Media Design

Douglas Edric Stanley


I have been invited to take part in a new department at the Haute École d’Art et de Design Genève exploring the emerging field of Media Design. Anyone who reads this blog should be able to see the affinities of what I do at the Atelier Hypermédia and the announced objectives of this new department. Although officially I will be intervening in the field of algorithmic design in its various manifestations, as well as specifically in the world of experimental game design, there are many other fields that this department (and its sister department Spaces & Communication) deal with that I too dabble in, so I assume I will be working on some of those projects as well.

To head off a question I can see coming : I will not be leaving my position at the École supérieure d’art d’Aix-en-Provence. I am currently starting up some important development projects in Aix-en-Provence (more on that later as it becomes official) and so, for the moment at least, I will be intervening merely as an invited lecturer to begin with the 2009-2010 session.

However, this does mean that I will be holding a lot fewer workshops in the future. I know that these workshops are very popular, but unfortunately these intense sessions are often too numerous and more importantly too frustrating to all involved because of their transitory nature. That said, if you are looking for brilliant and motivated young artists to run workshops on art & code, or the physicalization of objects, I can (and often do) recommend a whole slew of people I have worked with and trained over the past several years who are in many ways more competant than I.

Added note to all those across the pond who are looking for a more economic means of getting a quality higher education: over here in Europe, where institutions and infrastructure still work the way they’re supposed to, higher education fees are amazingly reasonable. Although currently in France major efforts are underway to model the education system on — gulp — the American University model, for the moment these suicidal tendencies have yet to give sway. Whenever I work over in my home country I am absolutely appauled by the fees, often up in the $20,000 range and beyond. Although I’m currently paid peanuts, I at least can take some consolation in the affordable cost of studying with me (these two factors of the equation probably have something to do with each other, by the way). So comparatively, the 320€/semester of this new department seems perfectly reasonable, especially given the fact that Geneva is an amazingly expensive city, along the lines of New York, Tokyo, etc. I don’t know if those fees apply to swiss students only or are a flat rate, but whatever the case they’re definitely far less that the fees which have gone totally out of control back in the States. Given the hard times, it’s perhaps time to reset the tuition fees along with the rest of the economy.

Here is the English announcement of the two new departments. En français plus loin.

The Media Design Masters programme is addressed primarily to students / designers, principally active in the field of new digital media (interaction, internet, game design), wishing to extend and develop their practical work. It also permits creators operating in closely related fields (graphics, fashion, architectural design) to expand and question their discipline by incorporating into it the approaches, tools and the potential for expression and communication of emerging technologies.

This professionalizing programme, unique in Switzerland, aims to train designers whose skills are based on the mastery of techniques, critical reflection and aesthetic evaluation. It provides the opportunity to invent and develop mechanisms, products or applications, as well as their content, through the employment of the codes and tools specific to digital technologies and networks.

Based on the fact that digital technology is a universal intercode making it possible to unify and to create crossovers between the different fields of media design, the programme covers the whole range of visualisation, modelling and communication processes involved with the new media. The teaching, which highlights the importance of the code and programming, encourages convergence of the different media design fields to which the students’ projects bélong : interaction design, dynamic data visualisation, digital fashion design, locative and mobile media, electronic publishing and publications, digital performance and real time.

The Masters in Spaces and Communication programme is addressed to students / designers for whom space (interior architecture / space design) or visual communication (graphic design, web design, video, signage) constitute the principal fields of activity and who wish to extend and develop their practice. It also permits creators working in closely-related areas (architecture, industrial design, typography, photography) to expand and question their discipline from the angle of an overall communication incorporating the spatial components.

The programme combines the capacities of graphic design and signage with those of space design and architecture following a multidisciplinary logic and a combined practical perspective. This Masters gives priority to the field of concrete spaces while still leaving a significant place for the use of new virtual media technologies and resources. It offers the chance to experiment and to develop real, ephemeral or lasting projects, in connection with the major cultural structures, companies and economic events (forums, fairs or shows) and the international organisations based in Geneva.

