speak music speak design

week 14 | Exhibition Prep

Exhibition Prep

Write a statement about the exhibition/class that can be used for posters and social media.
Collect names of participants and titles of work
Julia, Connie


Visual Identity & Touchpoints
Design visual elements that can be used for printed and online promotion. Design posters, flyer, animated gifs, ..
Eugene, Bingqian, Pele


Class Documentation
Edit a showreel that documents the work developed in class including examples of the initial assignments and the dictionary projects
Carl, Olga, Iyana


Distribute posters, flyers and use social media to promote the exhibition.
Maria, Lian , Jennifer, Zarrin, Jason, Itay, Zohar

Project Prep

Tuesday, December 12/5 will be the last time before we meet. Each group needs to bring in a prototype so we can mock-up the exhibition. This will also allow getting feed-back from the class.

Examples of exhibition poster on typographicposter.com
This poster is designed by Jon Key

week 12 | Festival of Life

Field trip Nov 14

We will meet in front of Petzel Gallery (456 W 18th St) at 12.30. In case you are late, try to find us at one of the following locations. Main visit will be David Zwirner Gallery (there might be waiting time) and we’ll wrap up at Printed Matter — an art book publishing house / shop. Make sure you read through the links and if you see your name attached to one of the shows, please be ready to give a short introduction to the class (artist, exhibition, relevance to class).


Jorge Pardo “Self Portraits”
Petzel Gallery
456 W 18th St
READ: @ Petzel Gallery


Yayoi Kusama’s “Festival of Life”
David Zwirner Gallery
525 & 533 West 19th Street
(Julia / Iyana)
READ: Festival of Life @ designboom


Chambers Fine Art
522 West 19th Street
READ: @ CHambers


Florian Maier-Aichen
303 Gallery
555 W 21st St.
READ: 303 Gallery @ artbeat


Printed Matter
231 11th Avenue
We will end here and you can take time to browse publications individually or with your group.

Even if you can’t make it to Paris this week, check out the video of William Forsythe’s Choreographic Objects
26 Avenue de l’Europe
93350 Le Bourget (Paris)

week 11 | Field Trip


On Tuesday, Nov 14th, we will meet in Chelsea to visit galleries that show work related to this class. We will meet at 12.30pm and end at 2.30pm. Meeting place will be announced once the itinerary is set.

Use the links to the left to explore what’s on this week in chelsea galleries. Select an exhibition that you would like to see and that seems connected to the class. Send the link to the gallery with a short paragraph why it is relevant to Alexis and Pascal by Friday. We will curate a list of 5-6 galleries that we visit as a class. Curation is based on themes and location of shows.

Music by Emmit Fenn, Visuals by Active Theory. (Via Pele. Thanks!)

week 9 | Final Project


Based on your research interest, find members for your final group project. Teams need to present their first ideas/drafts on Tuesday 10/31


Final Project Pitches:

Keep your presentations to a max of 15 min.
Make sure that all members of your group are actively involved in the presentation and talk to these questions:

How is your project related to the dialogue between music and design? Is there new knowledge that you will create?

Who is your audience?

What are the reasons for the channel of media / platform you select?

What is the context of this work? Are there precedents in history or current practice?

What is the role of each group member and how do you emphasize the collaboration of musicians and designer?

Why is this project meaningful to you?

How will you document your work?

What will you show at the “final exhibition”?

What is your production schedule?

MAD: Museum of Arts and Design
August 22, 2017 to February 11, 2018

week 8 | Teaching and Learning



Make sure the documentation of your dictionary is uploaded to our shared google drive. Objects should be documented with pictures. Videos, animations, websites should be uploaded as files or links to vimeo with additional screenshots. Don’t forget the written component and feel free to add your presentation and or any pictures of sketches and in-progress work.


Take more time to think about your final project. Instead of methods or media channel, think about themes and research topics. It will be more helpful to come up with a theme like “I would like to understand how neural networks in our brain work and look at it through the lens of music and design.” instead of “I want to make a video or a book”. Use this week to link reference projects (historic or contemporary projects dealing with your research topic; books; articles; movies;…) on your Instagram or SoundCloud accounts.


Think about a 30 min workshop for next week’s class. What would you like to teach your peers? Keep it simple and short and try to relate it to music or design — or at least think about a connection to one of the disciplines.

