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A Faculty in Focus Symposium

How do dolls and other types of humanoid figures—including puppets, robots, prosthetics, and virtual avatars—help us understand what it means to be us? Humans have created mimetic objects for millennia, and continue to do so today. Why do we make objects that look like us (or parts of us), what has this practice meant historically, and how is the rapid development of technology impacting this fundamentally human compulsion right now? This afternoon symposium gathers a diverse body of experts, engaged with these questions in a broad spectrum of ways, to present short position papers on their work, followed by a panel discussion. Students from Freyja Hartzell’s current course, “In Focus: Welcome to the Dollhouse II,” will also present their concepts for the 2025 Focus Project Exhibition of the same name, and solicit feedback from the symposium guests and audience.

Friday, April 28, 2–6 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

This symposium is open to BGC faculty, students, fellows, and staff, as well as invited guests.

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2 pm – Welcome and introduction, Freyja Hartzell (BGC)

2:15 pm – Position papers from Robin Bernstein (Harvard), Heidi Boisvert (University of Florida), Elizabeth Guffey (SUNY Purchase), Rahul Kaliki (Infinite Biomedical Technologies), Michelle Oing (Stanford), Levin Sliker (Point Designs), and Emilie St-Hilaire (Concordia University)

3:30 pm – Break

3:45 pm – Moderated conversation

4:45 pm – Break

5 pm – Exhibition design presentations from students in Freyja Hartzell’s course, In Focus: Welcome to the Dollhouse II. Presenters include Madeline Porsella (BGC), Mabel Taylor (BGC), Nicole Wittmann (BGC), and Alanna Campbell (Parsons School of Design/Cooper Hewitt)