Nine faculty-led research projects funded by Graduate Studies

During its first two rounds of funding in 2012/13 the Division of Graduate Studies  funded nine research projects. Faculty research projects which received funding as a result of the first two calls for proposals are listed below. Please contact supervising faculty for further information about the projects’ content.

Project Title:  Earth/RISD Design/Build and Future Conferences Research

The summer research will focus on climatic design in the wet/dry tropics. There will be field studies including: existing schools and classroom structures, site selection and documentation at the La Flor Earth University campus, development of a schoolroom program, and research into indigenous architecture and materials.

This research will be continued through an Innovation Studio conducted by Charlie Cannon on climatic design, with the development of schoolroom architecture and landscape as the design focus. It also sets the foundation for coordination with Earth University of the building materials and suppliers for a planned classroom design/build project.

Supervising Faculty:             Charlie Cannon — Associate Professor, Industrial Design

Colgate Searle — Professor, Landscape Architecture

Patricia Gruits — Critic, Industrial Design

Research Assistants:            Julia de Jesus, Architecture

Frank Hammond, Landscape Architecture

Megan McLaughlin, Landscape Architecture

Project Title:  LoomIt

LoomIt is an innovative web-based CAD platform intended to simplify digital weaving while broadening access to the means of production and the dissemination of new textile designs and ideas. The project is entering its second year of development at RISD in collaboration with leading computer graphics and visualization scientists Kavita Bala and Steve Marschner of Cornell University.

Supervising Faculty:             Brooks Hagan — Assistant Professor, Textile Department

Research Assistants:            Nicholas Penney, Digital Media

Jerel Johnson, Graphic Design

Project Title:  A bio-molecular sensor system that detects arsenic in drinking water
This project involves the creation of a portable device that uses a novel sensor, made of proteins and DNA, to warn of harmful levels of arsenic in drinking water.

Supervising Faculty:             Peter Yeadon — Associate Professor, Interior Architecture

Research Assistant:              Marty Laurita, Industrial Design

Project Title: Graphic notation for spatial audio composition

The project involves the development of techniques, interfaces, and software for use with a new eight-channel loudspeaker array that has been acquired via a Capital Budget purchase for the Division of Foundation Studies.   At its core, the research conducted will be into spatial audio with the aim of developing new forms of graphic notation (i.e. images that perform as code/instructions) for the choreography of sound in space and the specification of immersive soundscapes.

Supervising Faculty:             Shawn Greenlee — Assistant Professor, Foundation Studies

Research Assistant:              Moke Li, Digital Media

Project Title:   Relational Aesthetics

Yuriko Saito is under contract with Oxford University Press to write a sequel to her book “Everyday Aesthetics”.  One of the chapters that Saito and her research assistant will research  is on the topic of relational art and aesthetics. This contemporary art practice is an attempt to create a social environment for people to participate in a shared activity, thereby challenging common conventions, assumptions, and expectations that have governed the art practice in the West for more than a century. There are many ways in which relational aesthetics and everyday aesthetics intersect, as well as raise questions, such as whether the boundary between art and life can be blurred or eliminated altogether, and if so, what it means for the very notion of art and its future development.

Supervising Faculty:             Yuriko Saito — Professor of Philosophy, HPSS

Research Assistant:              Joseph Vasquez, Graduate HAVC Concentrator

Project Title: Cluster for Open Data Research (CODR)

The Cluster for Open Data Research will contain 3 cross-disciplinary faculty projects focused on the creation of ‘tools’ for the “open” application and generation of data in a wide variety of contexts.  The objective of CODR is to share the work of collaboratively producing a document of research and proposals that will be seen as ‘RISD tools for the open generation and application of data’. The main focus of activity will be to conduct primary and secondary research into examples of open data ‘best’ practice, particularly with reference to Government. During and immediately following this initial inspirational work the CODR assistants and the classes will generate and document ideas for innovative tools in this area.  This work will also be used to support the Open Providence commission sub-committee on Best Practice and will be included in a November presentation to the City of Providence.

Supervising Faculty:             Andy Law — Associate Professor, Industrial Design

Cas Holman — Assistant Professor, Industrial Design

Shona Kitchen — Associate Professor, Digital and Media

Research Assistants:            David Sharp, Industrial Design

Seoung Yeon Han, Industrial Design

Nupur Mathur, Digital Media

Gefeng Wang, Digital Media

Project Title:  Experimental and lost techniques of iridescent glaze used during the Art Nouveau period

Research on the recipes and techniques for iridescent glazes that were used during the Art Nouveau period. The iridescent glazes used between 1870 and 1940 were experimental and inconsistent in nature and application. The surface effects, made by introducing flame, oxygen and racial temperature shifts were phased out during the war with the need for accuracy in production. Artists also kept these techniques secret to begin with.  The glazes will be used for a group of sculptures in progress that allude to images of the sea.

Supervising Faculty:             Katy Schimert — Ceramics, Assistant Professor and Department Head

Research Assistant:              Hosseinali Saheb Ekhtiari, Ceramics

Project Title:   Solar Sail – Origami Design for Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation

The Solar Sail is a unique combination of clean renewable energy technology with technical textiles. It uses high-strength laminated fabrics, typically used for high-performance sail-cloth material, as a substrate in which organic thin-film photovoltaic cells can be directly embedded. The system employs relatively simple fabrication methods to create a high strength, lightweight, flexible, and easy-to-assemble structure that can play an important role in both new buildings and building retrofits. Issues to be resolved in our research include: Can cost-effective integration of organic PV fabrication with conventional sailcloth manufacturing be achieved? Can desired flexibility be achieved for the solar module? In particular, how does sail deformation and applied pressure affect the power conversion efficiency of the Solar Sail? Finally, can contact uniformity be enforced over a large area? The occurrence of short-circuit paths is rendered more probable by the very thin cell geometry.

Supervising Faculty:             Jonathan Knowles — Associate Professor, Architecture

Research Assistants:            Shalini Vimal, Architecture

Alexander Diaz, Architecture

Project Title:   Data Visceralization

The conception of Data Visceralization grew from an anxiety elicited by some of the most powerful data visualizations – anxiety of as-if-in-control combined with as-if-separate. In response to a tendency toward optical and perspectival as-if-mastery of data, Data Visceralization, as a project and practice, studies dominant data acquisition and visualization strategies, structures and effects, and proposes different possibilities wherein what matters is lived experience. In the Data Visceralization research project we are working to both understand current and recent data gathering and visualization strategies and structures and their contingencies and effects, and to questions these, take the apart. We will learn from this material and consequential history and respond in part by designing and building apparatuses that render data and information palpable and experiential and real (hence the “visceralization”). These apparatuses, between the worlds of art and design and technology, will disrupt habits and support active, empathic and poetic engagement. This work may involve collaboration with non-RISD organizations as the project and student and faculty interest occasion. This RA includes research, experimental design and specific investigation exploring artistic methodologies. This RA will primarily focus on collaborative apparatus design and making, and related research. Collaboratively we will develop ways to make accessible the personally, politically, environmentally, and culturally consequential compositions of living.

Supervising Faculty:             Kelly Dobson — Associate Professor and Department Head, Digital + Media

Research Assistant/s:           TBA