Bridge 4 (Intro to Research) | Urban Avatar

Assignment: Using your assigned street as a focus, craft a creative, braided essay that explores the full dimensionality of its past and present by weaving scholarly investigation; personal narrative and observation; creative analysis; cultural association; and specific thinking-on-the-page. With your group, explore the street in person. Then, explore the street through research in different contexts. Ask yourself: how might these different contexts connect? Be creative and lyrical. Ultimately, attempt to synthesize your research into some kind of point, or set of points. Look to Georges Perec’s An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, McPhee’s “The Search for Marvin Gardens” and Biss’s “Time and Distance Overcome” for models. In order to develop your thinking, the essay should use detailed, first-person observation coupled with a variety of kinds of authoritative and scholarly research, cited with footnotes that correspond to the sources listed in the annotated bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography

Each group will create ONE, SHARED standard, Chicago annotated bibliography with entries for every work used in the above essay, as well as works that you consulted for general reference that may not have been directly cited.


  • At least two (2) scholarly sources.
  • At least four (4) non-scholarly but authoritative sources.
  • Variety of kinds of sources that address different facets of street.



Reflection: Being my first ever research-based essay, Bridge 4 was an amazing learning experience. I am now super interested in doing deeper research on different parts of New York City. The peer critique and one-on-one critique with Professor Wilson were of tremendous help. They helped me organize and connect my essay in a more understandable manner. Overall, this essay helped me grow the most.

Bridge 5 (Reflection & Moving On) | Final Course Reflection

Bridge 5 (Reflection & Moving On): Final Course Reflection


  • Which assignments helped you to grow and in what specific ways? What interests were sparked? List at least two.

The last two assignments: Bridge 3 (Multiple Perspectives) – Fashion Avatar and Bridge 4 (Intro to Research) – Urban Avatar were the most significant ones for me throughout the semester. While working on Studio’s Bridge 3, my group members and I put in a lot of effort and thought into what kind of garment we wanted to create. Our final outcome: a sari, was a product of a lot of hard work, creative conflicts and newly learned skills. This project helped me grow in uncountable ways. I learned techniques with different materials like fabric, wire and metal. It made me realize how much my interests lean towards fashion. On the other hand, in Seminar, I produced a three-page essay on the significance of red lipstick. I never thought I’d be able to do that. This Bridge was successful in making me widen my perspectives. Lastly Bridge 4’s research element, being a completely new concept for me, was challenging and interesting. My group was assigned Worth Street in Lower Manhattan. After all our thorough research, I can give anybody a pretty holistic tour of Worth Street.


  • Which early projects seem connected to your research project?

Our Bridge 2 (Peer to Peer) – Partner Profile seems connected to our research project in the way that we conducted interviews for Seminar and created models depicting action verbs for Studio. We had to delve into our partners’ minds to be able to write a profile on him/her. Making 10 final structures together after 4 iterations of each, set us on the path of discovering new facts and skills.

  • Where were there moments of synchronicity between Seminar and Studio, when your work seemed truly integrated?

I felt true synchronicity between Seminar and Studio during the process of Bridge 3 (Multiple Perspectives) – Fashion Avatar. I believe that our visit to MoMA’s exhibit Items: Is Fashion Modern? is responsible for producing that feeling in me. The visit provided a good base for the construction of our garment as well as essay.

  • Throughout the semester, how has your writing ability changed? Cite some examples to illustrate your point.

Coming from India, Chicago Writing Style was a foreign concept to me at first. In the course of these fifteen weeks, my knowledge of writing, citing sources, and making bibliographies has expanded so much. For example, I didn’t think I would be able to write a 5-7-page research essay on a single street. My Bridge 2 Partner Profile proved to me that I am improving in my ability to portray a person in words and not just color. There is more than a lot of need for improvement but the techniques and skills I have picked up this semester have built a confidence in me for the coming semesters.

  • Throughout the semester, how has your approach to reading progressed? Or how has text changed your work?

