Identity of an Institution


Bryce Wilner: My experience before coming here was that I really enjoyed the site’s energy. I did notice that it gives a good overview of what graphic design at Yale is like, but that’s only one of the four graduate majors. I often wonder what other departments’ experience of the site is because I don’t see as many sculptors, photographers, and painters.

Lucy Lindsey: I would say the site does not really provide an accurate idea of the work being produced by students in the entire school.

The main impression from the site is how incredibly different it is from any other school site. I've heard people say the site is particularly potent given Yale’s status as a school, that is, in juxtaposition to the prestige, the history, and the Ivy League status.

Jake: I think that speaks to the nature of "design". The site has this amazing quality of movement and instability but at the end of the day it has to represent the school and will never really escape it fully. This makes it really powerful, like you said, as a response to the school's status, but it's limited. Design, even when it aims to counteract institutionalized structures (structurally or aesthetically) has to serve the designated role within them. There is always a degree of control that can't be escaped (I think it's interesting that a lot of web design particularly is in service of educational institutions, museums and the like, that it's almost a meta-art). Whereas the other disciplines don't necessarily have those same restrictions or obligations - but on the other hand it makes it harder for them to have a way in, to comment from the interior.

Ayham: How much do you think that’s because of the type of imagery used on the site versus its structure as a wiki—students can change and contribute? How much is it one or the other, or is it both?