Interventions in Capitalism RISD Research Group

As a research studio, this course is a combined studio production, critique, and seminar class that explores creative expression and creative thinking within and outside of capitalism. The goal of the course is to foster a space for unique research methods and hands on explorations of capitalism. Each student will explore the history, culture, theory and technology of capitalism through hands on making, individualized research, and discussion. Potential areas of investigation may include: wearable computing, physical computing, interactive performance, social media interventions, tactical media, art science collaboration, material science, smart materials, artificial life, art activism, and serious game design.

Interventions in Global Markets

2016-2017 Research group guest speakers and visitors:

Alisa Yang. Yang is an antidisciplinary artist and filmmaker. She received her BFA from Art Center of Design in 2009 and MFA at University of Michigan in 2016. Her practice is rooted in collage across medium; from two-dimensional works to video installations, her work explores themes of language, cultural identity, memory, and sexuality. As a filmmaker she works in the intersection of experimental film, documentary, and anthropology. Her work has been shown at Riverside Art Museum, Another Year in LA gallery, Orange County Center of Contemporary Arts, and New Mexico Museum of Art with reviews in LA Times, Hyperallergic, and Huffington Post.

Janus Kopfstein. Kopfstein is a dystopian non-fiction stories about surveillance, technology, privacy and power. She writes for Motherboard, Al Jazeera, The New Yorker, The Verge, Slate and Vice.

Ilona Gaynor. Gaynor is an artist, writer and film-maker and Assistant Professor Architecture, Interior Arch and Designed Obj (AIADO) Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is also Director and Founder of research studio, The Department of No

Douglas RushkoffRushkoff is an American media theorist, writer, columnist, lecturer, graphic novelist, and documentarian. He is best known for his association with the early cyberpunk culture, and his advocacy of open source solutions to social problems. He has written ten books on media, technology and culture.

Finn Brunton. Finn Brunton is a scholar of the relationships between society, culture and information technology — how we make technological decisions, and deal with their consequences. He focuses on the adoption, adaptation, modification and misuse of digital media and hardware; privacy, information security, and encryption; network subcultures; hardware literacy; and obsolete and experimental media platforms.

Evan Roth. Roth is a US artist who applies a hacker philosophy to an art practice that visualizes transient moments in public space, online and in popular culture. In 2012, he was awarded a Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award.

Ben Grosser. Grosser is an Assistant Professor of New Media in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Faculty Affiliate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where he co-leads the Critical Technology Studies Lab.

Dr. Bathsheba Demuth. Demuth is an Assistant Professor of History, at Brown University who specializes in Environmental history, Russian & North American Arctic, Climate, Energy.

Sherrill Roland. Roland is a student in the MFA program at UNCG. In October 2013, Sherrill went to trial and subsequently lost, and 11 months later he was released from state prison in Washington, DC. Almost a year and a half after being released, he was exonerated of all charges and granted his innocence.

Rebekah Modrak. Modrak’s recent studio work explores interests in shared concerns between art and commerce – each involving questions of labor, production, and distribution. These projects include ReMade Co and critical essays on the subjects of commerce, identity, and the misappropriation of blue collar labor. These projects incorporate social media as central agents of both the content and diffusion of the work, situating this practice at the intersection of culture jamming, and critical design.

Sarah Quinn. Quinn’s research addresses the cultural and political facets of markets. She is interested in what it means to think of markets as social orders, and in exploring how markets shape people sense of what is moral, desirable, and even possible in their lives.

Mark Blyth. Blyth is a political economist whose research focuses upon how uncertainty and randomness impact complex systems, particularly economic systems, and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary. He is the author of several books, including Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford University Press.

Doug Easterly. Easterly is Head of School at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design. He an artist who combines a variety of studio techniques, including drawing, painting, sculpting, electronics and computer programming to address a wide range of interests. Most of his work is inspired by biology, evolution, mathematics and human cultures. His work has been awarded numerous prizes, including: First Place for Digital Storytelling at FILE in 2010; First Place for VIDA Art and Artificial Life in 2004 and Second Place at Transitio 04 in 2011.

Leon Gurevitch. Gurevitch is the Deputy Head of School, Royal Society Research Scholar and Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design. His current research on Weta Digital is a major three-year project, funded by the New Zealand Royal Society to study digital image industry work cultures.


HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN Participatory, Patient-Centered Design for Engaged and Experiential Learning

Human-centered design (HCD) thinking is a process which emphasizes two things: (1) “solving the right problem, and (2) “doing so in a way that meets human needs and capabilities”. HCD puts the end-user at the center of the design process, and the end-user in healthcare is the patient or caregiver. Despite this, patients and caregivers are often the neglected or forgotten user during the creation of tools, technologies, and systems for healthcare. Dr. Joyce Lee, and Professors Nancy Benovich Gilby and Matthew Kenyon co-lead the activities of HealthDesignBy.Us, an initiative to encourage patient-centered design in health. Their work includes the integration of patient/caregiver experts with interdisciplinary groups of students, faculty and staff at the University of Michigan in multiple venues to spearhead the integration patient-centered design in healthcare. This project will extend this work to provide transformative opportunities for students to create and scale engaged action-based learning experiences in the curriculum.






Designing Games for Kids with Diabetes







Design My Diabetes Solution Workshop







Diabetes Superhero Comic Book






Design Workshop for Improving Communication








Health Design Cupid Website








We #MakeHealth Fest 2014







Diabetes Emoticons










We #MakeHealth Fest 2015


Studio|Lab is a research initiative at I co-founded (with Dr. Nilam Ram) at Penn State that emerged from the idea that arts and science are complementary. The initiative provides space and opportunity for undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty to fuse their creative and experimental impulses into ideas in a wide range of fields. In its most literal sense, Studio|Lab is a “studio” for scientists to refine the aesthetic dimensions of their work, and a “laboratory” for artists to test the performance and impact of their work. Brought together, we attempt to contribute to the powerful nexus of creativity and empirical inquiry from which innovation emerges.

A study funded by the National Institute on Aging (RC1-AG035645) and Penn State Social Science Research Institute. 150 adults age 18 to 90 years provided reports about their daily lives, interactions, feelings, and health for 9 weeks between May 2010 and September 2011 – in-vivo, in real-time.

Energy Chickens is a virtual pet game that monitors energy use data collected by Plugwise devices. Each chicken represents a different appliance for which the player is responsible, and the player’s energy consumption affects the well-being of their chickens. Players log in daily to care for their chickens and to collect eggs for points. If a player reduces their energy consumption for an appliance, the chicken associated with that appliance will grow healthier and happier and will lay eggs to be collected for points. If a player increases consumption, their chickens will become sick and will not lay eggs. The Energy Chicken behavior change game will be one of several energy saving interventions implemented in commercial office buildings by the Occupant Behavior group within Energy Efficient Buildings HUB. In all cases energy saving interventions will be accompanied by behavioral response monitoring via comprehensive surveys and ecological momentary assessments