Project by Mimi Zeiger and Neil Donnelly
#platform is both a means of production and a place to take a stand.
#platform project is a collaborative publication and act of collective criticism.
#platform’s physical documents navigate back into the city, lingering as messages.
For the past four years, participants in the School of Visual Arts Summer Design Writing and Research Intensive in New York have used Twitter to document, research, and critique the city. The social media platform acts as a productive constraint, distilling individual observations and narratives into a public, digital text.
The central concerns of #platform project are collectivity and criticism. Or, what is the future of criticism in an era when critique can be reduced to 140 characters a tweet? Participants answer the question over two weeks each summer. Every tweet is an act of collective criticism, a critical mode that uses leverages the social web for discussion of architecture, urbanism, and design. Collective criticism operates on, across, and between social platforms. It is made up of individuals, but takes its power from responsive dialogue, not autonomous authorship. Collective criticism opens up the possibility of many criticisms, rather than a singular dominant discourse.
Participants produced hundreds and hundreds of tweets, which were collectively edited into a single publication designed by Neil Donnelly—a handbill, a web-based billboard-sized projection, a broadsheet, and wall labels—to be redistributed back onto the urban realm. By physicalizing the tweets #platform reinforces criticism’s immediacy and impact.
@nicoleokay 6:48 PM – 25 Jun 2012
What happens outside this second story window in Bushwick is 100 times more interesting than the internet #platform
Participants spent two weeks tweeting design criticism and observations on the urban environment. After choosing selections of this writing, each tweet took the form of a small flyer, ready to be dispersed back into the city. The design of these flyers was determined by factors such as structure (paper color), theme (typeface), and time of day (black type or background), allowing a limited set of variables to recombine. The flyers could also be bound in any order with a stapler at the Intensive’s closing party, letting participants build another narrative of the Intensive.
@bklyndad 9:26 AM – 7 Jun 2013
It’s the kind of neighborhood that reinforces the things people want to believe about themselves, whether or not they are true.
The 2013 edition of #platform was conceived as an alternative digital platform to power a display seen from the street. A website pulls participants’ tweets randomly from an edited set, changing colors depending on the content. Projecting the site onto the windows of the D-Crit studio at night allows passers-by to read comments on design and the city, subtitling a journey across 21st Street.
@joshua_bradwell 4:37 PM – 6 Jun 2014
the voice of these streets is changing. a rich, captivating melody has become a mournful, heavy-hearted tune #domino #platform
Participants spent two weeks writing criticism (and publishing via Twitter) about four contested sites in New York: MoMA/Folk Art Museum, Penn Station/Madison Square Garden, the Domino Sugar Factory, and the New York State Pavilion. The assignment culminated in an edited collection of tweets, returned to the physical world in the form of newsprint posters and a call-and-response performance.
@LizeleElejalde 1:09 PM – 7 Jun 2015
When the story told by the exterior doesn’t match, is a wrong place or a wrong content? #platform @smithsonian
In response to the theme of how museums and galleries engage with the public, this year’s #platform took the form of wall labels. In contrast to the label’s typical function of being subservient to the art it describes, the label itself was the only content of this mini-exhibition, along with stickers designating the themes used to organize the edited set of tweets. Sets of labels were also distributed at the closing party, implicitly suggesting that they be released into the wilds of NYC, and perhaps the art spaces that prompted the commentary in the first place.
