Design Dispatches: Meshing Past, Present, and Future

When Peter Christensen, GSAS ’14, set out to create an exhibit representing the first 75 years of the Graduate School of Design (GSD), he hit an immediate snag: how should he portray an institution that prides itself on being very much “in the present” without shortchanging the school’s rich history?
GSD dean Mohsen Mostafavi “was particularly concerned with potentially fossilizing the school in a historical exhibition that would make everything seem dusty and antiquated,” Christensen says. “There was also an aspect of making sure this was geared toward the future, so it was a challenge.”
Diving into the school’s archives, Christensen, the exhibit’s official curatorial director, discovered that GSD records were surprisingly spotty and incomplete, especially during its first 50 years. An exhibit based on the school’s chronology clearly was not an option, so what, he wondered, would his new MO be?
In the end, he decided that the best solution was to highlight 120 “journalistic dispatches from the past, each with its own narrative and artifacts.” Collaborating with more than 60 students, professors, alumni, and staff members, he created Dispatches from the GSD: 075 Years of Design, an extravagant display that’s interactive, engaging, and just plain fun.
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Harvard Magazine, November–December 2011