Recent Articles:

Sculpture and Activism Unite

September 19, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on Sculpture and Activism Unite

Bottlenose Dolphin Armor

Ocean Armor Collection debuts at the aquarium of the Pacific

A nice dovetail for the 90%:Cities show

September 18, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on A nice dovetail for the 90%:Cities show

This Man Can’t Stop Innovating
The genius of Moses Kizza Musaazi: He’s an inventor, entrepreneur, fixer of things that are broken in the troubled country of Uganda.

Blue School (started by the Blue Man Group)

September 18, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on Blue School (started by the Blue Man Group)

Reimagining education for a changing world…

What is CODE:pdx

September 17, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on What is CODE:pdx

CODE:pdx is a digital crossroads hosted by students, faculty and colleagues of PNCA’s MFA Collaborative Design program. It is designed to be a node in the growing network of digital spaces where designers focused on”complex problems” can share ideas as well as work on projects in private, group, and open digital studios. CODE:pdx is one portal into the evolving set of approaches and institutions that is being generated from Portland and the Pacific Northwest in response to rapidly evolving complex problems such as resource depletion, climate disruption, equity disparity, and dysfunctional governance. The goal of the site is rapid learning and non-trivial problem solving for CODE:pdx participants and visitors.


September 17, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on Welcome!

Hi everyone! Glad you are checking out the site. Please excuse the nonsense posts, as these are part of the site test. Feel free to add projects and make posts. Right now the site might feel a little bare, that is because we are building the site together. I hope you will enjoy and find this to be a useful tool! -Joan



Summer Intensive / Integrated Design: Lower Columbia River Ecosystems

August 2, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on Summer Intensive / Integrated Design: Lower Columbia River Ecosystems
Day One:  Giving Voice to the Land – Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge


Today was an introduction to keeping a field journal, land art, and the layers of GPS mapping.  Throughout the workshop, each of these topics will be examined in greater detail.  The end result will be a broad, transdisciplinary grasp of the land.  One of the guest speakers was Judy Bluehorse Skelton of the Nez Perce Tribe, indigenous to the Idaho region.  She encouraged us to focus on the original inhabitants of Ridgefield when developing our project proposals, stressing that the region is rich with indigenous knowledge and the time is ripe for using collaboration to give voice back to the land.


A field journal was shown to us by Kimberlee Chambers.  Field journals record everything that is encountered while in the field, ranging from sights to smells and sounds, thereby preserving our observations and maintaining their accuracy.  It is important to set the stage each day by documenting several of the same key elements, such as date, time and temperature.  The recordings document measurements of the ecology as well as observations and questions:  What do you see?  How do you see it?


Art is an interpretive to nature.  Tracey Cockrell showed examples of her past work, as well as the work of other artists, that in some way represents environmental observation/conservation.  These works of art were shared with us to provide insight and inspiration as we develop our project proposals.  Below is [an example of] “The New York Earth Room,” by Walter de Maria.

 An interior earth sculpture.250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters)
3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters)
22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters)
Total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos)The New York Earth Room, 1977, is the third Earth Room sculpture executed by the artist, the first being in Munich, Germany in 1968. The second was installed at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany in 1974. The first two works no longer exist.The New York Earth Room has been on long-term view to the public since 1980. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation.

Donald Harker provided an overview of Global Positioning Systems.  By the end of the workshop, each of us will deliver our own layer of a GPS map based on our observations of Ridgefield, mapping our discoveries of plant and animal species, sights, sounds, smells, etc., and enscribing them on vellum based on the geographical location.  Collectively, we will have developed a guide to exploration of the land through the scenes of the PNCA Summer Intensive.


Tomorrow will be a full day on site at Ridgefield!
-Joan Lundell


July 23, 2012 Digital Studio Comments Off on BLIGHT: SHELTER

Feature Active Collaboration: BLIGHT MAGAZINE 

Sample preview of BLIGHT Magazine (NOTE: not all pages are included in preview) For a complete issue please fill out form below and submit.


Our first issue of BLIGHT is on the topic of homelessness.  It is an issue we are confronted with on a daily basis in Portland, Oregon, yet it remains a difficult subject to engage with for many urban dwellers. Cultural media has instructed us for many years to aspire to increased privatization  and seclusion, yet the gap between rich and poor widens unabated. The more we barricade ourselves before our own urban truths, the more we fail to address them. We believe we must aspire to be more engaged with the world beyond our doorstep, not more removed from it. This demands a change of focus.

BLIGHT bridges the gap between the cultural imperatives we consume and the urban realities we experience by hosting new kinds of conversation about perceived urban ugliness. We believe that there are lessons to be learned from inquiring the ignored and unseen.

Protected: One + One = Many

July 23, 2012 Digital Studio Comments Off on Protected: One + One = Many

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

On Innovation

July 23, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on On Innovation

 By Helen Walters, editor and researcher at innovation consultancy Doblin, part of the Monitor Group


In most companies, there’s a profound tension between the right-brainers (for lack of a better term) espousing design, design thinking and user-centered approaches to innovation and the left-brained, more spreadsheet-minded among us. Most C-suites are dominated by the latter, all of whom are big fans of nice neat processes and who pay good money to get them implemented rigorously. So often, the innovation process is treated as a simple, neat little machine. Put in a little cash and install the right process, and six months later, out pops your new game-changing innovation — just like toast, right from the toaster. But that, of course, is wrong.

