaller, cheaper, and lighter mobile devices will link to a common computer network
3. Gestural interfaces, in which digital images will have a three-dimensional quality, creating more immersive experiences
4. Near-field technology, in which cellular phones will replace a range of other item such as car keys, wallets, and business cards
5. Natural language processing, in which computers will be able to listen, analyze, and respond to spoken languages
Such trends will affect more than just communication design. As you can see in this YouTube video by Corning Glass (www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38), these technologies will affect every field in our college in some way. And yet, as the video also shows, the basic needs and aspirations of human life will remain essentially the same, as recognizable to the people of ancient India as to us in the modern world.