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Insights Viewing Party: Martine Syms

Tue, Mar 18, 2014 6:45 PM - 9:00 PM
Blend Studios
338 North Milwaukee Street
Suite 501
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202

Meet Martine Syms, a graphic designer, “conceptual entrepreneur,” net artist and thinker examining the shifting boundaries of business and culture. Co-presented by the Walker Art Center and AIGA Minnesota.


NOTE: This event is FREE and open to the public. Please register in advance to ensure your spot, as space will be limited to the first 20 attendees. Email with any questions.

Martine Syms is an LA-based graphic designer and thinker who examines the assumptions of contemporary America and ways that identity and memory are transformed by the shifting boundaries of business and culture. Her work explores themes as varied as Afrofuturism, queer theory, the power of language, and the spiritual nature of the color purple. The topic of her recent SXSW presentation, "Black Vernacular: Reading New Media Art," asked the questions: "What does it mean for a black woman to make minimal, masculine net art? What about this piece is 'not black'? Can my identity be expressed as an aesthetic quality?" From 2007 to 2011, Syms was co-director of the influential Golden Age project space in Chicago, where she organized dozens of cultural projects and initiated a publishing program of young, emerging artists. She has collaborated with artists Paul Chan and Theaster Gates, created web design for fashion retailer Nasty Gal, created a branding and marketing strategy for nonprofit group Summer Forum for Inquiry + Exchange, and runs Dominica Publishing in her spare time. Her work has been exhibited at venues such as the New Museum (New York), MCA Chicago, Capricious Space (Brooklyn), and the Soap Factory (Minneapolis). Syms is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in Film, Video, and New Media. In her new Insights talk "Black Vernacular: Lessons of the Tradition," Syms will describe her connection with the black radical tradition, using poet Kevin Young's ideas as a framework to understand her own design practice and strategies of code-switching.

Co-presented by AIGA Minnesota and the Walker Art Center, the Insights series brings leading designers from around the world to the Walker in Minneapolis to share the thinking, methods, and processes behind their work. AIGA Wisconsin has partnered with Blend Studios to host live viewing parties, as an opportunity for designers and the general public to follow this reputed lecture series in the context of a local studio. A big THANK YOU to the good folks at Blend for allowing us to use their space!

Martine Syms
Martine Syms | Title slide from Black Vernacular: Reading New Media

Martine Syms
Martine Syms | Nasty Gal web design, 2013

Martine Syms
Martine Syms | Film still for the cover of Most Days LP, 2014

Martine Syms
Martine Syms | 12 Ballads for Huguenot House

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