Critical Design - Reading + Response


Designing Capabilities - OTTO BON BUSCH  

    I really agree with what Otto Bon Busch has to say in this article. I think that when we can immerse ourselves into the product by contributing to its functionality, then we are creating more successful designs. Commodities surround us and are advertised to us on a daily basis in the most appealing manners. However, when we have these commodities, they can only satisfy the user for so long, and only to a certain extent. We are humans with abilities and creative minds. Usually, when a product is offered to us, we limit our capabilities to what the product has to offer. There is a means of control going on between the user and the product. The products has been designed in a certain way, to serve use to the user in a certain way. However, if this product can be crafted or modified by the user, then we are immersing the user of the design in a whole other way. This concept of internal capabilities being urgent and important versus external capabilities only scratching the surface is extremely important. 

    “So when people turn to build their own fixed-gear bicycles rather than buying the stylish Italian one, learn to knit instead of rushing off to the fashion sales, or spend the weekends baking special kinds of bread instead of going out to the supermarket getting the pre-packaged ones, we actually see people who challenge the boundaries of their market-sanctioned capabilities. They want to break out of the constraints of consumerism. They can afford to buy the commodities, but they want more than the object itself. They want to enact and cultivate their capabilities in the world.”  (p.229)

    This quote really sums up or sheds light on the main idea in this article. I think designing a product that includes not only the users interaction, but the users input in order to make the final product what it is, really gives way for innovation to take place and creativity to grow. Because not only then will the user give life to the product, but he has the choice to make it flourish and grow in other ways as well. By giving the user this freedom, we can hope to see a future where we are designing more diverse and unique product experiences that we can share, enjoy and value in a whole different way. 

CRITICAL DESIGN FAQ - Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby

    I agree with critical design, but I feel as though the designer has a say in his designs. We should understand from the designers point of view how the design was intended to make people feel or how it was intended to make people question certain things. I did not see much about the designer here, although we are talking about peoples responses to design, I think we should also take into consideration the context of the product and where it came from. Besides this point, I really believe that critical design is a positive thing. We should be thinking of designs from different points of view, more philosophically, and see how it affects our generation and how it reflects designs in that period.

    “Society has moved on but design has not, Critical Design is one of many mutations design is undergoing in an effort to remain relevant to the complex technological political, economic and social changes we are experiencing at the beginning of the 21c.” (question 5)

    Critical design in my opinion, makes design more interesting. This is because we raise points about a design that we may have never thought of before. This could lead us to improve on certain design or modify them slightly. However, no matter how critical we are in design and how much we alter a design to suit what people think is acceptable or appropriate, if we continue to be critical, we are going to continue finding things unacceptable in a design. Although this means we are on a constant path to improving a design, maybe we are digging too deep into it the design to the point where to alterations and misinterpreted ideas ruin the initial idea or impression that the design was meant to give off in the first place.

States of Design 04: Critical Design - Paola Antonelli Critic and curator, MoMA

    “The Critical Design process does not immediately lead to useful objects, but rather to food for thought whose usefulness is revealed by its ability to help others prevent and direct future outcomes. The job of critical designers is to be thorns in the side of politicians and industrialists, as well as partners for scientists or consumer advocates, while stimulating discussion and debate about the social, cultural and ethical future implications of decisions about technology made today.”

    It is amazing to see how the projects that designers are coming up with today are a response to what is happening around the globe, whether it be a social controversy or a political one or an environmental one. Today, we are becoming more and more critical when observing a design that is revealing new stories from around the worldby conveying them in different manners. We are representing our ideas with our designs that are meant to shock the public, or shed light on very important matters, or to simply trigger a response. Today, our critical design tells stories, opinions and ideas of others through visuals, so that the designer can convey his or her message to the public and trigger a response. The response says a lot about the intention of the design. Because through triggering a response, the controversial matter that has risen from the piece spreads around. This gives the story embedded within the piece the exposure it needs in order to spread, for others to respond and be critical towards as well. 


    Fortune telling seemed somewhat fascinating to me when I was younger. From the paper games to the card reading, the breaking open fortune cookies, to the weird vibe I would get from looking at Zandar behind glass in an arcade. There was some innocence when thinking about all these games that would spark some sort of excitement or disappointment when finding out more about our future, because we new what was predicted what somewhat false. Unless we could find some truth and tie it into the events of our current lives or the hopes for our future. 

    As growing people, we like to identify and find our more about ourselves and our futures. We are concerned about our obstacles as much as we are concerned about our achievements. These are all events that we will eventually encounter in our future. But there are other things that we can express about ourselves that do not happen in events but just as being human. Our energy, or “vibes” are just as important as any other part of ourselves. This is what I would like to draw attention to in my project. An aura is not seen, but felt by other people and can affect your life just as much as any obstacle, achievement or encounter. 

