Cornish ChronoZoomers Make History at Seattle Design Festival


Mekala Nava

14-09_design-festivalDesign in Public hosted the 4th Annual Seattle Design Festival (Sept. 5 to 19, 2014). The festival is the largest design-related event in the Pacific Northwest, bringing together an estimated 10,000 attendees to explore all the diverse and meaningful ways that design makes life better. Citizens, city leaders and experts came together through workshops, tours, talks, films and gatherings to exchange ideas around this year’s theme, Design in Motion…exploring the ways design moves us…”from place to place, frame to frame, present to future”, and to see design as a vehicle of innovation.

Given this theme, the conference provided an ideal opportunity for my students to engage as presenters. We have been studying the century-long history of Motion Graphic Design, tracing the converging influences of avant garde film, graphic design, animation, and media technology innovation. We used ChronoZoom as our dynamic, open source platform to house and share our evolving History of Motion Graphic Design timeline. Each student choose a design history topic to research and created their own sub-timelines to share their independent research. I asked 3 of my Cornish ChronoZoomers, Mekala Nava, Will Kingstone and Petra Michael, if they would present their historical research at the SDF conference. They were thrilled by this invitation, and we spend part of the summer and early Fall preparing their presentations.

Petra Michael, Will Kingston, Mekala Nava and Genevieve Tremblay at the 2014 SDF

Our session was titled, “Cornish Students Visualize the History of Motion Design at SDF”. It was part of a block of presentations given by my Cornish designer/educator colleagues, Julie Myers (Designing for Flight and Digital Objects in Motion), Tiffany Laine De Mott (Frames in Motion), Dan Shafer (Freeboards: Analog Interaction and Public Messaging), that was held at the Seattle Public Library.


Will Kingstone

Mekala Nava shared her Early History of 2D Animation, William Kingstone presented The Evolution of Styles in Sci-Fi Television and Petra Michael shared the History of Western Fantasy Role Playing Games via their interactive ChronoZoom timelines. Over the course of the summer and first few weeks of school, these 3 students refined their research and prepared their interactive presentations. By the time they presented to this design conference community, they had transformed themselves from students to scholars, with truly engaging research and innovative presentation methods.

SO proud of these designers!


Cornish at American Alliance of Museums Conference

Curtis Wong, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research makes his way through our ChronoZoom Timeline: The History of Motion Design Timeline

Curtis Wong, Principal Researcher at MSR travels thru our ‘History of Motion Design’ timeline

This Spring, my 3rd year Design students at Cornish College of the Arts, created an interactive, historical timeline of the History of Motion Graphic Design using ChronoZoom. Through a unique partnership with Microsoft Research, students spent the semester learning to use this dynamic, open-source tool to create virtual exhibits and share their independent research. History of Early 2D Animation, Women in Motion Design, History of Western Fantasy Role Playing Games were among the topics. More about the Cornish ChronoZoomers’ project:

Visualizing The History of Motion Graphic Design

Petra Michael, Zoomin' on History of RPG

Petra Michael, working in class on ChronoZoom

In addition to making our way through our text book, The History of Motion Graphic Design, by Michael Betancourt, our students conducted their own research. We had the students whet their whistle on ChronoZoom by creating an ‘info bud’ based on one of their research assignments that focused on video installation pioneers. For their final research project, they conducted their online/offline research, collected and organized their visual assets, synthesized all research and assets to create cohesive “story” presentation of their topics, some created a storyboard or spreadsheet to organize the flow of their exhibit. Finally, they uploaded all of their knowledge assets to our class Cornish ChronoZoom: History of Motion Graphic Design Timeline.

Petra Michaels, History of Western Fantasy Role Playing Games

Petra Michaels’ CZ Timeline, History of Western Fantasy Role Playing Games

Their virtual ‘exhibits’ included a Bibliography, citing their sources, so that viewers can go further with their inquiry into their topics. Because the “audio tour” function of CZ was not operational, they were not able to create self guided tours. But hoping that next year, we can employ this function.

an info bud for 'The Thief and the Cobler'

detail of a timeline ‘info bud’

Each of the History of Motion Design students chose a research topic for their final research project and ChronoZoom exhibit. They included: The History of Western Fantasy Role Playing Games, Petra Michael, Early Stop Motion, Rachel Sandoffsky, The Evolution of Styles in Sci-Fi Television (1934-2004), William Kingstone, Women in Motion Graphic Design, Alicia Pucci, The Making of ‘The Thief and the Cobler’, Grant Kirkpatrick, Time in Music Videos, Jennifer Potts, The History of Puppets in Animation, Kelsey Glass and Erin Parnell, The History of the Music Video Form.

Making Our Mark in History

ChronoZoom, Microsoft Research Connections

ChronoZoom, Microsoft Research Connections

I reached out to Roy Zimmerman, Director of Education and Scholarly Communication, by way of Rane Johnson Stempson, by way of Shelly Farnham…all Microsoft Researchers. He was very helpful in getting me oriented with ChronoZoom background, resources and application.  Jeff Brice and I paid Roy a visit out at Microsoft and he gave us a guided tour of the program.


ChronoZoom Project:

ChronoZoom Project:

At CZ’s current stage of development, there are 3 “layers” of usage:

  1. The first is as a highly curated, peer reviewed content source for histories (science, humanities, etc…). This content has been created by leading academics from around the country, in partnership with Msoft. It is what you see when you go to…and find the exhibits.
  2. The “ChronoZoom World”, companies, educators, students and alike, using Chronozoom to create timelines and tell stories of historic value, using less high quality (i.e. research level) content (i.e. copyrighted materials, etc…).
  3. Personal Canvas for those who are doing their own research, who want to keep their work private…until they are ready to publish and share with the world.
Roy's first to our 'History of Motion Design' class

Roy’s visit to our ‘History of Motion Design’ class

We would be working somewhere between layer 2 and layer 3 for both our classroom work sessions and final research project. I created a proposal draft for the classroom project. I poured over the online resources I could find to get up to speed with CZ (see BLOGROLL —>) and learn more about how ChronoZoom might work in my classroom. The more familiar I got with the capabilities, the better I was able to frame our history timeline project. ChronoZoom Pilot Project: Part I

  • Pair up (with your Video Installation Pioneers assignment partners) to organize and layout a plan for your assets from your presentation to create a CZ “exhibit” of your topic.
  • Assets must be imported from the cloud, the Internet or Skydrive. Keep in mind, uploading directly from your hard drive will not work.
  • Feature at least 10 assets (video, photograph, sound, text, etc…) in your “exhibit”.
  • You exhibit content is contained in 1 dot or info bud on the timeline. You want to feature your primary asset (i.e. video, main image/text) in the center of your dot. The other assets/artifacts you add to your exhibit will surround your primary asset..
  • Get acquainted with the Bibliography/citation capabilities of CZ