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Subject:

Lists: Industrial Design Forum [IDFORUM]

From:

Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 14 Oct 2000 07:31:31 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (258 lines)

Dear Colleagues,

In the recent thread on lists, one post here suggested that Industrial
Design Forum -- also known as IDFORUM -- is little more than a chat room. I
will respectfully disagree with this opinion.

IDForum has been going for some years. Created and moderated by Maurice
Barnwell, it is hosted by York University. As is the cases with all lists,
IDFORUM has had its better and worse moments. At some point a year or so
back, a number of ID teachers all assigned their students to subscribe to
IDFORUM at one moment. Unfortunately, these students were new to list use,
and none of the teachers apparently took the time to explain the uses and
abuses of a listserv discussion list to their students. The students were
generally well-intentioned, but clumsy and naive. The noise rose
dramatically while signal quality dropped. Many former subscribers left.

Things are calmer now, and from time to time, there appear a series of
genuinely interesting and valuable posts. It is important to note that
IDFORUM is a list intended for industrial design education. It is not
focused on research, philosophy or doctoral education. (That said, one
occasionally finds valuable posts and threads on all these topics.)

If you are interested in industrial design or if you have students who
focus on ID, IDFORUM can be a useful and interesting subscription. If your
focus is software design, epistemology, or philosophy of scicne, IDFORUM
may not be for you.

Several subscribers known to us on other design lists occasionally turn up
with elegant and entertaining posts. From my view, one of the best posts
ever written on meeting client needs was a post published on IDFORUM by Wim
Gilles, describing how his students tackled an assignment with blind users
as the intended client of a design product. Another occasional poster well
known to many of us is Bryan Byrne, an anthropologist who works in the
design field. These days, three articulate and well informed working
designers sustain much of the discourse with sound, substantive advice
written from a perspective anchored in the rich flow of design practice.
These are Rob Curedale, an Australian who has established a major
reputation in the thriving San Francisco design scene, Steve Curran, an
Australian working in Oz, and Dan Taylor, a Canadian located in Ontario.
There are also frequent and interesting posts by Karen Xu, a designer
without a sig to identify her current work.

The recent IDFORUM Digest (#2000-246) is a good example of IDFORUM at its
best. I've edited it slightly for formatting and deleted two posts related
to a school-specific query. The remainder is what popped up in today's
email.

If you're not interested in industrial design, then IDFORUM is not for you.
If you are, it's a worthwhile read. If you are teaching design students,
it's worth recommending -- and when you recommend it, be sure to explain
how to use and participate in a Listserv discussion list.

-- Ken Friedman

p.s. In the post that follows, I am passing on information about Phil
Agre's "Networking on the Network." It may prove useful to those who use
Listserv discussion lists as assignments for their students.


------------------------------
-----------------------------


Here follows the current IDFORUM Digest:


Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 00:01:11 -0400
Reply-To: Industrial Design Forum <[log in to unmask]>
From: Industrial Design Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: IDFORUM Digest - 12 Oct 2000 to 13 Oct 2000 (#2000-246)
To: Recipients of IDFORUM digests <[log in to unmask]>

There are 8 messages totalling 271 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. What is taste? (6)

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 10:31:03 +0100
From: C Clay <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: What is taste?

Dear Whomever,

My name is Chris Clay, I am an Industrial Design student studying at
Loughborough University, currently in my final year of study. I am
researching the subject of taste for my dissertation, in particular how it
is perceived and understood. I would appreciate some feedback from anyone
who think they could help.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Clay

--

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 04:04:52 -0700
From: Jacob Black <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: What is taste?

Sounds like a job for psychologists. Taste is an extremely subjective
thing. There is much research in the field of cognitive psyche devoted to
pattern recognition (ie template matching theory, distinct features model,
etc.) and attention (what draws it and keeps it as wells as what dispels
it). Even so how can you account for the amount of variance between
individuals? As for a good web link to go to I couldn't tell you.

Jake Black
 asuidsa

--

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 09:14:33 -0400
From: Dan Taylor <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: What is taste?

Clay,

You may have bitten off more than you can chew.

Taste is a complexity topic and as such really falls under cognitive
psychology and sociology although it affects each of us daily.