    There are many ways today to measure many factors about someone. Their weight is measured using a scale that presents numbers, a thermometer measures ones internal temperature that is presented by numbers. All these digits can represent something about our present state. Just as a a mood ring can, inaccurately, predict your mood through expressing color, I would like to project ones energy onto them through a series of kaleidoscope patterns. I would be measuring a series of elements about someone as well as their aura using certain technologies that I would then combine with a kaleidoscope pattern generator in order to project ones measurements onto them. To turn their data about themselves into an art piece that is then protected onto themselves. 

    I have chosen a kaleidoscope because as a child, it was one way of generating patterns that I could only see once and would never generate the same pattern again. Just as people, we are all unique and different, through our looks and personalities and character and what we have to offer. It would be unfair if ones data made him or her similar to anyone else. One could weigh the same as someone else, but they are still two completely and entirely different people. This is what I hope to present through collecting some basic data about someone and generating this data into a unique art piece that one can be amazed by. Not just some digits that do not express who one is as a person. 

Artifact - Response.

     Whenever I hear the word artifact, I automatically think of pyramids, a tomb, a sarcophagus, and Canopic jars. I am sure we all have an idea of ancient ruins or objects that arise in our minds when we think about the word "artifact". However, this reading sheds light on the fact that an object does not need to be 1000 years old in order to be considered an artifact, but can be any object, just like the one I am using at this current moment to submit this review. My laptop, my make up, my backpack, these are all artifacts of the present day. 

     Although, this is not the only thing this article has brought the my attention. I have never thought of the term "artifact" as thoroughly as I have after reading this. There is a large role that the creator of the artifact plays when producing artifacts. But this just makes me think about artifacts today versus artifacts in the past. In the past, before the industrial revolution, majority of things were craft produced. This way, the creator had a large say in how the object was produced and constructed and this gave the artifact a more authentic feel. Maybe because there was only a limited amount of these artifacts and now must be cherished as they allow for us to understand more about the past. However artifacts today, as most things, are made in factories. Many of our artifacts, just as our laptops, were designed by huge teams, and were made in factories else where, and resources extracted from somewhere else. How does all this have an effect on how we value our artifacts today versus how we value the artifacts of those in the past? 

     Although I find this reading off track, I found that as a designer it is important to understand that I will be someday contributing to the artifacts being produced. And these artifacts will have an impact on our future and generations to come. 




The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin (1936)

I think it is very important to realize the way art is valued in relation to the progression of technology and the way art can be produced and also captured. And how the manner in which art is captured and produced can satisfy the vast audiences that crave art but how does this affect art itself. We live in a society that demands pieces at such a fast pace, and for different reasons. During the renaissance period for example, art and paintings were made to capture one of a kind portraits of rulers or religious scenes. Now, we use photography to capture an image and this image can be replicated to be seen by more than one person. Walter Benjamin argues that this method of viewing a piece demolishes the aura of the original. A good example could be the Monalisa. We can see may copies of this piece online and replicas are printed and placed in homes. But it is evident when seen in person the actual impression the piece of art has on the viewer. 

I think that if we would like to see art and pieces of work in the comfort of our own homes or nearby, via technology, through film or photography, the audience and the original piece of the work are being compromised. First off, the audience can only interpret the piece from where they are viewing it, without background context of where it came from. And even if one is educated about the work and its historical background, the aura of the original piece or original scene when looking at a photograph, cannot be felt through a copy. This could affect our appreciation towards the piece.  Second, these many copies may not do the piece of work justice. For ex

I think it is important that we realize what Walter Benjamin has shed light on. I think we would all like to see all the art pieces that we can in a life time. But the method that we are using nowadays is compromising the value and impression given by an original piece when viewed first hand. 

The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design - My Thoughts.


    Reading the first couple of pages, I got an idea of how coming up with a design starts with a designer having a strong connection and insight to the problem at hand. Not just a glance at the problem, but an in depth view of all the things going on to allow for this problem to arise in the first place, and how the designer, through empathizing with those who are affected by the problem, can find a way to solve the situation. There is no one way ticket to the finish line of a perfect product. Coming up with a solution is something temporary. A solution is constantly reflected on in order to find flaws or ways to improve through gradual modifications and sometimes taking a different path completely. Human Centered Design is trying to convey that perfect design is something that does not come easy. 

    It takes a process, it takes failure, it takes success, it takes insight, it takes optimism and most importantly, it takes confidence. Because being a designer who lacks the characteristic to stand up to a problem, face it, work hard to over come the challenges is a designer who is going to achieve a weak outcome. Maybe in the past, a designer who could come up with something simple and efficient to satisfy short term needs was all it took to be successful. However today, we are thirsty for designers who are able to fail, and create something more amazing at the second, third, fourth, or fifth try. Because this process is experience and designers gain from any sort of experience. Wether this experience has been positive or negative, reflecting on the past and innovating for something more successful in the future is the way designers can improve and come up with a design that can satisfy the needs of the problem. More importantly, designing to eliminate problems that we are currently expecting in our future. 

What Technology Wants - My Thoughts.