The dancing traffic light manikin.
Smart SMART campaign and great example of successful collaboration.

week 7 | Dictionary Presentations and Final Project Pitches


Nathalie Miebach uses the data of storms to create visuals and music. Her homepage | article on brainpickings | Her TED talk

by Daniel Palacios
A long piece of rope generates 3D waves floating in space by the physical action of its movement: the rope which creates the visual waves also simultaneously creates the sound by cutting through the air, making up a single element.

Microsonic Landscapes Music becomes sculpture

CITYMUSIC Pianola City Music: Playing a Cityscape as a Piano Score


Bowed violin string in slow motion
Stunning bass string shot

Recommended by Pele:
Sculpting music with Mi.Mu gloves
Imogen Heap | TEDxCERN


Tuesday, October 17th, will be divided into two segments:

12.10-13.20: Final presentation of the dictionary projects
Please keep your presentations to a max of 7 min.
Make sure that all members of your group are actively involved in the presentation and talk to these questions:
Who is your audience?
Why did you select a specific channel of media / platform?
How will this project (potentially) live in the future?
How will you document it for this class and your future path?
How did the collaboration between musicians and designer work out?
Write a project statement (using WHAT, SO WHAT, WHAT NOW — about 200 words) and upload it with a documentation of your project to the folder “05 Dictionary”.

13.20-13.30: Break

13.30-14.50: Pitch your final project ideas individually to find collaborators
You have two minutes to articulate an idea for the final project. The only requirement we have is that it addresses the intersection of design and music and that it is a collaboration that includes at least one designer and one musician. Be sure to be able to explain it in 2 minutes.
Use your Instagram & soundCloud feeds to post a picture or sound every day that is related to your Final Project idea. It can also represent a field of research you would like to explore in the context of this class.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 11.48.42 AMThis experiment lets anyone explore how machine learning works, in a fun, hands-on way. You can teach a machine to using your camera, live in the browser – no coding required

week 6 | Dictionary 2


These are the questions we worked with in class. They might help you developing your proposals.

Social Justice Panel
How could this project connect to existing communities?
How could this project create communities?
How could the audience participate/engage?
Who has access to this project and how could access be expanded?
What are strategies to document this project?

Technology/Media Panel
Which technologies could enhance this project?
How could automation (AI/Machine Learning) support this project?
Will the chosen technology still be relevant in 10 years?
Do the choices of media and technology speak to the audience?

Visual Design & Music Panel
Does the project have a strong visual/acoustic identity?
Ideas to strengthen this?
Are visual design and music represented with same weight?
What could be done to push this?
Does the project talk to an audience within both discipline and beyond those? How could this be supported
Can you think of references within the history of music or design?

Critical/Creative Thinking Panel
How does the project integrate untested and potentially risky directions? Could there be other approaches?
How does the project create new knowledge or knowledge that crosses boundaries? Are there alternative ways?
What does the audience learn about the intersection of design and music?
Is the project based on research? Do you have recommendations for additional resources?


On Tuesday 10/10 you will be using class time to work on your group projects so make sure you bring the tools you need. You’ll receive a time slot at the beginning of class to meet with both instructors.

Keep using your Instagram/SoundCloud Diaries. The lens this week is the second word/term you selected for your group to work with.

#speakmusicspeakdesign on Instagram
#speakmusicspeakdesign on SoundCloud

“Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form.”
― Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style

“Typography is two-dimensional architecture, based on experience and imagination, and guided by rules and readability.”
― Hermann Zapf

week 5 | Dictionary 1


The Dictionary

We will investigate the concept of a “dictionary” in the broadest sense. It can make use of any kind of media, including interactive, performative, printed, projected, spatial explorations. A few examples:

The Voynich Manuscript
BBC Article | High-res Scans, Yale University Library
Codex Seraphinianus
Article in WIRED magazine
All pages of the codex on facebook

THE GUARDIAN – The seven digital deadly sins

Oskar Schlemmer – The Triad Ballet
Article on Penccil
Video Documentation on Youtube (Remake 1970)

Dan and Lia Perjovschi
Economy and Collection of Care in Transition
Fischli and Weiss
History of the World


1 — The objective of the dictionary project is to compare the taxonomy of music and design. In some cases we use the same terminology for similar things in other cases vocabulary might point into opposing directions. The dictionary should be a framework that can be filled with a variety of terms.

2 — In a first step, your group creates a way to experience one term in both disciplines. You should design a prototype and mockups to present this idea to the class.

