Pixnit: ICA: Design as Social Agent

Please join PIXNIT Productions for a full day of events at the ICA!

(BOSTON) The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and Boston Chapter of the AIGA, the professional association for design, present “Design as Social Agent,” a daylong event on Saturday, April 4 from 10 am to 5 pm. Bringing together speakers from the fields of design, street art, music and politics, the event frames Shepard Fairey’s work within the context of grassroots civic action, punk rock and 80’s graffiti and skate culture. A series of presentations, conversations and gallery talks will explore how concepts of appropriation, plagiarism, legality and process have been exploded.

Tickets for each of the five main stage talks are $25 or $15 for ICA and AIGA members as well as students and seniors. Ticket holders will have free access to additional programs, including gallery talks, and presentations in the Bank of American Art Lab on a first-come first-served basis. In addition, anyone who purchases tickets to all five main stage talks will receive free admission to an upcoming ICA public talk or AIGA program, subject to availability. Tickets can be purchased at www.icaboston.org or by calling (617) 478-3103.

Main stage Talks in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater

10 am Culture and Resistance
With Kevin Grady, Caleb Neelon, Vanessa Platacis (Project Director for PIXNIT Productions) and Elizabeth Resnick

Shepard Fairey's work distills many elements, drawing from the seemingly distinct worlds of music, skate culture, street art, graphic design, and fine art. Designer Kevin Grady, and Boston- based street artists Caleb Neelon and Vanessa Platacis (Project Director for PIXNIT Productions) provide a cultural orientation to frame Fairey's work, while designer, design curator and author Elizabeth Resnick explores how his work fits into a diverse and powerful history of dissent in design.

11:30 am Elegant Dissent and Anarchy
With Elliot Earls

Designer Elliott Earls presents his perspective on establishment and anarchy. How does one visualize dissent? It can take the form of a sophisticated challenge to dominant ideologies- political, religious, or cultural-or the opposite: an anti-establishment counterculture with no message. How are people responding to or acting on these images? Are designers defined by a "design canon" which determines the way they operate? Should they look beyond traditional sources of inspiration or court contradiction and chaos to produce relevant, resonant, and prescient design?

12:45 pm The Obama Effect: What Art Did for Advertising
With Pete Favat and Nicholas Blechman

“OBEY GIANT" and the subsequent "Obama HOPE" poster catapulted Fairey's work into the worlds of politics, corporations, and the mainstream media. These images were consumed and disseminated by people across the globe with startling voracity, and the establishment changed their thinking and their strategies for communicating with people previously "unreachable." Pete Favat, Arnold Advertising's Chief Creative Officer, and Nicholas Blechman, Nozone designer and New York Times Book Review art director, discuss how guerrilla marketing has taken hold and what it means for the way artists, designers, and the media operate.

2 pm Iron Fists: Branding in the 20th-Century Totalitarian State
With Steve Heller

Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State, the first illustrated survey of the
propaganda art, graphics, and artifacts of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Communist regimes of the USSR and China, explores how these regimes succeed in influencing the minds of millions. Former New York Times art director, award-winning designer, author, curator, and editor Steve Heller illustrates how the elements of visual language-imagery, typeface, and color palette-were used to "sell" the totalitarian message.

3:30 pm Something Borrowed Something True
With Kevin Grady, Steve Heller, Nicholas Blechman and Elliot Earls

Is appropriation an effective means for subversion? Kevin Grady moderates a panel discussion with designers Steve Heller, Nicholas Blechman, and Elliott Earls, examining the success of new images in comparison to subverted or altered familiar ones. What defines this practice as a design tool, and what could it suggest for the way design develops? Who defines the fine line between appropriation and plagiarism?

Each of the above talks is ticketed separately. Tickets are $25 or $15 for ICA and AIGA

All of the events listed below are free to anyone who holds tickets to one or more of the
main stage talks above.

Happenings in the Bank of America Art Lab

10:45 am Social Networking for Social Good: What Stickers, Facebook and Flickr do that Press and Advertising Don't

How can social media such as Twitter be used as an agent of social change? Laura Fitton, social networking consultant and author of Twitter for Dummies, shares her experiences using new media to raise money for a clean water initiative in India. She defines "microsharing" and discusses how it reduces the emotional and intellectual distance between people to help them become more engaged, connected, effective, and collaborative. Lean how to use this tool to raise awareness, involvement, or money.

12:15 pm The Many Mutations of Viral Marketing

Through vehicles such as graffiti murals, light projections, mobile media, parties, influencer programs, and ambassador teams, viral marketing has become a powerful force in both online and offline worlds. Social networking consultant Laura Fitton interviews members of Street Attack, an alternative and digital marketing agency, about their integrated marketing campaigns and how the latest trends, technology, and media can be harnessed to communicate social messages and more.

2:15 pm The Next Generation

Shepard Fairey's practice has blown open the ways that emerging artists and designers think about content, form, and message. Hear what the next generation of artists have learned, adapted, or rejected from Fairey's work and where it is leading them. Designer Elliott Earls will interview Boston-based artists including Brian Butler, a representative from Goldenstash, Dana Woulfe, and Kenji Nakayama. Organized in partnership with the Berwick Research Institute.

3:30 Author Talk and Book Signing: Caleb Neelon

The Book of Awesome (2009) deliberately ignores the obvious global centers of New York, Los Angeles, and London to document artist Caleb Neelon's street presence in places like Kathmandu, Sao Paulo, and Tegucigalpa. Neelon has made art on five continents, collaborating with noted street artists Os Gemeos and Andrew Schoultz, and made work in streets where he is the first foreigner—let alone street painter—to wander in quite some time. The Book of Awesome provides an overview of the work of this diverse and distinctive artist, including material relating to his Boston-based work.

10 am - 5 pm Video Box

Share your views and tell us what you think in the video box, located in the art lab. What has been answered and what has not been addressed in the day's program? Footage will be regularly projected in the theater between programs. Hear your views, share your thoughts, and have the day's speakers consider what you say.

Action in the State Street Corporation Lobby

1 pm Book Signing: Steven Heller

Author Steven Heller signs copies of Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State (2008), the first illustrated survey of the propaganda art, graphics, and artifacts of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Communist regimes of the USSR and China.

The Good, the Bad & the Runway

Student designers at the School of Fashion Design create characters and design garments that comment on the heroes, the villains, and the stars of fashion. Original graphic stencil artwork will be on display, one-of-a-kind garments will be modeled, and student designers will be on hand to discuss the meaning and the messages behind their work. This project was created and facilitated by SFD instructor and the Executive Director of Boston Fashion Week, Jay Calderin.

Gallery Talks

Hear differing perspectives on Shepard Fairey's work, and see it through the eyes of designers, artists, critics, and curator with gallery talks scheduled throughout the day.

10 am Designer's Eye: TBA
11 am Critic's Eye: Cait Curran
12 pm Artist's Eye: Vanessa Platacis (Project Director for PIXNIT Productions)
1 pm Curator's Eye: Randi Hopkins
2 pm Artist's Eye: Caleb Neelon
3 pm Designer's Eye: Rochelle Seltzer

Listen to exclusive music playlists from Brett Anthony Johnson, Interpol, Roger Miller of Mission of Burma, designers Kevin Grady and Cliff Stolze, and artists Caleb Neelon and PIXNIT, in the Poss Family Mediateque.

About the ICA

An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 70 years. Like its iconic building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas.  The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am -9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm.  Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and
students, and free for members and children 17 and under. Free admission on Target Free
Thursday Nights, 5 - 9 pm. For more information, call (617) 478-3100 or visit www.icaboston.org.