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PHD-DESIGN  October 2011

PHD-DESIGN October 2011

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Subject:

Re: Information-skills rather than creativity-skills as the primary basis for design

From:

Jean Schneider <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 21:19:36 +0200

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text/plain

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text/plain (99 lines)

Dear Terry and all,

It seems to me that there cannot be an agreement between the two
positions, not that much on the ground of the place/non place of
creativity and the central role of the designer-as-a-person in the
design process, but rather because there is a radical divide between
the analytical philosophical tradition from which, in my opinion,
your definition of design belongs to, and a more continental
tradition that doesn't want to dissociate so radically the design
(and its output) from either the human beings that "author" it, or
the human beings to which it is meant for.

At this moment in history, it seems to me that there is a solid body
of evidence that demonstrates that most design programmes are somehow
anthropological failures. The reasons why are quite diverse and
complex, but apart from programmes that operate in niche realms (e.g.
space or warfare), architectural programmes, design programmes etc.
have partly failed in respect to their intended acceptance. Which, by
the way, makes me quite sad because I profoundly like the concepts,
the ideological approaches, the forms that have been invented. I
don't believe that this happened because people who did them didn't
have enough information, or tools, or were stupid. I think that as
soon as design is aiming at adressing the "human community", it is
confronted to the issue of normalisation. Many attempts have been
made to resolve this by some kind of combinatory methods, which is
somehow legitimate because most of us are not very radical in their
differenciation. But this doesn't really work.
It seems to me that however sophisticated the information processing
might be, the anthropological needs will never be resolved. However
thin the sieve might be, water will always leak.

This said, I am not a big supporter of the image of the "creative
individual" either. This is more a discursive construction that takes
its roots in the tradition of writing the history of art as a
sequence of biographies of artists.
But the "wicked" side of the so called "wicked problems" requires
proposals, meaningful enough to the others. Such proposals can be
informed by heuristics, but are not the results of heuristics. The
meaning may be reduced to a set of attributes. Because artifacts
(objects, images, texts, buildings...) have a longer life than
conversations, yet they never change, they just age very fast, and
not very gracefully: so the initial meaning jumps from a conversation
to a senile repetition in no time.

Jean

Le 13 oct. 11 à 18:22, Terence Love a écrit :

> I'm suggesting there is considerable evidence now to move on from
> there. I'm
> asking that you set aside all of the traditional perspectives on
> design and
> hold the possibility that it may be incorrect, irrelevant, partial,
> misleading and supported and privileged only as a result of self-
> interest
> and the maintenance of existing communities of practice in some design
> realms.
>
> One starting point in problematizing theories and concepts of
> design is to
> question the validity of the way that designers and design
> researchers
> (including reified theorists such as Csikzentmihaly) have assumed and
> privileged 'creative individuals' as the primary explanation of
> creating
> good designs. Immediately, it is obvious there is significant
> evidence that
> challenges these widely held assumptions.
>
> /.../
> The primary aim of all design practice, education and research is to
> produce good designs for a better future. Designs are the
> specifications
> for making and doing things. Designs consist of instructions. .
> Identifying
> the parameters of these instructions in any individual design can
> be done
> in various ways - by heuristics, research, science, theories,
> models,
> artificial intelligence, data mining - often better than and
> instead of the
> 'creativity' of human designers.
>
> /.../

> I understand where you are coming from and am suggesting it is
> possible and
> helpful to move on from the positions and theories currently taken
> for given
> in the design fields. Particularly, I'm suggesting it is important
> to move
> on from the obsession with human creativity as if it were always
> only the
> best way to create designs. Already, it is obviously not true. The
> question
> is how best to build more appropriate theory and education programs
> and
> research priorities for Design.
>

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