Tag Archives: 95-4

Wild About Boring Things

Vanessa Ritz (Art ’18)

I have realized that I am falling in love with microwaves. This is one of those unexpected things in life. I used to believe that microwaves were deadly inventions that I would never use. I was that person that would spend an hour convincing you that the radiation coming off of microwaves is basically killing humanity. There is always that person. Bitches.

I had this image of microwaves being house- hold death rays. Just an easy way out. I don’t trust things that are too easy. I feel like this has a lot to do with childhood. I never liked cartoons or kid shows but I really liked Emeril. For those of you who don’t know, I’m talking about Emeril Lagasse. For obvious reasons there was no plush toy, so I had the apron. Emeril had a cooking show that I became hooked on. It’s called Emeril Live and it came on Food Network.

Note: At the ripe age of eight, I got tickets to see the show live and I met Emeril. He held my hand and gave me a chipwich. You can bet I still have that wrapper.

This slight obsession led to many more cook- ing show addictions and I got a false idea of how food is made and microwaves really weren’t how they did things. This explains why I didn’t realize how useful they were sooner, but it only justi es some of my igno- rance. The rest is on me.

It’s kind of crazy that I deemed microwaves impractical because they are so practical. They embody practicality. I aspire to be as practical as a microwave is. It’s the little things like its speedy sweet-potato-cooking and ability to steam all vegetables, even the tough ones such as broccoli. Microwaves are so much more than a way to heat up food. You can use microwaves to completely cook raw food and make dinner in less than ten min- utes. Ef ciency at its nest. Microwaves.

Nixon & A New Book: Topics of The Great Hall

Matthew Grattan (ChE ’19) 

I don’t always go out on a Wednesday night but when I do, I go see a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist chat with an expert on the Watergate scandal. After a brief introduction by Acting President Bill Mea, Bob Woodward and Timothy Naftali took the stage of the Great Hall on October 14. Woodward—now an associate editor at the Washington Post—covered Watergate with Carl Bernstein for the Post. Naftali directed the Richard Nixon Library and Museum and is now a historian at nearby NYU.

The discussion and Q&A session promoted Woodward’s eighteenth book, The Last of the President’s Men, which detailed the story of Alex Butterfield. Butterfield, a close aide of President Nixon, is known for exposing Nixon’s taping system to the US Senate.

For those (like me) who were hardly a thought in their parents’ minds when Watergate was breaking news, Woodward and Naftali brought to light a new dimension of Nixon seldom mentioned in history class.

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Continuing the Conversation: Gender Identity through History and Humanity

By Mary Dwyer (ChE ’19)

Bring Your Own Body Juliana Huxtable - Photo by Winter Leng ChE '18

Photo By Winter Leng (ChE ’18)

A review of “Bring Your Own Body: Transgender Between Archives and Aesthetics.”

The 41 Cooper Gallery offers complicating, eye opening perspectives on the discussion of gender identity in its latest exhibit: Bring Your Own Body. Curated by Jeanne Vaccaro, a postdoctoral
fellow in gender studies at Indiana University and a scholar at the Kinsey Institute, and Dean Stamatina Gregory, Associate Dean of the School of Art, the exhibit raises contemporary gender conversation on a campus that values what Gregory calls “the intersection of art making and social justice.”

The exhibit connects the scientific, biological, and legal aspects of gender definitions—archives—with the reality of gender
experience—aesthetics. The links between the archive and the aesthetic complicate and provoke a novel understanding of gender identity and reveal some foundation for its tension in society. By juxtaposing the historical implications of gender identity and the overall human experience of gender identification, the exhibit traces the roots of the discourse about gender and provides an understanding of the gender conversation as it exists today.

To further incorporate dialogue into the exhibit, the gallery hosts various events. Some of the events are performances that are part of the exhibition itself. This includes a reading by Juliana Huxtable, which took place on October 29, and the DISCOTROPIC performance by niv Acosta, which was filmed on October 22 and will be on view at the exhibit after editing. Other events provide context to the exhibit’s archival work; these include Amos Mac’s discussion on Original Plumbing and the Visual AIDS event on the legacy of downtown artist Chloe Dzublio. Gregory comments, “All the events activate the works on view, bringing bodies, conversations, and energy into the space, and they situate the exhibition in a necessarily broader historical and performative context.”

On October 29, Juliana Huxtable sat on a phallic couch in the basement of 41 Cooper Square dressed in all blue. The gallery was filled with people: the front row with members of the public: artists, followers and member of the transgender community, while Cooper students filed onto the floor in the back corners of the room. Huxtable twirled her curly hair and waited to for her introduction:  “Juliana Huxtable is a poet, artist and DJ. Her multimedia work explores the fragmented, mutating and mutable nature of identity, utilizing race, gender, and queerness as mediums to explore the possibilities of a post-identity politics.” Once handed the microphone, Huxtable played with some sound equipment at her feet.

