Two students from the Exhibition and Experience Design MA program (EED) partnered with a student from the Fashion Design MFA program to create an interactive website. The project received a $4,000 grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Two years ago, the chair of EED, Christina Lyons, invited students from the MFA program to team up with her students and share their thesis work. EED students then designed concepts for exhibitions to highlight the fashions. One team emerged with a promising idea.
For his thesis, MFA student YunRay Chung created a series of performances on the theme of “culture shock” (he is from Taiwan), involving garments that were doused in paint and glue and exchanged between the performers. In response, EED students Tina Columbus and Chang Lee proposed a series of installations around New York at which visitors could bond, based on their shared experience of immigrating to the city. The team, which called itself “by xx,” won a grant for the proposal. When COVID-19 rendered an in-person version of the project impossible, they transformed it into an interactive website.
The result, our nyc journeys, launched in October, along with a related Instagram component. Visitors can tag places on a map of New York to contribute a memory. Chung said one participant marked the location of their first apartment, which happens to be the same block where his was. Columbus said her favorite anecdote was contributed by EED Professor Brenda Cowan, who described being in SoHo in the 1980s. Columbus said, “This is what we wanted to do—expose the multiple layers of the city.” More than 120 memories have been collected so far.
The site is still live, and the team hopes to realize an in-person version after the pandemic ends. All three graduated in 2019, and Columbus works as an experiential graphic designer for the firm IA Interior Architects. Lyons says the project proves the potential of interdisciplinary work: “Exhibition and Experience Design is an extremely multidisciplinary field, so we certainly look forward to further project partnerships across FIT.”
our nyc journeys was made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.