• Design and Making in the Trinidad Carnival: Histories, Re-imaginations, and Speculations of Computational Design Futures
    Vernelle A. A. Noel
    University Gallery, University of Florida, Gainesville
    Oct 03, 2022 to Nov 04, 2022
    Vernelle A. A. Noel

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 University of Florida. She uses design computation, ethnographic, and STS methods to investigate traditional and automated making, human-computer interaction, interdisciplinary creativity, and their intersections with society. Her current focus is the cultural practice of Carnival and its embedded crafts for novel expressions, manufacturing systems, and digital media in design, architecture, and pedagogy. Noel holds a doctorate in architecture from Penn State University, a master’s in architecture studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a bachelor’s in architecture from Howard University, and a diploma in civil engineering from Trinidad & Tobago. She has been a researcher and educator at Georgia Tech, Penn State, the Singapore University of Technology & Design, MIT, and has practiced as an architect in the United States, India, and Trinidad & Tobago.