“Uhh, I am going to read some stuff I’ve been working on.” She stated humbly, simply—but played an effect over the microphone so her voice echoed with every breath she took, every stutter she made, and every chew she took of her gum. She fumbled around with some papers before her, and then began to speak.

Huxtable coupled thought-provoking fragments with pauses and echoes that gave the audience time to digest the complexity of what she was saying. The fragments were complemented by run-ons that took her story to a new place, a new level of understanding. Her work showcased exactly what the exhibition represents: a comment on contemporary society through some reflection on society’s past.

Huxtable’s reading is one of many examples of the artistic demonstrations taking place in the 41 Cooper Gallery. The “Bring Your Own Body: Transgender Between Archives and Aesthetics” exhibition will be open every Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm to 7pm until November 14. Contribute to the important conversation by stopping by.

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Faces of Cooper: Alexander Tochilovsky

By Brenda So (EE ’18) Photo by Kelsey Mitchell (Art ’18).

The Pioneer sat down with Professor Alexander Tochilovsky, known to many students simply as Sasha, about his experience as a former Cooper student and his advice for students attending Cooper Union today.

What can you tell us about you?

I was born in Odessa, Soviet Union. When I left in 1989, it was still Soviet Union, so technically right now it is Ukraine. I was 12 when I left. And then I grew up in Brooklyn, went to high school in Murrow. And then got to Cooper in 1996 and graduated in 2000.

Tell us about your education and professional background.

I got my BFA at Cooper. I focused on design and photography, but mostly on design. I then worked for the Design Center in Cooper, which does most of the design work for the school. I also do a lot of work for pro-bono and non-profit clients out there. Once I graduated from Cooper Union in 2000, I continued to work in the Design Center for a few years and then went got my Master’s degree from Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan. Within a year I came back to New York, I was asked to teach a course here in
Cooper. I have been teaching in Cooper since 2007. And then about four, five years ago, a position at the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography opened up. I applied and was selected to be the curator.

What classes do you teach at Cooper?

I teach two undergraduate courses: two-dimensional design, which is part of the foundation year, and typography, which is mostly geared towards sophomores in second semester and
juniors. It is a co-requisite for advanced design courses.

When did you learn about the Cooper Union?

I think a lot of people have had similar experience. Cooper is such a small school with an amazing reputation that works through organic channels from people to people. I learnt about it from one of my high school teachers. During the summer between 11th and 12th grade, I got a flyer for Cooper Union’s Summer Outreach program for high school students, which sounded pretty interesting. In the first day of the program, Cooper just blew me away. It was a really magical moment. It was a great experience, just being part of the high school program, being part of the fabric of the Cooper Union.
I applied to Cooper in 12th grade. I didn’t think I had a big shot — I knew how competitive it was. But I was really hoping that I could get to be here and I was fortunate enough to be admitted.

Can you talk about your role here as a professor and a curator?

I teach typography in the School of Art. Typography is fundamental to graphic design. Without a good sense of typography, graphic design is very difficult to do well. What I try to do is to teach the mechanics of typography, on how to make good decisions when choosing types. Everything in design is communication, and communication happens predominantly through language. In a word, typography is the shaping of language.

What I try to do is make sure that students are considering things they weren’t previously aware of. The collection here has so many examples of really good typography, and very often I will bring work to class to show examples. Once in a while I would also have session in the Lubalin Center. Any time the Lubalin Center is open, Cooper students can come in and use the resources. This is a collection of graphic design with all sorts of media. Design is relevant to pretty much every industry, and so we have examples of a lot of material that covers different centuries, industries and cultures. For people who are interested in humanities and architecture, there are a lot of things here that are of potential use and potential interest.

I am trying to see how we could find ways to engage the other schools. We’ve been working with the architecture school for a bit, to try to get students there to be aware of what we have and see if it is useful. We are also trying to find ways that it might be interesting
and relevant to the engineering department and humanities department.

How did you interest in typography arise?

My interest in graphic design came from being in Cooper, specifically in the Lubalin Center. One year, I helped with the end of year show installation and part of that happened in the Lubalin Center. After the installation, I asked if there was a possibility for me to work during summer, and they said yes. However, I had just been through the foundational course, and design is something you start in sophomore year. I had no connection to design yet, except for
being in the Lubalin Center and accessing this amazing design work, but something clicked.

