Thanks to following people who have made Soft Publics possible while I was pursuing my MFA in Media Design at the Media Design Practices at Art Center (2009-2012) – Mike Manalo

Advisory Team:

Tim Durfee / (Lead Advisor)

Tim’s enthusiasm and support not only help guide me to get Soft Publics as a deployable system — but really pushed the research, analysis and experimentation to reveal the ideal modes of engagement for streetscape. We really worked on crafting a media system that was specially about editing the city. Both our interests in Occupy Movement’s progress and how entailed the future of public space for the contemporary city were cohesive tools in making decisions on how Soft Publics should be framed. We both agree that 2011 and 2012 revealed that typologies of public space (the city square, the right of way and parks) have immense potential for new media.

Molly Wright Steenson / (Writing Advisor)

Molly brought great insight into the research through her expertise on how technology and interactivity fit into our cities and everyday spaces. Our conversations about strategies and tactics, as defined from Everyday Urbanism, really help tailored how the deployable system will operate in streetscape. Our conversations really honed in on what was at stake from my end and those who would use the system that Soft Publics provide. From her,  I understood that it was not about being open ended in terms use of the space. Instead, it was about having a specific focus on what I really saw these spaces as — an undermined public utility that private corporations know how to manipulate, and publics can’t complete with it.

Sean Donahue / (Adjunct Advisor)

Sean has known that the strength of my work from the Grad Media Design comes from designing several iterations in community context. We worked closely on how to use iterations help us lead to issues of streetscape that  the Soft Publics may be ignoring. He really emphasized understanding the politics of space and their codes (Municipal, City, Building) were not just to determine right from wrong — but are the strategies of how one utilizes public space. We understood from this that future iterations and participants will soon reveal the power structures of streetscape. Also, even though it may be inevitable that Soft Publics could become commercialized, this media system is about leveraging the space to practice political thought and speech for publics – which was not so apparent before.

Jennifer Kransinski / (Adjunct Advisor)

The issue of time and temporal conditions on sidewalks and parking stalls were seen as conditions for new kinds of soft structures. Jennifer’s critiques would help tie in loose parts of the Soft Publics project. Whether it was to understand the usage of road construction graphics, or how the system, when deployed, should communicate from different distances and positions (pedestrian, car, aerial view), Jennifer helped finessed the details. Our conversations about ‘pulling the spectrum‘ between organic and organized,  when assembling in public space,  help define the area that Soft Publics operates in.

Research Interviews:

Valerie Watson, Takako Tajima & Amanda Geoke

These three women represent the best talent in urban design within Los Angeles for me, and they have given me so much insight from civic level, the private sector and advocacy level. I greatly admire each of them not just because of individual achievements, but also of their passion and enduring work in creating public space in Los Angeles.

Research Assistance:

Teo Biocina & Alice Hovsepian

Both of these talented architectural designers came at different times of the project : Alice in the beginning and Teo towards the end. Their craft helped so much in the details and structural logic for the the mobile panel system of Soft Publics.

An Mina Xiao, Raisa Espinosa & Brandon Shigeta

These were the brave ones that help me document the interviews and early deployments of the mobile system. Their enthusiasm and assistance allowed for so documentation to take place — and for that I am truly grateful.


2011/2012 Grad Media Design Class:

Thesis: Ricardo Bojorquez, Brooklyn Brown, Aurelia Friedland, Adam Fischbach, Chiao Wei Ho, Link Huang, Dee Kim, Matthew Manos, Salvador Orara, Rubina Ramchandani, Bora Shin, Aarti Vashisht, Jayne Vidheecharoen, Dustin York

Concept: Ji Su Choi, Jojo Chongjaroenjai, Sang-In Chung, Jeremy Eichenbaum, Will Frohn, Geoffery Ka’alani, Matthew Kizu, Jessica Lee. Katherine Miyake, Andrew Nagata, Annie Needham, John Ryan, Johanna Schmeer, Tanner Teale

Development: Greg Ahn, Ian Besler, Judy Bartek, Eric Battin, Jacob Brancasi, Walt Chui, Jeff Hall, Sangwoo Han, Shawn Jackson, Betsy Kalven, Nancy Kwon, Maria de La Madrid, Gene Lee

Chair: Anne Burdick | Director: Kevin Wingate | Coordinator: Helen Cahgn

Faculty & Advisors: Tim Durfee, Phil van Allen, Ben Hooker, Molly Wright Steenson, Sean Donahue, Jennifer Krasinski, Casey Anderson, Chris Csikszentmihalyi, Elizabeth Chin, Elise Co, Shannon Herbert, Garnet Hertz, Lisa Krohn, Mike Milley, Rob Ball