It is important to note that a Nobel Prize has just been awarded to two
academics who have been attempting to quantify how people make preferential
choices, which is one definition of taste.

I would recommend that you read Dietrich Dorner's most excellent book " The
Logic of Failure " as a starting point. It has a very relevant section on
complexity is a very worthwhile read for anyone dealing with complex issues.

My regards to all on the list,

Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor + Company
1543 Bayview Avenue, # 407, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4G 3B5
Tel 416.925.1668 Fax 416.921.2442
Email: [log in to unmask] http://www.DanTaylor.com and
http://www.Hive.com

"We tame technology and design opportunities."

--

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 13:24:27 EDT
From: Rob Curedale <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: What is taste?

In a message dated 10/13/2000 2:35:20 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

<< Dear Whomever, My name is Chris Clay, I am an Industrial Design student
studying at Loughborough University, currently in my final year of study. I
am researching the subject of taste for my dissertation, in particular how
it is perceived and understood. . . . >>

There was an interesting exhibition at the old Boilerhouse Project in the V
& A Museum in London about 15 years ago on Taste. Maybe you can find an old
Catalogue. The exhibition looked at the notion of taste in relation to the
British class system and its development through the Victorian and
Modernist periods. The modernists considered the old flying ducks on the
wall or Princess Diana Commemorative plates to be bad taste reflecting on
the intelligence of the owners. But the exhibition suggested that taste is
always relative and has social purposes.

I think that it is possible to design a Princess Diana plate and come up
with a solution which would be acceptable to the traditional working class
target as well as any other class. I think that Picasso would have been
able to solve this design problem. I always try to not make taste
judgments. These are often made across cultures. Particularly cultures
which have decorative traditions. I had to design some street lighting in
Morocco and had to come up with a solution which suited my modernist
European taste as well as the Islamic Moroccan taste of the client. I think
that it is often difficult to step outside your own taste culture and
design something original within a quite different culture of taste. A
designer I spoke to in Singapore said that he had a problem with one client
who kept trying to gold plate the knobs on his black modernist products. A
clash of two cultural perspectives of taste.

Rob Curedale

--

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 04:00:20 +0800
From: Karen <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: What is taste?

Taste -- something you've been accustomed to since young; a certain kind of
upbringing culturally, religiously and can even be effected through
teaching. All these can effect the way you prefer the look and function of
a certain object. You can even influence someone to adopt / uncannily
'brainwash' someone to favour a certain design taste. Taste varies from one
civilisation to another, across different boundaries. While we all have a
natural perception / inclination for a particular taste, which is how most
people would favour for a particular object that generates a desirable
demand; we could also have our tastes changed when we are immersed in a
different social-cultural climate. In that respect, tastes can be taught
fairly quickly by being immersed in a different cultural atmosphere. That
also explains why certain establishments, be it companies or colleges,
cultivate a certain preference /or even prejudice against a certain design
style.

Whatever that is being induced unto you, the force usually comes from being
popular at a certain period either historically, socially, politically etc.
Most people have a conventional tendency towards accepting what is
attractive to them to show their current state of personality. The style
might even be kitsch, hard rock, big noise; but if that peer attraction is
there, then there is a new 'popular' taste being visually stimulated into a
trend. It reflects how people and environment interact at that particular
moment in time. However, that doesnt always mean it is a good phenomenon.

This topic yields a lot of thoughts and it's not just a matter of taste. In
any way, good luck on your project !

best wishes

Karen Fu

--

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 11:17:22 +1000
From: Steven Curran <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: What is taste?

The subject of taste is a complicated one, as our tastes derive from
notions of class, socio-economic background, culture, and our often-held
aspirations to 'reinvent' ourselves as individuals. I would recommend that
you read Paul Fussell's book 'Class', as well as anything you can on the
subject of kitsch. Dorfles' book makes some interesting points, but is
rather dated. Recently, I read an issue of the Harvard Design Magazine
(Summer 2000) which was dedicated to the subject of class and taste. You
can order back issues at http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/hdm/

Good luck with your ambitious project.

Steve Curran
Designer
UPSIDE Solutions
34 Zambesi St
Riverhills, Brisbane Q 4074
Australia

tel +61 7 3279 6714
fax +61 7 3279 1886
mobile 0419 661 153
email [log in to unmask]


--




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