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PHD-DESIGN  February 2008

PHD-DESIGN February 2008

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Subject:

Re: REFRAME: Re: Evidence of what?

From:

Eduardo Corte-Real <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Eduardo Corte-Real <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 5 Feb 2008 19:39:38 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (63 lines)

Dear Dori,

You asked: “What FORM does design research take as an artifact to 
communicate/convey its knowledge”.
In a very fast and intuitive way, design knowledge is, firstly, Form 
knowledge or knowledge about form (useless if not ultimately about form). 
Thus, design research knowledge should be about Form. So, a first answer 
should be: any design knowledge communicating/conveying artifact should 
have a form about form. (I must stress that I’m only saying this because 
you are asking for an artifact)  
So, what Form does design research takes (as an artifact)?
Another thing is that it is assumed in your question is that there is 
a “design research as”, meaning that we can imagine “design research as 
not an artifact”, “design research as an artifact that do not 
communicate/convey knowledge” and “design research that convey its 
knowledge”. Also, you imply by your question that there is a form to be 
taken by design research while becoming artifact.
The first examples you provided of artifacts were good examples of 
artifacts although of different epistemological levels (as Terry pointed 
out, I think). Although a blue print is clearly an artifact is not in the 
same level of a poster or a car. These are final stages of a production 
process (some would argue that they are outside the production process) 
and the blue print is clearly one of the stages leading to the final 
object: a building, a city, whatever. Well, all these have Form which 
means that its wholeness may not be accessible to us as Form, being Form a 
sum of all its morphological characteristics perceived as such.  I must 
stress SUM because the form you whish should correspond to a word. (If I 
would say the Form of design research as artifact in one of a pear, we 
would say that design research looks like a pear with those kinds of 
little stains and two round parts, and not that design research tastes 
like granola sweet fresh water). That’s why a blue print is a different 
artifact than the poster or the car because it encapsulates 
representations of forms: its main formal characteristic is to be 
representing other forms and not itself as a form whereas the car and the 
poster are formally just representing themselves. 
In a sense design research knowledge is always “blueprintish” as 
something, even if constructed after design (studying the real life of 
design objects), always placed before designing. First, because if it were 
placed while designing it would be design. Second, because to incorporate 
design is its goal (and not to be design).  Design Research Knowledge 
helps to build Design Knowledge. Design knowledge is the required 
knowledge to give form to designed things, as our friend Thomas Rasmussen 
would put. 
Clive Dilnot, stressed the importance of configuration. Proven to be 
right, Clive’s Configuration, a specific way to describe Form as Design, 
would be the formal manifestation of design Knowledge (great or poor). 
Design Knowledge would be essentially configurative and consequently made 
through the articulation of figures (images). Design research knowledge 
should, or would help to, configurate by pre figuration (while designing). 
If I’m allowed a logic leap from here, I would say that the artifact that 
you seek is the LECTURE. In a more elaborated way, the artifact you seek 
has the form of a university course, a sequence of lectures, a sequence of 
works, assignments ultimately related to form giving or form making. Even 
more ultimately, the artifact you are asking for is a system of courses 
conducting to a university degree, not only the doctoral degree, but 
especially the degrees that will “produce” designers as educated form 
givers, makers.  
If you want to study THE ARTIFACT of design research knowledge 
communication, focus on the Lecture or the system of lectures. There is a 
lot to be learned from that. 

Cheers, 
Eduardo

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