Before this semester, I had never annotated any kind of text. After being introduced to the art of annotating I have begun to look at my books and other kinds of texts differently. I am able to engage with them much more than before. I can now have a conversation with the text I read.

  • Throughout the semester, how have your making skills progressed? Include allusions to projects to illustrate your point.

Studio has encouraged me to expand my portfolio of skills to a great extent. Working with numerous materials like wood, fabric, metal, clay, wire, etc. has made me super excited for my future at Parsons. I loved working with wire and fabric for our Bridge 3’s sari. I learned how to create wire structures and embellish them by sewing fabric onto them. This technique has interested me greatly. Using the different labs at Parsons has been such a wonderful and educational experience. I look forward to making the most of these resources in the coming years.

  • Which assignments proved particularly challenging? Why? How did you meet that challenge?

My favorite, Bridge 3 (Multiple Perspectives) – Fashion Avatar was the most challenging assignment. My group members and I had too many ideas and took a long time to come to a common conclusion about what we wanted to create. Fortunately, the three of us got along well and settled on incorporating each of our ideas. We managed to produce a piece that combined all our creative skills as well as our cultures.

  • Which assignment(s) that you completed might you consider a kind of failure? Why? How can you learn from this failure?

Our first Studio group project: Bridge 2 (Peer to Peer) – Partner Profile was an overwhelming assignment since it required us to make 40 structures within two weeks. My partner, Eric Hu and I managed to finish everything on time but our finished products looked rushed. We didn’t spend enough time trying to explore newer materials. Sticking to paper and wire, did not make our project stand out. This failure was a huge help because it prepared me for the next assignments. I realized that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and start using different machinery and materials.

  • Both in your writing and making, do you see common threads or themes? What ideas occurred to you again and again?

Yes, the common theme that I have noticed in my writing and making is the lack of out-of-the-box thinking. I grew up in a place where academics was all about being factually correct. I am slowly letting go of my rigidity and trying to let my creativity flow out freely. The ideas that keep occurring to me are ones that have already been thought of. I want to go beyond that.

  • How can you use what you’ve learned in Integratives this semester and apply it to next semester and to your focus at Parsons?

Since I’m an Integrated Design major, the variety of concepts I have picked up in Studio and Seminar this semester will go a long way with me through the next three and a half years. I love integrating different art forms, materials, and skills into one project. The various Bridge assignments have helped me realize my true interests: Fashion, Product and Communication Design. As I mentioned earlier, using the labs and resources at Parsons this semester has boosted me for Spring 2018.

  • What questions or interests sparked this semester would you like to pursue in more detail next semester?

Having done Bridge 4, I would love to pursue deeper research on different parts of New York City. Although citing sources may be a pain at times, the research aspect makes up for it. I am also interested in using writing and making together in some way.

Bridge 3 (Multiple Perspectives) | Fashion Avatar

Assignment: After viewing the entirety of MoMA’s exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? choose one of the 111 items organized by the curators.Write an essay in which you use the MoMA’s displays, wall text, and your own background knowledge and experience to explore multiple perspectives of meaning around the stereotypes. Include at least one specific idea from the selection we read in Anne Hollander’s Sex and Suits — introduced, integrated, and investigated, if quoted directly. Consider how and what the garment communicates — in terms of gender, sex, sexuality, class, race, culture, geography, politics, or some other identifier — and how this might depend on immediate context — location, the wearer, or even other pieces worn with the garment? Ultimately, the goal is to have an original idea about the complexities of meaning in the garment that push beyond the obvious or expected. Rely on your own observations, analysis, and argument. Work to say something beyond what the exhibition or common wisdom tells you.



Reflection: Visting the MoMA Fashion Exhibit set us off to a great start for our Bridge 3 assignments. I was clear on the topic of my essay – red lipstick. I found this particular assignment very exciting and explorative. Even though we weren’t allowed to do any research, I realized how much or how little I knew about this particular fashion accessory. After being critiqued by one of my group members, I took all her suggestions and definitely liked my essay more. These workshops proved to be very helpful.

