Rebeca Méndez’s talk will focus on her research, practice, and teaching, which stem from the belief that art and design can serve as a force for social change. Méndez will present recent projects and introduce her new initiative—the UCLA CounterForce Lab, a research and fieldwork studio based at Design Media Arts and the School of the Arts and Architecture dedicated to using design and art to develop creative collaborations, new fields of study, and methods to research, create, and execute projects around the social and ecological impacts of anthropocene climate change. The CounterForce Lab is committed to the practice of design and media art in public space, critical approaches to landscape, and artistic projects based on field investigation methods—artistic fieldwork practice.
Méndez is an artist, designer, professor of Design Media Arts at UCLA, and director of the CounterForce Lab. Her research and practice investigates design and media art in public space, critical approaches to public identities and landscape, and artistic projects. Méndez’s diverse works—photography, 16mm film, book arts, design, and architectural scale sound and video installations—have been exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hammer Museum, Nevada Art Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca, Mexico. Group exhibitions include the 55th Venice Biennial, El Paso Museum of Art, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Méndez has curated several exhibitions including the Istanbul Light Festival, Istanbul, Turkey (2015) and Rebeca Méndez Selects at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (2018). Reviews of her work have appeared in Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, T Magazine (blog), The White House (blog), El País, Spain, The San Francisco Chronicle, art ltd, Wallpaper*, Eye, Metropolis, IDEA, and I.D. magazines, among others. Selected permanent public art commissions include January 8 Memorial Foundation to design the memorial honoring the victims and survivors of the shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her community in Tucson, Arizona, 2015–2019. Méndez is known for her career-long commitment to ‘design and art as a social force,’ and was awarded the 2016 Vision Over Violence Humanitarian Award, by Peace Over Violence, Los Angeles.