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PHD-DESIGN  July 2008

PHD-DESIGN July 2008

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Subject:

Re: design as discourse

From:

Terence Love <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Terence Love <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 8 Jul 2008 08:01:06 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

Hello,

Alan illustrates part of the problem that I pointed to.

Again it is of ignoring the fallaciousness intrinsic in 'excluded middle' -
the endemic problem of many design texts and design research analyses.

"Design is discourse" is similar to "a cat is an animal with four legs"

Viewing a single aspect or characteristic does not even minimally usefully
describe something (similar to why form doesn't define function or vv).

Simaqi (described in Shah, 1979, p. 166) offered the following advice around
a thousand years ago to those involved in design research,

"If you take what is relative to be what is absolute, you may be lost. Take
nothing, rather than risk this."

Best,

Terry 

-----Original Message-----
From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related
research in Design [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alan
Young
Sent: Monday, 7 July 2008 11:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: design as discourse

I disagree with Terry here, and tend to see design primarily as  
discourse; but perhaps we have different versions of discourse in  
mind. I am using Foucault's notion of discourse (with a few  
alterations). This regards design as a largely agreed upon unity of  
previously disparate practices or practices from other discourses.  
Discourses (and design fits these requirements pretty closely here)  
have hierarchies of power (who can speak to whom, and about what);  
they have controlled and controlling languages; they constitute their  
own objects (or reconstitute objects as belonging to the discourse);  
and they have other sets of rules for how things are to be  
constituted and used. As a discourse, design also constitutes its own  
history-this is the 'fishing net' model of history where, once we've  
decided that something is 'important' we cast back to see where it  
began, what the important events were, and who the important people  
were, in its 'history' (Corbet off to stage left, Mies move centre  
stage).

The reason discourse is a useful model is, as Klaus says, it  
highlights the cultural and social, but it does two other important  
things-it emphasises how power is shifted in and around this unity;  
and it also avoids essentialising design, where we continually search  
for the 'real' meaning, or origin, of design, as if it lies out there  
waiting to be discovered. We also avoid models like natural  
'evolution', where graphic design, as an example, evolved naturally  
from commercial art. Evolution de-emphasises power plays, and the  
discontinuities that are needed in the constitution of a discourse  
(the things that are left out). De-essentialising design also removes  
(well, a bit) the heroic myths we tend to see around things we are  
deeply involved in-and so works against those popular notions of  
'design as the ever-helpful-communication tool and never the  
manipulative-persuasion-to-spend-money tool'.

Design as discourse is constantly shifting and each new article,  
product, practitioner, or statement (including this one) invests in a  
particular way of knowing design. To see design as discourse in this  
sense sees design as always political. This, in itself, I think makes  
it a very useful model.

kindest regards,
alan.

Dr. Alan Young
Senior Lecturer
AUT University
Wellesley Campus
6th Floor, WE Building
St. Pauls Street
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1020, NZ
T. +64 9 921 9999 ext.8181
F. +64 9 921 9916
e. [log in to unmask]


From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and  
related
research in Design [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Terence Love
[[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, 8 July 2008 7:58 a.m.
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: design as discourse

Dear Jurgen,

There are many situations and contexts in design theory and design  
research
in which the idea of design as a discourse are irrelevant, a fallacious
diversion and not helpful.

Why do you want to define design as discourse?

Best regards,
Terry


Dr. Alan Young
Senior Lecturer
AUT University
Wellesley Campus
6th Floor, WE Building
St. Pauls Street
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1020, NZ
T. +64 9 921 9999 ext.8181
F. +64 9 921 9916
e. [log in to unmask]

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