Erasure Text

I purchased a book titled “You. Are. The. One.” by Kute Blackson from the Strand and brought it home. The book is described as “a bold adventure in finding purpose, discovering the real you, and loving fully.” Flipping through the pages, I randomly picked one. The original text on that page was about discovering your inner self. Keeping this in mind, I began underlining the words that caught my attention. I then strung these words together into a sentence. Using watercolor, I blotted out the unwanted text. I used cool colors like blue, green and purple because they relate to the feeling of calmness and inner peace.


On Patterson

Transfer of the Hoodie

“The transfer of the garment from the old white champ to the young black contender plays as an echo of the film’s broader racial politics.”[1] The aforementioned sentence is well-structured and simple, without any complex punctuations. It explains the shift of the hoodie from old white men to black youth being highlighted in the movie “Creed”.  The usage of words and phrases like “transfer”, “echo” and “broader racial politics” gives the sentence an interesting depth. It progresses from the topic of transfer of the garment to that of the film’s racial theme. The sentence has a substantial impact because it begins with the “transfer”. It merges well with the whole controversial theme of the essay by including the two major sides in one sentence.

[1] Troy Patterson, The Politics of the Hoodie”, The New York Times Magazine, MM16,, 2016.

Is Fashion Modern?

The MoMa exhibit, Items: Is Fashion Modern? is an interesting display of everyday fashion wear. It includes a hundred and eleven fashion items. These several garments/accessories are presented in a random order not following a chronological or thematic sequence. In my opinion, the organization of the exhibit was a little disappointing. The arbitrary sequence did not allow me to focus on any one area properly. However, I thoroughly enjoyed how relatable and comprehensible each display is. Anyone can understand the significance of these items without having to rack one’s brains like one might do at other art exhibits.

I noticed that each piece was commissioned from a particular brand, to curate in the exhibit. The brand played a significant role in bringing out the modernization of fashion. The item I have chosen is the Red Lipstick – 1952 Revlon Fire and Ice. This lipstick was purchased for the purpose of the exhibition. What struck me about this piece, is that such a small and simple entity can hold so much meaning and importance. The red color in itself has so much value. It represents the qualities of aggression, strength and courage in a woman. In 1946, Harper’s Bazaar declared, “the little stick takes on the significance of a sword.” There is plenty history behind this tiny fashion accessory. It plays a very monumental role in a woman’s life.

Hollander Response

Traditional Dress Vs Modern Fashion

Traditional systems of dress, obviously can make much more accurate social mirrors than fashion ever does.1 Hollander’s idea about the abstract meaning of fashion contradicting the direct representation in traditional dress really interested me. She talks about the traditional costume accurately depicting a person’s social background, while modern fashion ambiguously portraying some obscure characteristics. This idea is given a broad form by incorporating the fact that although there were rules, there was also room for creativity within the traditional sphere. For example, if the dress code for women was petticoat and ribbons, they had the freedom to choose the color and style of each.

Also referencing to the body-painting culture in select societies, in still other cultures, one group of scars on a girl’s face showed that she had passed the menarche, while another array of them on her chest was purely ornamental.2

Hollander even discusses the transmissible and inheriting feature of traditional clothing. Dresses were made not just for one person but for all, as members belonging to a particular group. They were passed down to their offsprings and so on. On the other hand, fashion is very individualistic. It involves complete personal choice. Even though fashion is trendsetting and results in imitation, it does not give out the same common meanings that traditional dress did. It is easier to identify a person belonging to a social group, clothed in traditional wear. Modern fashion does not have the same purpose. It is mainly meant to please the eyes, like modern art. This is where fashion and traditional differ.


  1. Anne Hollander, Sex and Suits – The Evolution of Modern Dress (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), 18
  2. Anne Hollander, Sex and Suits – The Evolution of Modern Dress (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), 19

Bridge 2 (Peer-to-Peer) | Partner Profile

For this assignment, we were paired with our peers.