3 — Once your group decided about the final way to deliver this experience you should think about 2 other terms that could be experienced in the same way.

4 — Examples: If you design a game for your first term, you could think about two more levels of the game for two additional words. If you design a magazine for the first term, you could think about two more issues exploring two additional terms.

5 — The dictionary can be interactive, performative, printed, projected, spatial, …

Next week each group has to present a prototype to gather feedback from the class. Prepare a presentation that is not longer than 7 min and includes all members of the group.
You can include precedents, historical or contemporary context, inspiration, audience, production plan… anything that supports your proposal.

Oskar Schlemmer: Das Triadische Ballett
“The idea of presenting human beings on stage as adaptations of machines (as in Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet) soon encountered the more radical concept of a quasi-mechanical stage on which there are only forms, colours, light, sound and movement (as in Kurt Schmidt’s Mechanical Ballet from 1923).”
Documentation on Penccil

Week 4 | Translate Design into Music



SOUND LOGOS: A Sound Trademark (or audio logo or sonic logo or sometimes called a “mnemonic”) is a short distinctive melody or other sequence of sound, mostly positioned at the beginning or ending of a commercial. It can be seen as the acoustic equivalent of a visual logo. Multiple examples of Sound Logos can be found HERE. And THIS is a great video by Wired Magazine exploring the psychology of some sound logos known buy us all.

ABSTRACTION IN MUSIC: How does artistic Abstraction apply to music? Imagine how many different ways you could interpret the melody of “Happy Birthday”. Each could be its own little variation, ultimately a type of abstraction.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Work on discovering common concepts in apparently disconnected music pieces. Here’s a wild example: What do Mozart’s famous Piano Sonata No11 K331 (3rd Movement) and Hermeto Pascoal’s De sabado para Dominguinhos have in common?

EXPLORING A MUSICAL FORM (and its abstractions in a contemporary context): The classical Rondo. And two “jazz abstracions” of it:
Dave Brubeck – Blue Rondo A La Turk and Alexis Cuadrado “Vals En Las Ramas” with lyrics from a Poem of Federico Garcia Lorca (Don’t miss Miguel Zenon’s amazing sax solo at the end!)


Look at Robert Indiana’s EAT DIE 

1 – Make a plan on what musical elements can connect with the piece. Pay special attention to form, and think of what the narrative and flow of your piece are going to be.

2 – Once your piece is finished, write a paragraph of approximately 75 words in which you describe your piece and its connection to the Indiana design.

3 – Add an original “Sound Logo” to end your piece. Any musical/sound idea that you think will be the best possible sonic branding for the EAT DIE design.

4 – Submission: One minute long (approx.) music piece in digital audio format. Upload to SoundCloud. Create a text file with your name on it. Include the Soundcloud link on top followed by your descriptive paragraph. Upload it to the folder “04 Assignment Translate Design into Music” in our google docs page before class.

WNYC’S “New Sounds with John Schaeffer
“Music Inspired by Painters” Part 1Part 2 and Part 3

week 3 — Translate Music into Design


Ellen Lupton explains the grid:

Grid: An introduction and How-to by Andrew Maher (Traditional Graphic Design Grids)

Viking Eggeling: Symphonie Diagonale

More about Eggeling and his work

Oskar Fischinger: Kreise (excerpt) | Kreise Complete Realized with GasparColor| Studie Nr 8

Kreise (excerpt) by Oskar Fischinger on Vimeo
1933-34, one of the first color films in Europe, made with the Gaspar Color process.
For more on Fischinger and his work see our Fischinger Research pages at

Google celebrates Fischinger


Listen to this: Kraftwerk. Das Model.

1 – Design a grid inspired by the atmosphere/feeling of the music (black lines on white background) The grid does not have to be a “traditional graphic design grid” but can consist of organic lines, circles, shapes and be more of a pattern than an actual grid. (like this or this)

2 – Fill the grid with black color to represent rhythm and/or elements of the music.

3 – Submission: One digital image
Size: 1280×1024 pixel
Color b/w, RGB
Resolution: 72 dpi
Format: PNG, JPG
upload it to our google folder before class

There is a sample page in the shared google folder “00 Readings” called “Explore Rhythm”. Plus chapter 1 & 2 of “Understanding Comics” to explore visual language.

Plan a visit:

NY Art Book Fair