Last night, Ryan Jacoby, the heads of IDEO’s New York practice, gave a talk at NYU/Poly with just that tension in mind, titled Leading Innovation: Process Is No Substitute. Jacoby’s point: processes are all well and good, but they don’t guarantee innovation, and in some cases they might even provide a false sense of security. Ryan outlined what he described as the Seven Deadly Sins of innovation, which I?m sure will ring true for most people who’ve worked on such projects. They are:

1: Thinking the answer is in here, rather than out there

“We all get chained to our desks and caught up in email,” he said. “But the last time I looked, no innovation answers were coming over my Blackberry.” You have to get outside of the office, outside of the conference room and be open to innovation answers from unexpected places. Ryan makes himself take a photograph every day on the way to work, as a challenge to remember to look around him.

2: Talking about it rather than building it

This one related to the last. At least here in the U.S., we live in a land of meetings and memos and lots and lots of discussion. Sometimes it’s more than possible that all this talk might prevent us from, well, actually doing anything. He gave a great example of an idea to bring “fun into finance?, and showed a mocked up scenario of a guy buying a pair of sneakers, at which point a virtual avatar danced on his credit card. Practical” Not the point. The unpolished prototype motivated the team and got them thinking differently.

3: Executing when we should be exploring

“This is huge for management types,” he said, going on to warn of the problem of trying to nail down a project way too early in the timeframe. “Who’s exploring” Who’s executing? Where is everyone in process??

4: Being smart

“If you’re scared to be wrong, you won’t be able to lead innovation or lead the innovation process,” he said. This is huge. Innovation is all about discussing new ideas that currently have no place in the real world. If you’re only comfortable talking about things that *don’t* strike you as alien, chances are you’re not talking about real innovation.

5: Being impatient for the wrong things

Innovation takes time, but too often executives expect unrealistic results at an unrealistic clip. Be explicit about the impact that you expect.

6: Confusing cross-functionality with diverse viewpoints

IDEO is an inter-disciplinary firm, mixing up employees with a whole host of backgrounds. That’s critical to ensuring a better chance at innovation — and it’s far different from teams that simply mix up functions. “Diversity is key for innovation,” said Mr J.

7: Believing process will save you

Here, Ryan showed a great image of vendors touting their wares at the Front End of Innovation conference in Boston. His point: you can’t simply buy your way to a soaring innovation strategy. Some of these products might be useful, sure, but they’re no substitute for real thought leadership. Having an innovation process is fine, but it’s not a guarantee of success even if it does produce some tangible product at the end. Or, as he put it, “learn the process, execute the process, and then lead within it.”

Summer Intensive

July 19, 2012 Events 1 Comment

PNCA Collaborative Design/Visual Studies (Low Res) Summer Intensive

Integrated Design: Lower Columbia River Ecosystems (Giving Voice to the Land)

August 1 – August 6, 2012

The natural and cultural resources of the lower Columbia River have progressively undergone change as a direct result of human occupation and especially so since EuroAmerican arrival. Densely populated for thousands of years by ecologically sophisticated and adaptive indigenous cultures, Ridgefield became a EuroAmerican agricultural system in the 1840’s and later, a wildlife refuge in 1965. Currently, resource managers at federal, state and local levels are challenged with designing and implementing management plans and interpretive strategies to maintain and restore desired natural resources. In addition managers must deal with ongoing changes such as the introduction or expansion of invasive species (e.g. nutria), the effects of the Bonneville Dam (completed in 1937 the dam has dramatically changed the flooding regimes of Ridgefield), and future climate change scenarios.

Through this course we will explore the following questions:
• How can design and systems thinking provide a common language to bring multiple worldviews and interest groups into a conversation about a sustainable future for the region?
• How did this place become the site we see today?
• What driving forces and constraints affect the ongoing evolution of this landscape?
• What management and design challenges does this place face currently and in the near future?
• How can paying attention to real landscapes inform the abstraction and representation of nature through various creative practices and in turn, what can these practices lend to management and design challenges?

Using the wetlands, prairies, savannas and forests of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge as representative of the greater Lower Columbia, this intensive will explore alternative management regimes and their implications for future natural / cultural resource scenarios within the context of continuous, accelerating ecological change.

PNCA Instructors:
Peter Schoonmaker, Ph.D., Chair MFA Collaborative Design, PNCA
Tracey Cockrell, MFA, Chair, Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, PNCA
Donald Harker, M.S., Systems Thinking and Natural Resource Management, PNCA

Guest Scholars:
Nancy Turner, Ph.D., Hakai Professor of Ethnoecology, University of Victoria
Judy Bluehorse Skelton, Ethnobiologist, Nez Perce Tribe
Virginia Butler, Ph.D., Salmon Archeologist, Portland State University
Kenneth Ames, Ph.D., Archeologist, Portland State University, Emeritus
Kimberlee Chambers, Ph.D., Ethnoecologist, Assistant professor, PNCA
Lauri Twitchell, MFA, Master Landscape Architecture, Printmaker, painter, visiting artist,PNCA
Peter Suchecki, MFA, Printmaking, videographer, animator, visiting artist, PNCA



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