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PHD-DESIGN  March 2013

PHD-DESIGN March 2013

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Subject:

Re: SV: Drawing as research

From:

Eduardo Corte-Real <[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:

Fri, 15 Mar 2013 17:06:53 +0000

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Hi Birger (thanks, by the way) Nicola, Derek, Matt,
(I'm pretending not to address Terry's posts :o)

1. Robust Theories look like Schwarzenegger?
The problem here seems to be a confusion between scientific research and 
research.
Insidiously, research dropped  'scientific' and presented itself as one, 
as if all research should be according with the rules of science. As if 
'exercise' only meant to build incredible muscles.
The problem with scientific research is that looks at the Human as if 
the Human was Nature with Laws to be uncovered, and then established, 
and communicated by supposedly unquestionable languages (the accepted 
languages) of science.
When Terry writes that a "robust theory" is needed for something so that 
design research can step out of teenage-hood he is if fact saying that a 
robust theory is needed for design research cease to be design research 
and be other than design research and be 'like' neuroscience or 
psychology. Not that the findings of neuroscience and psychology aren't 
of interest for design researchers but they aren't their field of 
research nor design research should be placed epistemologically as using 
the same methods to achieve knowledge (that kind of knowledge). Maybe 
design research should always be teen-aged...
2. Does Design research look like Natalie Wood's dreams?
Birger goes straight to the splendor in the grass condition of design 
research by point in out the point that design is "form-giving". Anyone 
who had ever studied the way form givers developed an fixed knowledge in 
order to give form to un-things in order to make them things stumble 
upon drawing as research in its most various manifestations.
I amicably suggest Derek to look at Michelangelo's drawings for S. 
Giovanni dei Fiorentini or for Porta Pia in Rome. If one day we meet 
over a glass of something I'll explain you how he managed to change from 
a figurative-based-architecture to a plasticity-based-architecture 
creating a major breakthrough in the understanding of built space. It is 
not only a tool (research or learning one) but it is theoretical 
statement about what architecture should be. Maybe some people can't 
read that theory. It's a pity, I can't also read the String Theory. I 
have not studied enough Physics to understand it...
3. Doctor Who, Strangelove, Frankenstein or else?
Leonardo Da Vinci made drawings to understand how the human heart valves 
work and used is findings in hydraulic works (as Martin Kemp beautifully 
explained). The problem with old Leo was that most of the times he was 
thinking mechanically, he created, as I wrote in my far away doctoral 
thesis, an "anatomology". A science, based on drawing, fitted to 
understand the relation between observable parts and their function in a 
system.  This science was, in a way, also a technology because it was 
driven to devise techniques to create stuff, things, objects, art. Yet 
to my view using drawing to research.
Victor F., a true heir of Leonardo's anatomology, gave life to his 
monster, unfortunately with no skin. He didn't manage to recreate it. 
Therefore the creature appearance was far more terrifying than he was 
truly and, as we all known, misunderstandings arose. Of course that 
Victor was not a design researcher; otherwise he would never go on with 
the experiment being the form of his creature so incomplete.
Design Doctors... Design Philosophy Doctors... PhD in Design?
Let's go back to Human and Natural. Aren't we Natural? Aren't we 
governed by the same rules of proteins and atoms since we are made of 
them? Isn't the bomb so fit to put us in our rightful place?
4. H.G. Wells and Calvino
Isn't there a logic about us to understand, to undercover, write it and 
follow the consequent rules? Aren't there robust theories about us? Of 
course there are, but once established, they evaporate the Human.  Both 
Wells in the Invisible Man and Calvino in the Nonexistent Knight explore 
metaphorically a possible nonexistent condition of humans while 
existing. Their only possibility is to 'dress'. Designed stuff is there 
for that.
Design Doctors should be trained not evaporate others and, most of all 
not to evaporate themselves.
Drawing, especially the one you make on paper, makes you visible and 
makes visibility (from a human perspective) visible to others.
I hope to have made clear by now that the object of Design research 
should be the Human, staying young enough to believe that a general 
theory of human projects will never be finished.

When, a few months ago I called upon Marina Abramovic performance in 
MoMa, that's what I meant. She goes straight to her own humanity and the 
humanity of others.
A design doctor should research to cultivate this basic ability.

Have a nice weekend,

Eduardo


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


-- 
Eduardo C˘rte-Real
Prof. Doctor
IADE, Lisboa



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