Vision LA ’15: Cimate Action Arts Festival – online exhibition day seven

Human Ecology, taught by Elektra Grant, is the first required course for Otis students enrolled in the Sustainability minor. The course is designed to engage students in the practice of collaborative, integrative and multidisciplinary research needed for creating sustainable futures while introducing them to the relationship between cultural, social and ecological systems and the current and historical critical sustainability perspectives and challenges confronting the 21st century. Students also begin to address how artists and designers can collaboratively solve these wicked problems.

As all courses in the Creative Action program do, this course collaborates with a community partner – Transition Mar Vista / Venice, “a local grassroots group on the west side of Los Angeles, with the vision of guiding our community from oil dependency to local resilience. [They] raise awareness about the problems of peak oil, climate change, and economic contraction, and seek to address these challenges through community-building projects.”

For their final collaborative projects, students choose from several challenges:
1. Plan an “enterprise” (entrepreneurial project) guided by Transition ideas
2. Design a built environment informed by localism and the 5 elements
3. Integrate Transition Movement ideas into Otis’ practices, routines and teachings
4. Integrate Human Ecology teachings and Transition/Awakening the Dreamer ideas into a Group Project idea of your choosing

Here are some examples from previous semesters…

Mohamad Hamza (Architecture/Landscape/Interiors), Lisa Waggner (Toy Design), Kijoon Shin (Digital Media), and Khanhlinh Su (Fashion Design) proposed Dreams In a Bottle, concepts for site specific planters which addressed “[Otis’] need to reduce and reuse plastic waste while encouraging community involvement in growing food.”


Miguel Nash (Toy Design), Nisha Patel (Fine Arts: Painting),  Andrea Tolosa (Fashion Design), and Raymond Tran (Architecture/Landscape/Interiors) developed their ideas for Pachamama Babies, a series of cartoon characters and plush toys/ reusable bags based on the elements of wind, water, earth and fire. “Our goal is to alter the way people perceive their natural surroundings at a young age… with hopes that their gained appreciation and competence will follow them for the rest of their lives, influencing their thoughts and decisions, ultimately pushing society in the right direction by bringing transition and resilience to the world.”


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Tyler Galt (Product Design), Pedro Girao (Product Design), Tamara Putri (Architecture/Landscape/Interiors), and Kristen Ushio (Digital Media) researched healing properties of various teas and developed a proposal for a Pop Up Tea Stand, inspired by Br+a+ce’s Mobile Farm stand in Boston.

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Vanille Fricker (Architecture/Landscape/Interiors), Anna Prewett (Product Design) and Molly Womack (Toy Design) proposed Growing Up Green, a K-3 after-school program to be held at The Learning Garden in Venice, CA.

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Projects from this semester have yet to be presented. Stay tuned in January for updates.


This post is a part of the Otis online Exhibition for Vision LA ’15 Climate Action Arts Festival.