2017-18 / HOMO SAPIENS, I HEAR YOU

The Complete Archive.

A yearlong series of design seminars that questioned and re-thought humanity's essential needs – and considered whether the modern practice of design addresses them. Conceptualized in collaboration with Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun, a celebrated and award-winning creative director of experiences, Homo Sapiens, I Hear You offered a set of unique seminars that debated and modernized Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs.”

Participants experienced thought-provoking conversations, immersive lectures, collaborative workshops and unique sensory experiences guided by experts in conventional and unconventional fields and industries. Along the way, we unraveled new perspectives on what motivates us and explored whether the modern practice of design addressed our essential needs – from the most basic functions (eating, sleeping, etc) to the more fulfilling (self-improvement, practicing sports).

A/D/O and Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun partnered with radio producer Elle Clay to produce podcasts surrounding our research seminars and themes with each month's panelists. Speakers include Douglas Trumbull, Novimchi Tosa, Paola Antonelli, Paul Sahre, Beatrice Galilee, Paula Scher, and more.

About Nelly Ben Hayoun

Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun is a designer of extreme experiences that aims to bring the sublime to life. Dubbed the “Willy Wonka of Design,” Ben Hayoun is an award-winning French designer and filmmaker who creates multi-dimensional experiential projects at the intersection of science, theatre, politics and Design. Wired awarded her their inaugural Innovation Fellowship in 2014, and Icon magazine, Dezeen and Creative Review recognized Dr. Ben Hayoun as one of the top 50 designers 'shaping the future' for her pioneering “total bombardment” design philosophy.

Her laboratory, NBH Studios, is on a mission to bring chaos to the world; she is the founder and director of the International Space Orchestra the world’s first orchestra of NASA space scientists and astronauts; and most recently she founded the University of the Underground, a subversive tuition-free educative and cultural programme that is on course to modify the status quo in public institutions and academia.

JANUARY 2018 / SLEEP WITH ME

On beds, the unconscious and 
the nighttime

The January seminar Sleep With Me brought together the makers and designers of thoughts, and manufacturers of nighttime knowledge. We unravelled oneiric creative potentials as we explored hypnosis as a means to define new economic models and labour systems, and even questioned what machines and dinosaurs dream of. The audience learnt how our subconscious is used in films, while questioning oneiric aesthetics and other fantastical natural and technological whims.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    DOUGLAS TRUMBULL - special effects director

    PROF. GRACIELA CHICHILNISKY - mathematical economist

    RACHEL KATZ - transcendental meditation expert

    ALEXANDRA JANELLI - hypnotherapist

February 2018 / THE LAST SUPPER

On tables, carnivores and kitchen stories

As a homo-carnivorous species, we debated the power and politics of food as social actions. We met with designers who use bacteria to think through the future; all of which while you learn the process of creating absinthe.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    ALEXANDRA DAISY GINSBERG - biodesigner

    MARK GREENFIELD - theatrical director

    JILLIAN CAVANAUGH - professor of anthropology

    LINYEE YUAN - food editor

    KEVIN HERSON - absinthe creator

MARCH 2018 / BREATHE IT IN

On air, wind and lungs

We figuratively dissected our lungs, to better understand one of the mechanisms of life as we know it: oxygen. What is it? Where do we find it? And is it possible to grow oxygen on other worlds? This session investigated potentially habitable planets; how atmospheric circulation patterns might change in the future, and how these projections are represented through numerical models; musical instruments that make use of wind, singing lungs, breathless and speechless events.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    NOVMICHI TOSA - Maywa Denki founder

    DR. CLARA ORBE - NASA scientist

    DR. NANCY KIANG - NASA scientist

    DR. SONALI BOSE - pulmonary MD

    DJ HERSHE - musician and beatboxer

ON CATASTROPHE, FIRE AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Experience a burning blaze before your very eyes. In April, we went on a journey investigating emergency procedures for disasters. Together we learnt from firefighters while planning and managing an outbreak crisis, all while on board a "techno-catastrophe" roller coaster. Who are the masterminds behind the plan B, C and D? Who answers the red phone in mission control? In April, we were red, orange and yellow.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    BRENDAN WALKER - thrill engineer

    MUSTAFAA SHAKUR - Rock Safe Streets supervisor

    REGINA WILSON - FDNY firefighter

On fear, violence and monsters

In May, we challenged researchers and experts in design, film, and philosophy to debunk our anecdotal fears. From authoritarian regimes to the fear of capitalism and technology, how have our collective fears and ideologies developed in contemporary societies? What makes power and violence? With vibrant presentations and a live debate, we explored the history of design and violence with Paola Antonelli, film and horror studies with Rémy Bennett and professor Bette Gordon, and politics and philosophy with Dr Samantha Hill. There was also an interactive workshop by puppet master Emily DeCola.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    PAOLA ANTONELLI - MoMA curator

