Jenna Witzleben

MFA Thesis Blog

This blog contains experiments, project and reading reflections, unanswered questions, and more relating to my year-long thesis as part of my Master's design program. From Sept. 2016 to May 2017, I explored rewilding human beings and the environments we inhabit at multiple scales including investigation around individual fears of nature, regional food production systems, and global overpopulation. The final works of this thesis can be found in my portfolio.

Speculative Objects Review

In class this week, we reviewed our speculative objects and branding (see previous post). 

One of the primary pieces of advice I was given was to think about audience and decide - is this a retreat outside of the city, is this about nature within the city, etc. I'm leaning towards the latter. One of the most interesting insights I had this summer was that we need to shift our image of "wild". Manicured parks are not nearly as wild as the dandelion growing in the cracks of the sidewalk in NYC. See good TED talk on this here:http://www.ted.com/talks/emma_marris_nature_is_everywhere_we_just_need_to_look_for_it

Spring Shower for showering in the rain

Spring Shower for showering in the rain

That being said, I think, with the right photography, all of the prototypes I created fit within this concept - the sidewalk greenhouse encouraging recognition of nature in the city, the robots acting to increase natural areas within cities, and even the shower makes sense for an urban dweller who wants to enjoy the rain in non-private spaces.

Good by Stefan Sagmeister

Good by Stefan Sagmeister

In terms of the thesis brand I was recommended to look into Stefan Sagmeister's work. He physically builds typefaces and typography. I could use moss, dirt, mud, grass, etc as my material. For a thesis about "wildness", it makes sense to have a physical/handmade typeface. 

Also this week, I had a great conversation with my therapist on my thesis. As I was explaining the area of inquiry that I am exploring, he asked about rewilding. I explained its basic goals and some examples and he quickly chimed in: "So would walking around barefoot count too?" I was thrilled. He went on to explain how he has met people who don't wear shoes and how often they have no issues with back pain. He pointed to his loafers saying "This is not normal." It was exciting to have his support and affirmation.

Jenna Witzleben