@adrianmadlener – Adrian Madlener
@AliBrownHejazi – Alexandria Brown-Hejazi
@bgibbsriley – Brandy Gibbs-Riley
@carolinetiger – Caroline Tiger
@chasetimes – Chase Stone
@danielraycole – Daniel Cole
@EmmadeCrespigny – Emma de Crespigny
@lRENECHlN – Irene Chin
@JenJoyRoybal – JenJoy Roybal
@kathievonankum – Kathie Von Ankum
@kellissima – Kelly Murdoch-Kitt
@laureneleonboym – Laurene Leon Boym
@line_ulrika – Line Ulrika Christiansen
@megan_marin – Megan Marin
@merritt_susan – Susan Merritt
@murryebernard – Murrye Bernard
@nicoleokay – Nicole Lavelle
@petite_crevette – Lauren Palmer
@WideOpenAir – Garreth Blackwell
@amerycal – Amery Calvelli
@AnneMiltenburg – Anne Miltenburg
@blaahs – Shantel Blakely
@bklyndad – John Payne
@Bonnie_Cristine or @Double_Days – Bonnie Abbott
@CarlAlviani – Carl Alviani
@delhep – Del Hepler
@Ejoii – Erica Lester
@guthrie_liz – Liz Guthrie
@lniy – Yin Loh
@katecarmody – Kate Carmody
@KathyK8wheeler – Kathy Wheeler
@katyniner9 – Katy Niner
@LeannePrain – Leanne Prain
@merxaus – Mercedes Kraus
@mawirtz – Michael Wirtz
@powpunch – Dana El Ahdab
@samanthafodor – Samantha Fodor
@sarahkpeck – Sarah Peck
@Templetonpa – Patrick Templeton
@timbelonax – Tim Belonax
@tornaben – Zack Tornaben
@vmatranga – Vicki Matranga
@bsnaith1 – Brenda Snaith
@cbbsays – Charlotte Bik Bandlien
@clarameliande – Clara Meliande
@cocabags – Gunes Kocabag
@darylmarch – Daryl McCurdy
@gabrieleor – Gabriele Oropallo
@jantjevoogd – Jan Voogd
@joshua_bradwell – Joshua Bradwell
@karabermejo – Kara Bermejo
@kingery_kingery – Josephine Kingery
@lawolke – Leslie Wolke
@LereticoTj – TJ O’Donnell
@lisamaione – Lisa Maione
@mgnellis – Megan Ellis
@mjwconway – Michael Conway
@nnarasimhan – Naresh Narasimhan
@nuglybird – Andrew Seetoh
@pat_amorim – Patricia Amorim
@reginapuma – Regina Pozo
@SMassarsk – Sara Massarsky
@squintdotcom – Renée Olson
@amishachowbey – Amisha Chowbey
@corinnegisel – Corrine Gisel
@eemaxx – Elizabeth Essner
@fimakeswork – Fi Scott
@LaubeIeva – Ieva Laube
@thejackamo – Jack Curry
@jenlaaa – Jennifer Wong
@joanngreco – JoAnn Greco
@uncommonobjet – Karen Brunel-Lafargue
@LizbethElejalde – Lizbeth Elejalde
@ManasiPophale – Manasi Pophale
@melindasekela – Melinda Sekela
@VieraNatalia – Natalia Viera
@NatePyper – Nate Pyper
@nicholasvenezia – Nicholas Venezia
@lundberg_scott – Scott Lundberg
@gShrutig – Shruti Gupta
@sparkreykjavik – Sigridur Sigurjonsdottir
@muscolino – Simone Muscolino
@tbettinardi – Tereza Bettinardi
With special thanks to Alice Twemlow.
Neil Donnelly is a graphic designer who often works with clients in architecture and art, including the Guggenheim, Yale University, Columbia University, The New York Times, Princeton Architectural Press, Petzel Gallery, Hatje Cantz, Verso, Domus, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. His work has been included in the Brno Biennial of Graphic Design and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gwangju Design Biennale, the New Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. He holds an MFA in graphic design from Yale, and he lives and works in Brooklyn.
Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and critic. She is the West Coast Editor of the Architects Newspaper and has covered art, architecture, urbanism, and design for a number of publications including The New York Times, Domus, Dezeen, and Architect. She is adjunct faculty in the Media Design Practices MFA program at Art Center and co-president of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.
www.mimizeiger.com | @loudpaper