    REMY BENNETT - filmmaker and instructor

    EMILY DECOLA - Puppet Kitchen founder

    BETTE GORDON - film director and professor

    SAMANTHA HILL - political philosopher

JUNE 2018 / TALK TO ME

I AM YOUR FRIEND

June's seminar explored the spectrum of ultimate friendship, from “a man’s best friend” to unique connections with others, and the influence it has on one’s life work. We opened with a keynote by Paul Sahre on his memoir Two-Dimensional Man, and how process and design can shape relationships and how relationships can shape process and design. We continued with a panel discussion on ultimate friendship with Dog Whisperer, Lauren Novack; NYU Animal Studies Fellow, Nandini Thiyagarajan; and identical twin American artists, Ryan and Trevor Oakes. Guests were allowed to bring their dogs.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    PAUL SAHRE - graphic designer

    LAUREN NOVACK - dog whisperer

    NANDINI THIYAGARAJAN - NYU fellow of environmental & animal studies

    RYAN & TREVOR OAKES - artists & twin brother collaborators

JULY 2018 / WHAT IS THIS?

On curiosity and our inherent history

During July’s seminar, we investigated curiosity. We brought together experts and pioneers in storytelling, conservation and magic to help us understand our deep-rooted desire to know and learn. Featuring Gabo Arora, an award-winning VR/AR Creator, professor and senior advisor at The UN (and the UN’s first Creative Director); Julie Arslanoglu, a research scientist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Matthew Holtzclaw, one of the top performers and technicians in the world of magic and special effects. Also, a surprise in the form of paleontology and archeology.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    GABO ARORA - immersive artist, filmmaker and LightShed founder/creative director

    JULIE ARSLANOGLU - The Metropolitan Museum research scientist

    MATHEW HOLTZCLAW - magician

    JULIA MOLNAR - NYIT professor

AUGUST 2018 / WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK

On Bureaucracy, The Office And Labor

August's seminar explored the question: how is design considering the future of work and what needs to be addressed? Together we investiagted the office as an environment for a new organization and leadership, and examined the influence designers have on the architecture of the office, the management systems we work in, government structures, bureaucracy, and Kafka’s vision of utopia. Finally, we engaged in Critical Management Studies (CMS) and Design Thinking as a framework for our discussion.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    BEATRICE GALILEE - The MET associate curator of architecture and design

    VERE VAN GOOL - NEW MUSEUM associate director of IdeasCity

    LAURA Y LIU - The New School professor

    LISA ZASLOW - Gotham Organizers founder

SEPTEMBER 2018 / MY HERO!

ON PEERS, SUPERPOWERS AND CYBORGS

For September’s seminar, we invited some of the most influential superpower creatives of our time. Featuring Neil Harbisson, a Cyborg Artist who listens to colors through an antenna implanted in his skull and Paula Scher, one of the most influential graphic designers who has been at the forefront of design for more than four decades. Interactive director Mike Tucker took us inside Magic Leap for the first time, and Columbia University associate professor Lydia Chilton discussed how artificial intelligence is finding its way in educational institutions. In this session, we investigated the relationship between the future of mentorship, knowledge, and technology.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    PAULA SCHER - Pentagram principal

    NEIL HARBISSON - cyborg artist

    MIKE TUCKER - Magic Leap interactive director

    LYDIA CHILTON - Columbia University assistant professor

OCTOBER 2018 / WHAT IS THIS?

ON TOXIC TOURISM, LEISURE AND FORESTS

For our October session, we went on a journey to uncover the realism of taking a holiday, and the psychological battle between carbon footprints vs relaxation. Can we enjoy travel and leisure without harming the environment? Together with a team of experts in the fields of architecture, anthropology and sustainability, attendees reassessed today’s notions of tourism and leisure in order to speculate on the future of travel and our travel footprint.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    VANESSA KEITH - StudioTEKA principal

    DAVID CHARLES - Impact Travel Alliance media network lead

    PAIGE WEST - Barnard College professor

    ALLISON C. MEIER - writer

NOVEMBER 2018 / PRAY FOR ME

On religion and spiritual fictions

What is the sublime? What is beyond the possibility of calculation, measurement and imitation? How does our vision and belief of what we can’t see become actualized through Maslow’s law? For our final seminar of the year, we unraveled the sublime with experts in design, technology, architecture and social research. We opened with a presentation by experiential designer Zach Lieberman on the role poetics plays in design, before he joined panelists Zahid Ajam, architect and designer at WORKac, and Suzanne Schneider, deputy director at The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Together, we dove into religious practices in sacred spaces, the economies of religion and religious storytelling with pastor Russel Joyce of Hope Church Brooklyn.

Collaborators

    NELLY BEN HAYOUN - Designer

    ZACH LIEBERMAN - experiential designer

    ZAHID AJAM - WORKac architect and design

    SUZANNE SCHNEIDER - Brooklyn Institute for Social Research deputy director

    RUSSEL JOYCE - Hope Church Brooklyn pastor

Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun recaps the year in seminars on the A/D/O Podcast and Journal. She discusses why we need to react to histories, embrace plurality, and rely on “designer-mythologists” to unravel our cultures, then concludes with a call to action following the yearlong seminar series. “Let's plan for more platforms in which the geographer, the philosopher, the historian, the scientist and the creative can meet, discuss with passion and perhaps exchange body parts,” she says.

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