DDS: More than a Studio



I first entered the Digital Design Studio--more commonly referred to as the DDS--on my first day of Photo I earlier this month. It was not until I began writing this piece that I learned it was a new facility at Wes this year. Located right next to the DAC and currently hosting six classes in four professional quality spaces (a photography studio/lab, digital production studio and meeting room), the space as described by its coordinator, Christopher Chernier, is a “focused curricular workspace that aims to bridge the divide between arts and technology at Wesleyan.”

The space aims to successfully integrate design into various departments on campus, promoting design in all its manifestations. A telling example of this, as noted by Mr. Chernier, is the Luke de Bois exhibition, In Real Time, currently showing at the Zilkha Gallery, which utilizes data to create maps, scores and videos to explore broader questions of artistic agency, privacy and fair use. This exhibition embodies the central future goal of the studio: to thoughtfully combine historical background with practical design to engage in issues that are important to the Wesleyan community and to approach them with “design thinking” solutions. The DDS acts as a merger between traditional art and modern practices, facilitating work done in the CFA.

Modern technology will give CFA students a time-efficient arsenal of solutions to amplify and accelerate their work via the creation of prototypes with the 3D printer/laser cutter, developing a rendering on Adobe Illustrator, or editing images in Lightroom. Although not open to students outside of the curricula hosted in the space, Mr. Chernier hopes that looking forward the DDS will be able to expand in size and offerings, democratizing creative technology throughout the Wes community and opening digital design, a predominately male-dominated field, to all genders and identities.