Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2014

Vernicia Colon
The Mix
Vernicia Colon
The Mix

““What are you?” or “Where are you from?” are common questions for a generation of the bi-racial, multi-ethnic community. Answering with “I am American” is not always good enough. THE MIX is an attempt to shed light on this topic through the installation of a pop-up coffee shop that couples the universal practice of coffee-drinking with prompts to discuss questions of race and identity. The inspiration for this project came from my personal experience as a multi-ethnic child. I grew up with the duality of being mixed and constantly asked “What are you?” This experience is not individual but shared amongst many in my generation; with a greater number of interracial marriages, the population of “generation mix” will grow and should engage in a discussion about how we define and address identity. THE MIX will be designed as a living census that turns the process of ordering coffee into an exploration of race, identity and stereotypes to encourage a vivid dialog. All items on the menu will be titled in reference to multi-ethnic and bi-racial heritage, which makes ordering a slightly uncomfortable experience that will not only evoke self-reflection but also exchange within the community. The coffee shop as social experiment will be documented in a short film.

Tyler Cohen
Mortimer & Mildred
Samantha Cooper
Galactic Soup