Growing Design Histories....

Design Cultures Week 1 overview & reflections

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Growing Design Histories.... by Mind Map: Growing Design Histories....

1. Lens of the week

1.1. Who?

1.1.1. Leigh-Anne Hepburn

1.1.2. Dr Brian Dixon

1.1.3. Fallan & Jorgensen

1.1.4. Myself

1.2. Where?

1.2.1. Each of the contributors to my learning this week came from western & present-day cultures, which is my own lens.

1.2.1.1. Reflection: Although we are clearly coming from a biased perspective, we can't exactly escape from it and its problematic to think we can. I think the main thing is just to be aware of it. We will always need some lens to look through, just as long as we are aware that there are other lenses and make a concerted effort to get imput from them... ie. participatory design.

1.3. What?

1.3.1. This week we looked at the history of design from an ecological perspective

1.3.1.1. Reflection: I enjoyed learning about the history of design while keeping ecology in mind. As this was my first design subject ever, I loved how emmediatly we were asked to keep the environmental consequences in mind. It tells me that design, at least in academia, has its priorities straight

2. Readings

2.1. Reflection: I feel like the environment & design are always interralted. We use it's resources to build, we are informed by it conceptually (whether leaning into it, or wanting to rise above it) and our designs almost always have ecological consequences. A design that does not take it into account is not excluding it, it is simply blind because it always plays a part. Like Fallan & Jorgensen highlight, unsustainability is the historical product of design. But design has a pivotal place in a sustainable future.

3. Podcast

3.1. Dr Brian Dixon

3.1.1. Reflection: It was great to hear about someone's experience in the field and his journey, as I am new to the industry. From all that Dr Dixon covered, I was most struck by his emphasis on designing the process over just the outcome. I just like the idea that if we perfect the design process (into one that includes participatory design, sustainability, etc) then whatever the outcome is, will be worth it. Maybe its not what he meant, but its what I started thinking about. Its probably too idealistic, but I'm such a perfectionist that its always refreshing to be told to relax and focus on the journey. In any case, the process should be designed and re-designed too.

4. Reflection: From this look at each of the major design periods & their relation to ecology, it seems to me that western culture at least tends to move through a push and pull dynamic of wanting to expand the boundaries of nature's capacity and play god, and then wanting to return to nature and be more in harmony with it. I think about a child exploring and then retreating to the safety of mum. Maybe it is natural and good for the human race to push. But then I also think about Frankenstein and the dangers of playing god that Shelley alluded to. Our actions have consequences. We would not have the scientific and technological advancements we have today if we did not want to expand ouselves, but we are ruining the planet and its telling that generations of people consistnetly pull back into nature whenver we extend too far. Maybe its time we brake the cycle and learn how to expand our capacity to be sustainable.

5. Lecture

5.1. History of Design and its connection to Nature

5.1.1. Human Capacity

5.1.1.1. We began desigining tools to expand our natural capacity, primarily to make our survival more attainable and comfortable. We used natural materials and adapted them to our needs

5.1.2. Craftmanship

5.1.2.1. We moved from purely pragmatic designs to imaginative ones. Our designs became our culture and vice versa. However these designs were always heavily contextualised

5.1.3. Professionalistion & Guilds

5.1.3.1. Craftmanship became a profession and we moved from the individual to the collective with guilds. Now work was often made by many hands, or under a prestigous name

5.1.4. Industrial Age

5.1.4.1. With industrial power, we were (arguably) able to expand our capacity beyond natural levels. We begin playing god with our output levels and power, and design now involves templates put into machines

5.1.5. Arts & Crafts Movement

5.1.5.1. Reacting against the mass prodution of poor quality goods, designers like William Morris wanted to reconnect people to nature and re-establish craftmanship

5.1.6. Art Deco

5.1.6.1. This aesthetic was another reaction against mass prodution. It was simplified, streamlined and anti-traditional. They emphasized limited edition, individually crafted goods

5.1.7. World War 1

5.1.7.1. Nature became a casualty of war, and design was a pivotal part of that.

5.1.8. Art Nouveau

5.1.8.1. An aesthetic developed which was heavily inspired by nature and intricate, unconstrained by historical limitations. However the elaborate designs were criticised for being "form over function"

5.1.9. Bauhaus

5.1.9.1. A school was established in the interwar years that held a utopic idea of art & design. Design should follow the form of nature for optimal functionality. In that sense nature was once again glorified. Designers were encouraged to expand their methods beyond science

5.1.10. World War 2

5.1.10.1. If design's purpose is to push the boundaries of what is possible, we have to account for the potential ethical and ecological consequences of playing god.

5.1.11. Modernism

5.1.11.1. On the back of conflict, modernists believed it was possible to design a better world. One of absolute truths and clean aesthetics. But instead of returning to nature, they saw nature as an obstacle to overcome. They embraced the machine in function and aesthetic. Anthrocentrism was born

5.1.12. Australian History

5.1.12.1. In Australia, Indigenous cultures of design, that were closely connected to country, were displaced through colonialism. We don't fully know what was lost.

5.1.13. Post-Modernism

5.1.13.1. Guided by a notion of unsettling the established order, design became all about critique, complexity and contradition. It challenged scientific and social interpretations, and was really an ethical position. The aethetic moved away from machine perfectection

5.1.14. Age of Technology

5.1.14.1. With computers and the internet, a new space for design was created, aided by our most advanced 'extension of human cabaility' yet. Not necesarily anti-nature, but another world entirely.

5.1.15. Modern Day

5.1.15.1. Today we ask how natural are our interventions really? Where we go from here? We consider eco-design, bio-design, and more.