The 2012 Parsons Thesis Site

As curatorial hunter-gatherers, we’re always on the lookout for new and unseen talents, and there’s no better place to spot them than at school thesis shows. But as workaholics who seldom have time to leave our home offices, much less attend these shows, they all too often remain off-limits to us. It’s a rare yet celebrated occasion any time we’re either sent a clear, comprehensive accounting of projects by graduating students, or become aware of a website that successfully catalogs them. Last week, we received an email from Parsons with just such a treat — the new multi-disciplinary Parsons thesis site, part of the two-year old Parsons Festival which flings open the doors of the school to the public each May for three weeks of exhibitions, workshops, and fashion shows. Grateful to have access to the event’s couch-potato version, we sifted through all the projects on the site and found the six we liked best: humorously cloying photographs of weird dollar-store finds by Antonia Basler, a series of poured-concrete side tables made in fabric molds by Isaac Friedman-Heiman, dresses that pay homage to Muybridge and Noguchi by Kaoru Oshima, photos by Charlie Rubin that blur the line between the real and the artificial, and minimalist versus maximalist origami garments by Yingshi June Lin and Si Lu. Have a look at the slideshow here, which is annotated with selections from the students’ thesis statements, then clear your calendar for next May so you’ll have no excuse not to join us at next year’s festival.

Antonia_Basler_9785902697_Dollar Store Series_Untitled06

Antonia Basler, Dollar Store: “Through photographing images and materials acquired from dollar stores, I am looking to explore the ways in which a visual index can be organized.”

Antonia_Basler_9785902697_Dollar Store Series_Untitled02

Antonia Basler, Dollar Store: “The intent of the work is to create situations that obscure the function of a readily available product for the purpose of making an aesthetically appealing photograph.”

Antonia_Basler_9785902697_Dollar Store Series_Untitled20

Antonia Basler, Dollar Store


Isaac Friedman-Heiman, Kreten Objects: “Concrete is the ubiquitous material of the built environment; our engagement with it in the city is constant. Common perception and understanding of concrete is limited by the vocabulary of our experience. Kreten Objects look to explore the latent potential of concrete to redefine our relationship with the material.”


Isaac Friedman-Heiman, Kreten Objects: “Using fabric-formed fiber-reinforced concrete, Kreten Objects presents a unique model for producing distinct one-off furniture pieces.”


Kaoru Oshima, Human Figures in Motion: “My collection is inspired by human figures in motion. I was collecting images by taking pictures of people in public spaces in New York and making collages. I became fascinated with making clothes based on those collages.”


Kaoru Oshima, Human Figures in Motion: “I was also inspired by sculptures by Isamu Noguchi, who also depicted human figures in motion. I found the connection by coincidence.”


Kaoru Oshima, Human Figures in Motion: “I worked on the designs from a 360-degree perspective to achieve unexpected perspectives from the front, back, and two side angles."


Charlie Rubin, Strange Paradise: “This project is the subconscious result of growing up in the United States during the shift in our daily lives from the analog to the digital. The images in this piece subtly explore the artifice of photography and place.”


Charlie Rubin, Strange Paradise: “Some images are altered in a process of adding inks on top of the photographic prints. When paired with images not marked at all, a disruption of the image becomes more apparent. The jump between what’s real in the photograph and what is natural plays out in the viewer’s mind. Mimicking of objects ensue, and the facture of the photo is blurred.”


Charlie Rubin, Strange Paradise: “Echoes of past cultures are present and the vernacular of common objects in the American landscape are dissected.”


Yingshi June Lin: “Mass production has brought the people of China prosperity and a higher standard of living. My designs are a reflection of a generation who see boundless opportunities and access to a global marketplace. I see beauty in the efficiency of repetition used in mass production. This concept is iterated in all aspects of the collection.”


Yingshi June Lin: “In the design process, I digitally multiplied and layered photographs of my draping on top of one another. In actualizing the concept created in the virtual world, careful design choices were made such that myriad of dimensions are formed by folds and layering. The combinations of layered fabrics create multiple shapes and various intensities of colors.”


Yingshi June Lin: “At first glance, one cannot discern exactly how much detail and complexity go into each piece in the collection. However, as one looks closer, more and more is discovered, especially for those with sharp eyes.”


Si Lu, Norwegian Wood: “I believe we can see ourselves in nature. The Haruki Murakami novel Norwegian Wood inspired my collection. The story is about nostalgia, loss, and the sexuality of a younger generation. I was deeply drawn to the way the author used Norwegian Wood as a metaphor to depict the mysterious, paradoxical, and solitary world of human nature.”


Si Lu, Norwegian Wood: “Throughout this collection, images of trees and their branches, holes, knots, and textures became motifs for alien creature-like prints… As tree patterns are revealed from the interior folds of the white origami, the textiles and shapes portray a three-dimensional metaphor: Human nature is a shell of endless solitude holding intense emotions inside.”