    The “technium” as Kevin Kelly has phrased it, is growing as we evolve, and we evolve as the technium grows and advances. Our universe through its own nature is efficient, diverse, contains beauty in different forms, has the ability to evolve, has structure, is complex and contains many of the traits and elements that technology is continuously striving to achieve without failure. This “second nature” that humans have created through technology is now embedded within our lives. We cannot live without technology, and technology cannot live without us. Us being the innovators, designers, creators and inventors of the past, the present and the future. 

    However, as technology grows stronger, we begin to realize the real impact it has on our generations and environment. We are no longer oblivious to the negative impacts that the growing technium brings to the table. We are smart enough, and capable enough to calculate and think with a long-term mind set. 

    Unfortunately and this goes without saying, people want money. Large corporations and industries now take over the smallest companies in order to expand, and gain more income and using technology to do so. With this expansion, comes a lot of baggage. Increase in factories, increase in the space of environment we destroy, increase in our carbon footprint and more. People are selfish, but this is because the design of their system, the design of the industries strategies are modeled around a short term goal. Which is to make money. 

    We have made mistakes with technologies, but this is what allows the technium to advance. With this advancement, we have realized that certain technologies have led us down hill and it is now time to take a drastic and different path. For example, GMO’s. We have used technology to aid in the production of GMO’s. We use GMO’s as a way to mass produce our agriculture. Farms using GMO’s have killed birds and species, and are seen to be unhealthy to our environment and to those whom ingest these foods. The way to fix this problem is to expand the number of local farms but with these farms could also come another area to invest in technology. 

    In order for us to prevent negative impacts, we must construct technologies and implement them in designs using long term ETHICAL thinking. I think this reading sheds light on the fact that, with the technetium growing, we must deal with it in a more fragile manner through how we innovate technology and how we implement it into the technium. Because the technium is no longer a world of its own, its a world embedded within ours. The technium is a world that we can control But we are reaching a point in time where we must prevent it from controlling us, and our primary world. 


MAJOR Problem: Polluted Food industry (literally and ethically) 


Sub-PROBLEM Soil is polluted SOLUTION COMPOST.    

GMO's aid in mass production in the food industry. On one end of the spectrum, it allows for us to purchase crops in larger sizes in a faster manner. On the other end of the spectrum, GMO's have polluted the Earth and our guts. 



There are many gardeners, how about farmers? Families and communities can join together in investing in a farm that grows crops that go in tune with their seasons and location. Cows? Duck? Chickens? People want meat, and just like fruits and vegetables, they have been transported around the world at a fast pace. Where are the animal rights? Well, not everyone is going to go vegan in order to support the repair of the food industry. But once upon a time, there were local farms that used to produce (here goes the list we all hear) hormone-free, grass-fed, free range healthy animals. Why can't we do that again? 

To add to this, maybe we need to keep on growing crops and killing animals at a fast pace because most of the food is not consumed, but thrown out. Props to McDonalds for making use of the whole chicken for making McNuggets, (even though it is filled with so many fillers). But that is not what I'm talking about. Many of us use the extra bits of animal bones for broth and many others use vegetables in their own way (pickles, compost..etc). But what about the restaurants that have food to spare? After asking several restaurants what they do at the end of the day (*cough* cough* Hu Kitchen get back to human), they told me they threw all the food in the garbage, and I have seen this happen myself. Wow, how inhumane. What about sending this food out to people who cannot afford food? How about reusing this food in other dishes instead? Why must quality food be thrown into the garbage? 

It all comes down to our ethics and what we are willing to do for ourselves and the planet. Too bad we don't really care about the consequences unless they effect us first hand. 

MAJOR Problem - Dirty Power Sources are STILL a problem.

Power. Power. Power. Power. Power. We use it all the time. I'm talking about the energy kind of power. The energy we're all greedy for. We use it to charge our phones in our sleep. We use it to heat up our water, we use it to charge our environmentally friendly cars. But how friendly is the whole process of attaining this power and energy?

It's a very dirty process, and we're all in denial when we say that nuclear energy is still an efficient way of attaining energy. From the process of mining for uranium, to the disposal of radioactive waste. Mining is a very dangerous process and can affect the lives of those who do the job, and guess who has to pay the price when radioactive waste is thrown into the seas and oceans? You may say the water, and some others may say aquatic animals; but *news flash* we are all part of a greater food chain and now we are the ones paying the price. How in the world is this nuclear energy a clean process. The large energy corporations may say they dispose of their waste "safely". But why do we even believe them? How are we so sure they don't pay the media and industry not to let out their dirty little secrets. 

SOLUTION - say no to nuclear. Is it simple? yes. Will we ever find an alternative? Hell yes. 

In order to make a change, we need to change what were doing, drastically and soon before we create a bigger problem than the one we already have to face. Renewable energy has been able to produce large quantities of energy, and for this reason, people are slowly learning that alternative energy is a brilliant idea. Will we have to make an investment? Yes we will. Is it expensive? Yes it is. But we have put double or triple the amount of money into the nuclear industry, and we may have to pay a big price for it (Three Mile Island, Fukushima, Chernobyl). 


-The media. 

-People are born into society, and are automatically given labels.