5 design things to do this week

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This week, examine the future of LA housing, marvel at human-robot interaction, eat dinner in the iconic Schindler House, enjoy African fashion design, and visit Santa Barbara for shows of picture book art and ceramics.

1 ) Radical Optimism Part 3: How We Live – Is the vision of the “California Dream” a sustainable model for growth? 

People originally came to Los Angeles for the great weather and open space. But as the city continues to grow, the promise of open space is a dream of the past. The panel will discuss the recent elections and ideas for designing and building housing in Los Angeles in the reality of a mega-city struggling to sustain its booming population. Panelists include Barbara Bestor of Bestor Architecture, Wendy Kaplan of LACMA, Mark Vallianatos, director of LAplus, and Shane Phillips, policy director for Abundant Housing LA.  DnA host Frances Anderton will moderate.

When: Thursday, March 23, 7 pm

Where: Platform, 8850 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Tickets: Free and open to the public.  RSVP here.

From Valley of the Dolls to Ex-Machina, Hollywood has explored the relationship between humans and human-like machines. Unbelievably, these are now the big, real life philosophical questions of our times.
 2 ) Uncanny Valleys: Thinking and Feeling in the Age of Synthetic Humans

Hi Siri, OK Google, Alexa… as we get more and more comfortable with our virtual ‘robots,’ scientists are working hard to bring robots ‘to life,’ or at least to life-like form, with facial expressions, thought processes, verbal tics and other aspects that make these machines appear to be “human.” In addition to technical design challenges, there are also philosophical questions about how to guide our interactions with synthetic humans. “Uncanny Valleys” will be a discussion with leading creators of human-like machines and science historian Jessica Riskin (“The Restless Clock”) about the future of artificial life and new pathways for human-machine interactions. You’ll also have a chance to explore an interactive showcase of human-like machines and virtual agents currently under development at leading research labs and technology companies.

When: Thursday, March 23, 4 – 7 pm

Where: Doheny Library, USC, 3550 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Tickets: Free and open to the public.

The iconic Schindler House turns into a supper club at this Foodshop dinner series.

3 ) Foodshop Supper Club dinners at the Schindler House

Foodshop of Venice has concocted this fabulous dinner series in conjunction with MAK Center to support the repair and restoration of the iconic Schindler House.  It’s one thing to tour an architectural gem, but to sit and linger and enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures (like eating a seven-course meal) is truly an experience.  Only three nights left. Includes live acoustic music.

When: Friday/Saturday/Sunday, March 24/25/26, 6:30 pm

Where: Schindler House, 835 N Kings Rd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Tickets:  $90 for dinner (includes $15 contribution to the MAK Center).  See menu here.  BYOB red wines and cold Belgian ales recommended.  Please email office@makcenter.org with preferred dates, guest # and phone #.  Look for confirmation email & details.

These are NOT your mother’s frocks as African influence explodes spectacularly onto the runway.

4 ) Opening Night: African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style

African-Print Fashion Now will introduce you to the spectacular range of African dress tradition and how contemporary fashion designers are borrowing from the past and from each other’s cultures. You’ll see African-print styles created by seamstresses and tailors from across the continent, to international runway fashions dreamed up by Africa’s leading couturiers, to the transgressive and cutting-edge styles that young urban Africans are embracing. The opening night party starts with a program in the auditorium, followed by a festive party with informal modeling of African designer fashions, African music, dancing and much more.

When: Opening night is Saturday, March 25, 6 – 9 pm.  Exhibit runs through July 30.

Where: Fowler Museum, UCLA, 308 Charles E Young Dr E, Los Angeles, CA 90024.  Parking $12.

Tickets: Free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Flotsam, by David Wiesner, is an excellent example of wordless storytelling and winner of the 2007 Caldecott Medal, Wiesner’s 3rd.

5 ) Two Santa Barbara shows

David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling

We may think of picture books as just for children, but the art of telling stories with pictures is centuries old, dating back to cave drawings, and it holds a very important place in cultural history. David Wiesner is a master of this art form and is one of the highest-acclaimed picture book artists in the world.  This exhibition contextualizes the artist work alongside other artists that influenced Wiesner, such as Frans Masereel (1889–1972), Otto Nückel (1888–1955) and Lynd Ward (1905–1985), and comic book legends Jack Kirby (1917–1994) and Jim Steranko (b. 1938).  The exhibition includes 70 pieces from Wiesner and these artists, as well as Salvador Dalí, Joseph Stella, and Charles Sheeler.  In addition, the exhibition explores Wiesner’s creative process and features full-color plates of Wiesner’s original watercolors from his earliest artistic successes to his most recent project: his first graphic novel, Fish Girl, scheduled for release in March 2017.

Listen to KCRW’s Larry Perel interview with Wiesner back in January here.

When: Through May 14

Where: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Tickets: Museum admission $10

Ceramicist and sculptor Bari Ziperstein has built an artistic practice at the intersection of traditional craft and feminist critique

Solo Museum Exhibition by Bari Ziperstein

It seems that all cultures have a set of expectations of behavior based solely on gender.  Not only is this limiting and confining, but what happens when the definitions are contradictory? In her work, ceramicist and sculptor Bari Ziperstein has built an artistic practice at the intersection of traditional craft and feminist critique.  In this solo exhibition, Ziperstein examines prevailing contradictory (and controlling) expectations for women to be seductive and appealing in manner and appearance, but also inaccessible and safeguarded.

When: Through April 30

Where: Art, Design, & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara, 552 University Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Tickets: Free