You've probably read about it, but if you haven't, spoiler alert: Tobias Wong's appearance at the Art Directors Club in New York City for Core77's Offsite Event, Design, Wit, and the Creative Act, was not exactly on stage.
What does that mean? Well, Tobias was indeed in attendance, but he was sitting in the audience, enjoying the day like everyone else. And instead of taking the mic for his presentation--and his director's chair for the panel discussion portion--he sat amongst the crowd, drinking in the design, wit, and creative--in this case subversive act--by having a stand-in take his place at the lectern.
Rama Chorpash, chair of the Undergraduate ID Dept. at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and a great designer to boot, did what can only be described as a pitch-perfect job of presenting Tobias's work (and later answering, Q&A as Tobias, remaining authentic to the designs as well as the philosophical underpinnings of the Wong oevre.
Turns out that the two of them had rehearsed the event to death, preparing responses to any discussion points that might come up, and treating the event not as a stunt but as an artwork.
Chorpash later remarked that "there are a lot of parallels between doing this [switch] and teaching, because in teaching you need to give up your identity a bit to better understand the different models and possibilities of design. To be able to talk about Philippe Starck, for example, you need to understand where he's coming from."
People in the audience who knew Tobias or knew what he looked like were in on the joke, and those who didn't needed only to look in their program for Tobias's headshot. Still, an incredible gesture that provided a sly twist to the day and a workout for Chorpash.
Watch 'til the end of the video, when you can see the two of them together, never breaking character throughout the cocktail reception.
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