Exhibition

  • Design and Making in the Trinidad Carnival: Histories, Re-imaginations, and Speculations of Computational Design Futures
    Vernelle A. A. Noel
    Curator
  • GRANTEE
    Vernelle A. A. Noel
    GRANT YEAR
    2021

Vernelle A. A. Noel, “The Boat,” 2021. Galvanized Wire, 32 x 16 x 8 in.; “Recursion,” 2021. Galvanized Wire, 39 x 27 x 11 in.; “Explosion,” 2021. Galvanized Wire, 18 x 13 x 17 in. Courtesy the artist. Photos: Vernelle A. A. Noel

The Trinidad Carnival is a cultural design practice through which people express their creativity, aesthetic sensibilities, and craftsmanship around the world. Wire-bending is a sophisticated craft practiced in this Carnival where wire and other linear materials are bent with hand tools to create kinetic structures that can be up to 20 feet tall. Unfortunately, this craft practice is dying. The Design and Making in the Trinidad Carnival exhibit showcases archival photos of artifacts in the carnival between 1940 and 1960 and traces the craft’s evolution to reveal tectonic innovations. It also presents new imaginations for design, interaction, and fabrication of architecture that include non-digital computational tools, novel software, computer-controlled machines, robots, and computer interactions. The exhibit presents an evolution of design—from past to future—and argues that computation and computing can remediate and reconfigure dying crafts for new design pedagogy, practices, and architecture.

Vernelle A. A. Noel is a computational design scholar, architect, artist, and founding director of the Situated Computation + Design Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research examines traditional making, digital design and fabrication practices, interdisciplinary creativity, and their intersections with society. One of her areas of expertise is the cultural practice of Carnival and its embedded crafts for novel expressions, manufacturing systems, and digital media in design, architecture, and pedagogy. Noel is a recipient of the 2021 DigitalFUTURES Young Award for exceptional research and scholarship in the field of critical computational design. Her 2015 TEDx Talk is titled, “The Power of Making: Craft, Computation, and Carnival.” She was a keynote speaker at ACADIA 2020, and has been featured on Madame Architect. Noel has been a researcher and educator at the University of Florida, Georgia Tech., Penn State, MIT, the Singapore University of Technology & Design, and has practiced as an architect in the United States, India, and Trinidad & Tobago.