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PHD-DESIGN  July 2008

PHD-DESIGN July 2008

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Subject:

Re: Fwd: Re: Working across multiple design sectors (was A simple definition of 'Design'?)

From:

teena clerke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

teena clerke <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 1 Jul 2008 10:00:47 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (312 lines)

Hi Glenn,

in picking up on your post, substituting 'task', 'challenge' or 
'puzzle' for 'problem', still seems to construct the design space as 
a site of struggle in some way - which might also seem contrary to 
the idea of design as collaboration (or is collaboration also seen as 
a site of struggle, challenge, puzzle?).

In thinking through what this might mean while walking my children to 
school, I wonder what might happen if we trouble this perhaps 
adversarial construction to allow for a 'collection' of words 
('working across multiple design sectors') rather than a single 
(problematic) term, that provide for descriptions of the design space 
as other than problem/task/challenge? Words like synchronic, 
serendipitous, synergous, might open a broader space for discussion 
about certain phases of the design process that disrupt the binary of 
'smooth/problematic' temporal narratives of how it works in design - 
I prepare my children's school lunch, wonder what I might cook for 
dinner, worry about the (lack of) thesis writing, and think through a 
tricky wine label design I have been working on for six months. I go 
hear the Dalai Lama speak and lunch with a self-described 'housewife 
who sits in the corner' from Warren, who is also the ex-Mayor of 
Nyngan, and from a family of fifth generation Merino sheep farmers 
who recently switched to wine production and exporting - she 
pragmatically suggests a way forward, while I am 'inspired' to 
produce an entirely different illustration than the one that remains 
problematic for me and the client. What are these sites? Do they 
arise from my struggle alone? Do they emerge from synchronous random 
events that are not about design and also not about struggle? Or is 
this simply another site of struggle? (after all, I did go hear the 
Dalai Lama speak). Are they then legitimate sites/spaces for design 
work? Can the housewife/ex-mayor be a collaborator in my design work? 
Is there space in this collaboration for other (future) work?

Can we conceive of a productive and 'collaborative' space as a coming 
together (is this merely unproblematised collaboration?) of 
things/ideas/views/perceptions, that produces other things 
(ideas/processes/partnerships/products), or from which other things 
might emerge, not in a strictly linear, sequential or temporal 
manner, but, as Deleuze and Guttarri (1975, previously referenced) 
suggest, rhizomic, and/or as Patti Lather (2007) suggests 
'polytemporal', in that working on a current issue/job/outcome that 
already is, I might also predict that which is yet to come (a line of 
flight predicting a future thought/enterprise/process). Am I not 
collaborating with myself in a polytemporal space which specifically 
focuses on possibilities rather than resolutions? Not sure.