I was really interested by the books and magazines that I kept seeing and their sensitivity and composition really spoke to me and made me want to do design. I worked in the Lubalin Center for two years. It really changed my perspective of graphic design. And that’s something I do as a curator here, trying to help students make this connection. There is so much to learn from this material and it really is a way to actualize design history. Design pieces have a timeline, of the people working on it, their contributions to the piece, and so on. There’s something really amazing about holding the actual object you’re studying. And we have so many of these famous pieces of graphic design. You can see what size they are, the paper they’re printed on, every decision that the designer made. There’s a huge paradigm shift when you can see that.

What do you love most about your job?

I love my job. It’s really nice to be surrounded by this stuff. It’s really inspirational. I like knowing more about the pieces we have in the collection. If I find out more information, it means that other people would find out more information. Design is very rarely a one-person task. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were teams of people involved in making up the work, and it’s always very hard to know exactly who contributed. The famous names are the ones that people know, but there’s always a few other people involved. I enjoy identifying some of those people that were involved. And many of them were Cooper graduates and that’s a really great thing for me to find. That’s a very inspirational thing for me and it keeps me going.

“I think it’s important to look at history. As a designer, you’re looking forward and going forward, you’re going to make new work.”

Any advice to give to Cooper students, especially those who want to go into design?

A lot of times there’s a drive to make something different, and that’s simply inevitable. It’s a very natural feeling. I remember having the exact same thoughts when I was graduating from school.

When you look forward, I think it’s important to also realize you need to look back. There’s a less useful way of looking back by trying to copy or mimic things — that’s not what I’m recommending. Instead, there’s a more nuanced way of looking back, to find inspiration in how people make decisions. A lot of the Cooper graduates who changed the design field made those impacts due to a certain mindset that was imbibed here at Cooper. That’s the way that this institution is different from other institutions. It made them go about their craft in a slightly different way and they made a name for themselves. There’s a lot to be learned from those people, especially here at Cooper.

It’s not only looking at work for the aesthetics but also researching what they did and how they did it. For instance, Herb Lubalin did a lot of work for clients who did not have any money. But he also maintained creative control over those projects. A lot of ethical choices he made are still really relevant and designers could start looking for those moments to help them make their career stronger. It’s not just about the money. It’s about the ethics and doing good work and making sure there’s healthy balance.

You mentioned that some designers’ efforts are not fully acknowledged after creating their pieces. Do you have any advice for students to avoid falling in this trap?

It has a lot to do with the politics in the design studio. Today, many design studios have changed and adapted – a good example is Pentagram. They publish a lot of the work online on their website and they credit everyone who is involved. If that culture is not part of that company, then it gets a little tricky.

With the internet, designers have their own personal website and are able to show their own work. Information dissemination is much more democratic than it used to be.

What are your hobbies?

I played soccer since childhood and I actually played for the Cooper soccer team all four years, and I pretty much stay active and I play soccer every week.

The other thing I am really interested in is music. I spend a lot of time
collecting records, seeking out stuff. I don’t go to shows as much as I used to, but it’s definitely a big part for me since it helps me work. I cook a lot too, regardless whether or not it’s a hobby.

Midterm Mixtape!

Brandon Quinere (CE ’19) 

The Pioneer polled everyone about their favorite tracks to listen to while they prepare for midterms. Based on your submissions, we have curated the ultimate study playlist to get you through.

1. “Circle of Life” (from The Lion King Soundtrack)

With this iconic tune on rotation, your GPA will rise just like Simba rose to the top of Pride Rock to lead the animal kingdom.

2. David Bowie – “Life on Mars?”

Perhaps David Bowie’s critique of pop culture and the media will motivate you to close out of that Netflix tab and finally get crackin’ on those study guides.

3. Bonobo – “Cirrus”

The bells on this track were basically made for timing your page turns perfectly to the beat.

4. Jeremih – “Birthday Sex”

If you replace every mention of a girl in this song with a textbook, then you have Jeremih’s ultimate anthem to figuratively fornicating the very concept of knowledge itself.

5. Britney Spears – “I’m a Slave 4 U”

The pop princess’ ode to fully understanding the exam material: “Get it get it, get it get it (WHOOOA) / Get it get it, get it get it (WHOOOOOA)”

6. Gwen Stefani – “Hollaback Girl”

With this song ready on the queue, that “B-A-N-A-N-A-S” hook won’t be the only thing that’ll be stuck in your head! (Hint: it’s the proofs you need to remember for the exam.)

7. Childish Gambino – “IV. Sweatpants”

Nothing pumps up a ruffled college student more than a good old-fashioned banger. This one definitely does the trick.

8. Frank Ocean – “Pyramids”

This song is essentially made up of at least three different songs, leaving you with enough different soundscapes to surely fit your focus.

