Power of Design 2014: Complaints
Why do we complain? Our take? There’s method, purpose, meaning to our gripes. Complaints can get us from here to there, dissatisfaction to action, action to innovation.
Consider The Wolfsonian’s collection of art and design. Take away complaints and what’s left? We're considering not only expressions of complaint, but constructive responses. When you look at the big picture—and we are—our objects often represent solutions. Would we have the Arts and Crafts movement without dissatisfaction with industrialization? Political reform without protest? Advances in transportation, urban planning, architecture without discontent? Furniture design, industrial design—any design—without discomfort, whether physical, functional, or aesthetic?
For Power of Design we’re gathering change-makers, thought leaders, visionaries—and, yes, interesting complainers. We’re putting all of them, presenters and participants, together for a multi-day, multidisciplinary event brimming with provocative discussions, presentations, performances, exhibitions, and more. For those unable to attend, videos of sessions will be posted on this website.
Power of Design is conceived, curated, and presented by The Wolfsonian, in partnership with WLRN and The Miami Herald Media Company.
The Wolfsonian–FIU is a museum, library, and research center that uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern, and to tell the story of social, historical, and technological changes that have transformed our world.
has received wide recognition for its unrivaled collection of modern material culture
from the period 1885 to 1945 and its multidisciplinary approach to looking at
objects as both agents and expressions of change.
WLRN 91.3 FM, South Florida’s only NPR news station, is
licensed to the School Board of Miami-Dade County, and provides news and
information to a weekly audience of more than 500,000 from
Palm Beach to Key West. WLRN’s news team has earned more
than 150 local, state, and national awards. Since 2003, WLRN and the Miami Herald have been news partners,
sharing a single newsroom, the only such arrangement in the country. WLRN
91.3 FM offers one of the country's largest Radio Reading Services for the visually impaired.
The Miami Herald Media Company (MHMC) publishes two daily newspapers: the Miami Herald, winner of twenty Pulitzer Prizes, and El Nuevo Herald, an award-winning Spanish-language publication. Together, the newspapers are read by more than 1.5 million people each week, in print and online at MiamiHerald.com and elNuevoHerald.com. MHMC products include the websites Miami.com and MomsMiami.com. The company produces content across all media, including video, mobile, and radio on WLRN/Herald News, as well as more than 110 custom publications for hotels, airlines, and other clients through its subsidiary, HCP/Aboard Publishing. It is a subsidiary of The McClatchy Company.
Power of Design 2014 is
conceived, curated, and presented by The Wolfsonian–Florida International University, in partnership with WLRN and The Miami Herald Media Company. We thank our sponsors, the
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an anonymous donor, Northern Trust, and
Terra Group and its president and CEO, David Martin. Generous collaborative support is
provided by our partners, Intelligence Squared (London); FIU
School of Architecture; FIU School of Music; FIU Honors College;
Centro Cultural Español; and Miami Beach Cinematheque.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach is our official hotel (a fitting choice, as people
complained bitterly when it was built). Prophets
of the Digital Age hosting provided by Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Local Media Inquiries
National Media Inquiries
Wolfsonian Media Inquiries
Please join us for this rare opportunity to learn from and interact with some of our most innovative and accomplished thinkers and doers. Power of Design is more think tank than conference, more participatory than passive—we expect you, our audience, to contribute to the ongoing discussion. The weekend pass entitles you to attend all ticketed events and more: Friday night's keynote, curatorial presentations, and a private dinner; Saturday's moderated discussions, presentations, and activities, plus meals and a reserved seat at the evening forum. The opening reception on Thursday, the moderated discussion on Sunday, and all satellite events are open to the public.
The Power of Design weekend pass is $1,000. For more information or to purchase: 305.535.2656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our intrepid Power of Design blogger, Shawn Clybor, is a cultural historian of East-Central
Europe whose research focuses on the former Czechoslovakia and current Czech
Republic. He holds degrees in history from Northwestern University (Ph.D. and
MA) and the University of Illinois-Chicago (BA). Clybor’s academic interests
center primarily on radical political ideologies and the efforts of their
adherents to legitimize political violence, including such movements such
fascism, Nazism, communism, and nationalism more broadly. His dissertation (and
current manuscript) analyzes the political activism of the Czech modernist
avant-garde and its relationship to the Czechoslovak Communist Party. He has
published several articles in academic journals and anthologies on complaints,
humor, and satire in the communist and post-communist eras.
Stylist, Beauty Confessional
have Sean Donaldson to thank for the Beauty Confessional (thank you, Sean!).
The force behind Miami Beach’s award-winning salon, Sean Donaldson Hair, Sean
has worked in the beauty industry for more than two decades, first at Vidal
Sassoon in London before opening Sean Donaldson Hair. British born and raised,
Sean is regularly quoted in fashion magazines. Among many accomplishments, he
was featured in Hello magazine for
bridal hair for Holly Branson’s wedding on Necker Island, where he is the
stylist for many celebrities who vacation there.
Owner, Books & Books
Kaplan, the curator of our Literature of Complaint list (see blog), is the
founder and owner of Books & Books, Miami’s much-loved independent bookstore,
with several locations, including Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Bal Harbour. He is also co-founder of Miami Book Fair International and chair of its Board of
Directors; former president of the American Booksellers Association; and recipient of the National Book Foundation’s prestigious “Literarian
Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community” in 2011.
Michele Oka Doner
Photo credit: Bruce Weber
Internationally acclaimed artist Michele Oka
Doner, leader of Saturday afternoon’s guided beach walk, is known for a body of
work informed by her study and appreciation of the natural world. Among her
many public art installations are “A Walk on the Beach” at the Mimai International
Airport (1995–2009), a nearly mile-long concourse of dark terrazzo inlaid with
bronze and mother of pearl. Her artwork is in major museums and collections in
the U.S. and Europe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Musée dés Arts Dècoratifs at the
Louvre. A Miami Beach native, she is co-author with Wolfsonian founder Mitchell
Wolfson, Jr. of Miami Beach: Blueprint of
is a forward thinking, technology driven agency based in New York City. As artists, designers, and programmers, their belief is that by implementing cutting edge technologies in culturally relevant ways, the whole of the Internet can be moved forward. They built the Power of Design website and our Complaints tool, and designed the branding for the festival.