The teaching emphasizes the interactions between the different professional fields : exhibition design, design of commercial spaces and services (stands, show-rooms, concept stores,…), signage and graphic design in the public space, event design and corporate identity.

These Master programmes attaches prime importance to research, and benefits from numerous institutional and private partnerships on the national and international level. Supervision is provided by versatile and multidisciplinary teams of lecturers, professionals, creators, researchers and invited contributors.

Deadline for application: 29 May 2009



Le programme Master Espaces et Communication s’adresse aux étudiant-e-s / designers, suisses ou étrangers, dont l’espace (architecture d’intérieur / design d’espace) ou la communication visuelle (graphisme, webdesign, vidéo, signalétique) constituent les terrains d’action principaux et qui souhaitent élargir et approfondir leur pratique. Il permet aussi à des créateurs actifs dans des domaines connexes (architecture, design industriel, typographie, photographie) de développer et d’interroger leur discipline dans la perspective d’une communication globale intégrant les composantes spatiales.

Espaces et Communication croise les compétences du design graphique et de la signalétique avec celles du design d’espaces et de l’architecture dans une logique multidisciplinaire et une optique de pratique concertée. Il vise à former des designers dont les compétences se fondent sur le développement de concepts spatiaux et communicationnels innovants, sur la maîtrise des savoirs et des savoir-faire, ainsi que sur une réflexion critique et éthique. Informé par les apports théoriques des sciences humaines, valorisant le potentiel créatif de chaque étudiant-e, ce master original, unique en Suisse, offre la possibilité d’expérimenter et de développer des projets réels, éphémères ou durables, en lien avec les grandes structures culturelles, les entreprises et manifestations économiques (forums, foires ou salons) et les organisations internationales implantées à Genève.

L’enseignement met l’accent sur les interactions des différents champs professionnels : design d’exposition (exhibition design), design d’espaces commerciaux et de services (stands, show-rooms, concept stores,…), signalétique et graphisme dans l’espace public, design d’événements et communication institutionnelle (corporate identity).

Le programme Master Media Design s’adresse prioritairement aux étudiant-e-s / designers, suisses ou étrangers, dont les nouveaux médias numériques constituent le terrain d’action principal (interaction, web, game design) et qui souhaitent élargir et approfondir leur pratique. Il permet aussi à des créateur-rice-s actifs dans des domaines connexes (graphic, fashion, architectural design) de développer et d’interroger leur discipline en y intégrant les démarches, les outils et le potentiel d’expression et de communication des technologies émergentes.

Ce programme professionnalisant, unique en Suisse, vise à former des designers dont les compétences se fondent sur la maîtrise des techniques, la réflexion critique et l’évaluation esthétique. Il offre la possibilité d’inventer et de développer des dispositifs, produits ou applications, ainsi que leurs contenus, en mettant en œuvre les codes et les outils propres aux technologies numériques et aux réseaux.

Basé sur le constat que le numérique constitue un intercode universel permettant d’unifier et de croiser les divers champs du media design, le programme concerne l’ensemble des processus de visualisation, de modélisation et de communication impliquant les nouveaux médias. L’enseignement, qui met l’accent sur l’importance du code et de la programmation, favorise la convergence entre différents champs du media design dans lesquels s’inscrivent les projets des étudiant-e-s: interaction design, visualisation dynamique des données, digital fashion design, médias locatifs et mobiles, édition et publications électroniques, performance numérique et temps réel.

Ces deux programmes Master accordent une importance primordiale à la recherche et bénéficient de nombreux partenariats, institutionnels ou privés, noués au niveau national et international. Leur encadrement est assuré par des équipes polyvalentes et pluridisciplinaires d’enseignant-e-s, de professionnel-le-s, de créateur-rice-s, de chercheur-euse-s et d’intervenant-e-s invités.

Délai d’admission: 29 mai 2009