After critiquing each other’s Bridge 1 essays, we came up with a list of action verbs associated with our partner’s essay. We even interviewed each other with a bunch of questions of our choice.

Assignment: After two weeks of interviews and collaboration with your partner, write a brief essay that profiles your partner. Use descriptions, experiences, stories, and dialogue to embody your partner’s persona (avatar) in words. Be fair. Avoid critique or negative judgment of your partner’s experience. Instead, imagine you’ve been commissioned to craft a portrait of your partner. What telling details will figure an accurate likeness of your partner with words? How might others — or an internet search — see your partner? Show, don’t tell.

A few action verbs that I associate with my peer, Eric Hu’s essay pertain to the abstract qualities of passion, distaste, diligence and freedom. The questions that I have put down aim to understand him in a deeper way and help me get into his mind.

Action Verb List

  1. To liberate
  2. To rehearse
  3. To disrelish
  4. To constrain
  5. To indulge
  6. To reinvest
  7. To regorge
  8. To master
  9. To relish
  10. To devote

Interview Question List

  • What is the purpose of your life?
  • What amuses you the most?
  • What is your favorite part of your daily routine?
  • What are you most afraid of?
  • How often do you do something just for yourself?
  • What does your ringtone sound like?
  • Do you like your name?
  • Have you ever kept up with a New Year’s resolution?
  • How would you want your life to end?
  • When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?


Reflection: Writing this descriptive essay on Eric Hu helped me in uncountable ways. I found out how difficult it is to write a 2-page essay on someone you have only known for about three weeks. I was lucky to have him as my partner, because he was extremely cooperative and understanding. Interviewing him and answering his questions helped me overcome my timidity to open up to someone new. I learn a lot about him as well as about the art of biographies. From this essay, I could tell that I needed to work on my ability to portray a person more vividly and concisely at the same time.

Helvetica Response

An Avatar for Neutrality

As shown in the documentary, Helvetica is mostly an avatar for neutrality and simplicity. It is a clean font that puts forth the required message with great efficiency. Some designers talk about the smoothness of this font that makes it more human. Typographers use Helvetica when the designer wants the audience to focus on the brand and not its name. It has been said that typography equals creative design. This sentence makes me think about the power of text, font and its various properties. The same piece of text, manipulated in different ways, can have different impacts on viewers. Even within a font, for example Helvetica, there can be various changes in the size, color, spacing, etc. The documentary includes shots of store billboards, hoardings, signs etc from all over the world that are in different forms of Helvetica. Helvetica is also an avatar for generalization. It is clear and can be understood by all human beings without any confusion.

Helvetica is interpreted differently by some people. They think of it as a plain, mundane and overused font. Designers agree that the font they were once obsessed with, does not have that attraction for them anymore. Seeing the same font everywhere you go, can get quite boring. However, the universality of Helvetica cannot be overlooked. It a convenient font that will probably remain in its “overused” state for a long time because of its neutrality.

Borges Response

The Teeming Mind of Irene Funes

From his first encounter with Funes, Borges describes him as a boy with a straight, hard face holding a cigarette. He stresses on Funes’ mocking voice quite a few times through the short story. Borges talks about Ireneo Funes’ quirks, like remaining distant from other humans and his chronometric mind. After Funes’ tragic accident (not so tragic for Funes’ himself) Borges happens to meet him once again. His description of Irene this time is one of an incredulous nature. Funes does not come off as a normal human being. He believes that all other people are careless, inattentive and forgetful. The aftermath of his injury resulted in him attaining the extraordinary power of memory and perception. He could now perceive and remember every minute detail around him. Borges emphasizes that his faintest memories are comparable to a general human’s strongest ones. In his story, Borges seems to admire Funes and his anomalous capabilities.

The most effective descriptive detail of Funes’ character is that of his mind. I was intrigued by the explanation of how the overflowing world of Funes did not let him sleep easily. Sleeping was a task for him, because it meant giving the mind a break from the constant activity in the world. His attention to the intricacy of life, time and space is fascinating. Borges captivatingly describes Funes’ ability to remember every single thing.