9. Nas featuring Lauryn Hill – “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” 

That moment when you finally understand that one theorem you stared at in confusion for hours? Let this collab be the background music for that cathartic moment.

10. St. Vincent – “Strange Mercy”

In all honesty, Annie Clark’s voice alone is the ideal soundtrack for reviewing all those damn problem sets.

11. Radiohead – “Everything in Its Right Place” 

“Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon,” Thom Yorke sings on this Kid A classic. But tomorrow, you’ll wake up ready to fill in those blue books!

12. Smash Mouth – “All Star”

We should all aspire to be the sharpest tools in our respective sheds. Aspire for that goal with this quintessential jam.

13. Lil B – “Im Paris Hilton”

Who better than the Based God himself to bless you during these hectic weeks?

14. twenty one pilots – “Stressed Out”

If you feel those long hours studying at the library didn’t really do you any good, at least you have a good beat to shamefully walk back to your dorm to.

15. Cole Porter – “Anything Goes”

It’s the day of the exam and you’re still
cramming? This classic jazz standard is the definitive IDGAF anthem.

Check out a Spotify playlist of these songs!

New Dorms Open Forum

By Ruchi Patel (ChE ’18)

On Sunday, October 18, Director of Housing David Robbins hosted an open forum for Cooper Union students residing at 200 East 6th Street to discuss the 2015-2016 agreement with Marymount regarding Cooper Union’s occupancy of four floors of the building: floors 7-10. Robbins sought to receive feedback from the residents regarding their living experiences and to hear  concerns that could be realistically addressed by the building management in the near future.

Many expressed dissatisfaction with the space, claiming that they were not getting enough for their money. Double rooms at the new dorms range from 120 to 140 sq. ft., while those at 29 Third Avenue are more consistent and average 156 sq. ft. Kitchenettes are squeezed into corridors, while bathrooms are luxuriously large for city standards. When it comes to costs, old dorm residents pay $11,560 per year for a double room and $12,600 for a single room, whereas new dorm residents pay $15,500 for a double and no option for a single room.

Some suggested that building management install shelves on the walls to offer more communal storage, especially near the kitchen area or in the bathroom, which has more than enough space for shelves that do not get in the way of basic bathroom use. Many complained about the fridge space, since the suites came with mini-fridges. Some complained about fridge even after having a mini-fridge and a three-fourths fridge installed in their room as Marymount’s response to fridge complaints. Floor 7 residents were specially troubled by the terrace area, which not only takes up living space that is otherwise available on other floors, but is also a nuisance when Marymount hosts events that are loud and interfere with busy and always-studying Cooper students. A suggestion made was to avoid leasing Floor 7 in future dealings with Marymount Manhattan.

But the new building did not receive only criticism. Catherine Wolfe (CE ‘17), from Washington state, expressed her preference for the Marymount dorms as a convenient option for
students not originally from the tri-state area. For her, finding an apartment during the summer was a hassle, and not worth the effort. The dorms are, in contrast, ready for move-in at the start of the school year. In fact, when Robbins asked if the agreement with Marymount should be continued for the 2016-2017 academic year, residents gave almost unanimous support, as long as future residents are shown the building prior to signing the lease. This was not possible this year due to ongoing construction of the building up until move-in day.

Robbins did mention that the old dorm could not accommodate the interest in housing from the freshman class this year, and that is unlikely to change next year. By leasing out floors of the building, Robbins is pressured to fill the floors with students, but he would rather have the floors as an option for first-year students than to deny housing to those who are not yet ready for off-campus housing or are unable to apartment-hunt prior to the academic year.

Whether the Marymount Manhattan building should be offered as an option to Cooper students next year is still in discussion and will depend largely on student input.

Zeta Psi Halloween Party

By Giovanni Sanchez (ME ’18) 

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Photos by Sage Gu (CE ’19) 

To celebrate Halloween this past week and blow off steam from the horrible midterms we all endured, Cooper Union had the club go up, on a Tuesday. At this year’s Zeta Psi annual Halloween party, which was, yes, on a Tuesday, Cooper Union students threw down at the well-known nightclub, Webster Hall. I was glad to see that there were so many of you (a total attendance of roughly 90-100 people), despite the fact that it was a regular weekday and we all had stuff to do. While I was there I saw vampires, minions, angels, devils, koalas with trees, civil engineers, a wolverine and a lot of Taylor Swift’s bad blood girls. However, the award for best costume went to Nish Patel (CE ‘16) because of the aura of success he carried around with him as Donald Trump (Make America Great Again!™). The music was extra hype thanks to Cooper’s very own DJ DGav who kept everyone going until Webster Hall could no longer handle the fun, and Zeta Psi could no longer handle the cost.

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