cheers, teena

Lather, Patti, 2007, 'Getting Lost', State University of New York Press, Albany

>Hi to All,
>
>I've been lurking and reading the interesting ideas which
>have been proposed. But apparently the word "problem" causes
>more concern than need be the case. Here are some ideas to
>consider.
>
>The Psychology topic of "problem solving" apparently may be
>yielding some unanticipated concerns in conjunction with
>Design. Perhaps a different term might have been a better
>choice, such as "task," "challenge," or even "puzzle." I
>checked a few introductory psychology textbooks I have in my
>office. Although I didn't notice this before, authors talk
>about "problem solving" without sufficiently clarifying that
>a broad meaning is intended (instead of only "negative"
>instances).
>
>First, so far as I've known this body of theory and research
>over the past several decades, both "positive"
>and "negative" kinds of challenges are supposed to be
>considered within the "problem solving" literature.
>
>Second, it is noteworthy that the "problem solving"
>literature especially emphasizes diversity in "solutions."
>Thus the intent is to be open to various approaches instead
>of seeking only or mainly some "correct solution."
>
>Third, occasionally some authors have proposed a "problem
>solving" approach might be useful in helping us to
>understand "creativity."
>
>Glenn Snelbecker, Temple University, Philadelphia
>
>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 01:28:52 +1000
>>From: teena clerke <[log in to unmask]> 
>>Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Working across multiple design
>sectors (was A simple definition of 'Design'?) 
>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>
>>Crawling from my bed very very early on this wintry Sydney
>morning, I
>>follow this 'line of flight' (Deleuze and Guattari 1975).
>>
>>What might happen if I conceptualise design spaces not as
>problem
>>spaces, and thus design outcomes NOT as evidence of having
>solved
>>problems - how else might they be seen? In the process of
>designing,
>>as is often the case, other possibilities emerge but are
>rejected as
>>being 'not right' by particular stakeholders (but not me?).
>What of
>>these other design possibilities? Might my portfolio
>perhaps also
>>represent in my memory the lost possibilities of each job?
>I have
>>stories for every job represented as an outcome in my
>portfolio, of
>>the 'one that got away', the 'great idea' the client did
>not go for,
>>or those that couldn't be 'resolved'. Does this not
>represent a
>>problem for design spaces conceptualised as
>problem 'solving'? In
>>this space, are there only solid, concrete, stable,
>sanctioned
>>winners as represented in the portfolio? And if so, what
>happens to
>>the other possibilities? Do they remain, problematic,
>ghostlike in
>  >our stories? Do they emerge perhaps in other jobs? What if
>we
>>conceptualise the design space as one of possibility? How
>then might
>>we speak of our work?
>>
>>teena
>>
>>Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., 1975, from 'A thousand
>Plateaus:
>>Capitalism and Schizophrenia', from 'Introduction:
>Rhizome', cited in
>>Norton's Anthology, p. 1595 (sorry, don't the have full
>publication
>>details).
>>
>>
>>>Teena et al,
>>>
>>>Re: your first paragraph.
>>>
>>>I don't know about Gavin, but I think your description
>fits
>>>beautifully with how I see designing - including
>engineering
>>>designing.
>>>
>>>Now please have mercy as I'm about to use words in ways to
>which
>>>some may be unaccustomed, but it's the words that work
>best for me &
>>>my background.
>>>
>>>Designing usually (in my experience, always) begins with
>an analytic
>>>stage.  The designer, confronted with a new situation, is
>unlikely
>>>to "fit" into it / understand it very well.  The designer
>will then
>>>try to figure out what the "real problem" is - what's
>missing from
>>>the way things are.  This requires a rather deep
>understanding.
>>>
>>>Teena, this is where your brainstorm, etc, happens.  My
>perspective
>>>is that the problem is there, you just don't recognize it
>as such,
>>>because (and I'm guessing here) "problems" exist in "more
>corporate
>>>design" settings.  Your "problem", generally, is finding
>the right
>>>image/visualization to communicate certain emotions &
>other info to
>>>specific individuals or groups.
>>>
>>>The study of the situation your in - aka the problem you
>have to
>>>solve - will map key features/points/aspects to certain
>>>memories/emotions/capabilities you have stored in your
>brain.  To do
>>>this you have to take the situation/problem
>apart...."deconstruct"
>>>is perhaps too overloaded a word.  That is, you're
>analyzing the
>>>situation (perhaps inspirationally - whatever works best
>for you!)
>>>and connecting the dots in your head.
>>>
>>>Put another way, you're finding a way to overlap your
>perception of
>>>the actual situation onto your own mental structures and,
>thus,
>>>absorb/understand it.
>>>
>>>Then you start coming up with something that will change
>the
>>>situation in a beneficial/desirable/required way.  Some
>people call
>>>this designing, but it can't happen except in the most
>trivial cases
>>>without first understanding the current situation (the
>analysis), so
>>>I think of designing as including both the analytic and
>(sorry for
>>>the next word, no offence intended again) synthetic.
>>>
>>>At least, that's how I see it.
>  >>
>>>Re: your second paragraph
>>>
>>>I'd say the temporal ordering of tasks will vary from
>situation to
>>>situation.  But the tasks themselves will be there sooner
>or later,
>>>and that there will be many similar situations that will
>end up with
>>>task orderings that are very similar too, and that might
>be assumed
>>>permanent features by those who are often involved in
>those
>>>situations.
>>>
>>>
>>>teena clerke wrote:
>>>>Hi Gavin,
>>>>
>>>>I am mindful that there are also spaces in which design
>operates
>>>>that are not seen as being problem-based, so articulating
>design
>>>>space as 'problem' space may be misleading and also
>limiting.
>>>>Suffice to say that in my experience, design can occur as
>a way of
>>>>thinking, practicing, experimenting, researching (before
>picking up
>>>>the drawing implement, I always list, brainstorm, play
>with words),
>>>>and then doing/making/visualising, etc, without there
>being a
>>>>'problem' as such. In fact, many of my designs, and
>particularly
>>>>illustrations are conceived and then executed this way.
>Is this
>>>>design? Is it practiced within a 'problem' space? Can
>design space
>>>>be articulated as occurring within 'inspirational' space
>without
>>>>there ever being a problematic? I suggest so, but suspect
>not in
>>>>the realms where more corporate design resides.
>>>>
>>>>Further, in my experience, the way you have worded the
>proposal
>>>>suggests that design is linear, and we can also 'suspend
>the desire
>>>>to draw', when in fact, drawing, mark making, and so on
>are very
>>>>much a part of the 'thinking', 'researching'
>and 'defining'
>>>>activities - a bit chicken and egg really. They don't
>seem to have
>>>>formal stops and starts, and are not easily articulated
>as a linear
>>>>process, or even a circular sequential process, nor do
>they occur
>>>>in isolation or explicitly in teams (in fact,
>frustratingly, they
>>>>most often occur just when you crawl into bed at night -
>try and
>>>>categorise that!). Very tricky process this, attempting
>to find
>>>>commonalities without also excluding. But still, in my
>opinion, a
>>>>commendable one.
>>>>
>>>>And might I suggest that it might also be useful to
>explore this
>>>>question empirically with your design students and
>practitioners,
>>>>beyond the 'research space' of this list and beyond
>the 'academic
>>>>space' of the university. These questions are really
>useful ones
>>>>particularly at this 'defining' time in the disciplinary
>>>>development of design, and ones that might be illuminated
>through
>>>>speaking with practitioners who might thus provide
>insights into
>>>>these very interesting ideas that blow the 'problem'
>space wide
>>>>open.
>>>>
>>>>so, I ended up with a long response. hope you find it
>useful.
>>>>
>>>>teena
>>>
>>>--
>>>Filippo A. Salustri, Ph.D., P.Eng.
>>>Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
>>>Ryerson University
>>>350 Victoria St, Toronto, ON, M5B 2K3, Canada
>>>Tel: 416/979-5000 ext 7749
>>>Fax: 416/979-5265
>>>Email: [log in to unmask]
>>>http://deseng.ryerson.ca/~fil/
>Glenn E. Snelbecker, Ph.D., Professor, Temple University

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