The Rapidian

NoshNight: Objectified

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Marquee outside the Wealthy Theatre

Marquee outside the Wealthy Theatre /Chris Apap of Apap Creations

Mingling in the Wealthy Theatre main lobby before the movie

Mingling in the Wealthy Theatre main lobby before the movie /Chris Apap of Apap Creations

Thomas Overthun during the Q&A portion in front of the live Twitter feed about NoshNight

Thomas Overthun during the Q&A portion in front of the live Twitter feed about NoshNight /Chris Apap of Apap Creations

On the night of November 11, 2009, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts  teamed up with Community Media Center's Wealthy Theatre to screen Objectified, a documentary film by Gary Hustwit. The screening was part of a series of arts events known as NoshNight. The film was followed by a discussion led by IDEO's Thomas Overthun, an influential designer.

Wealthy Theatre was bustling. Design professionals and design enthusiasts, young and old, gathered around the same questions: What is the future of design, how do we fit into it and why do we do what we do?

This was my first NoshNight event (this was the third in as many months), so I was not quite sure what to expect. Naturally, I had a few questions regarding the event and, luckily, had the chance to interview Phil Meade, Public Relations Manager at the UICA.

Why did the UICA team up with Wealthy Theatre to bring Objectified to GR?

Well, NoshNight is a series we have had over the last couple of months. This is out third event. AIGA [of West Michigan], which is a partner of NoshNight, suggested we show the film Objectified, which is what we are showing today. A main reason, even though we love Wealthy Theatre, is the UICA's film theater isn't very large, so we thought this would be a great venue to house the amount of people that we expect to come out for the event. We love the Wealthy Theatre and the CMC for all that they have done for the community.

Why bring Thomas Overthurn into the event aside from the fact that he is a very influential person in the world of design and works very closely with Steelcase here in Grand Rapids? Also, what was the process of getting him to join us this evening?

It actually worked out really well because he happened to be in town already. IDEO works with Steelcase. Steelcase actually owns them so he was already in town for that. And the fact that he is in the film as a contributor. It's a small role, but he is talking about design perspective in the film. So those two factors combined with us showing the film just worked out for him to be here tonight.

Do you think there is a reason, good or bad, that Objectified is coming out now in these economic times?

I think it is good, because design perspective on objects really can influence how people purchase items. I think that good design is more important now, because of the state of the economy we need to really utilize and have the best design for the items that we have. So the downturn of society (the amount of money that we are making and that) the objects that we purchase are things that we really need to be able to use and be successful. The most successful they can be. Design is important to the modern time more than it has been in the past, for that reason.

NoshNight: Objectified was a success. After the film and a short break, Thomas Overtun took the floor for a round of questions from the audience. There were a few broad and long winded questions, but Mr. Overtun was glad to lend his opinion and expertise on the topics posed to him.

Objectified is produced and directed by Gary Hustwit, the same person behind the film Helvetica. If you are fond of Helvetica, you will love Objectified. This film should be viewed by everyone who enjoys design and these people should show this film to their friends and families. As Tommy Allen, one of the event's emcees, said before the viewing, "This film will hopefully reinforce what we do, why we do it. Hopefully when we go home and tell our parents what we do for a living, they'll finally understand." Well put as always, Tommy.

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