Thanks to Tim for questioning the content of the list. I truly regret him leaving.
I think he is right it is not a design list in the sense of describing design as a field based on "form-giving" where a minimum level of knowledge and practice of e.g. drawing is a common foundation for all discussions.
The community on this list is composed of designers with the insight into drawing and form-giving and non-designers without this insight. All of the latter i assume have an honest interest in design as a wider field or as a subject for study looking at it with the goggles of other disciplines. But they are very often lacking the sensibility about the limits of their own perspective and knowledge and they often write with an arrogance that is provoking, as Tim pointed out. To be just, many of the non-designers are honestly trying to understand design. But for the rest it is very hard to understand what aspect of design and design knowledge they appreciate. Everything seems to be wrong so why staying in the field or on this list? Is it for the ego-boosting reasons Tim mentioned? The lack of insight into design is becoming an increasing problem and it needs to be addressed with a little bit of humility and will to learn.
At the same time we often have experienced that the very same people do not follow them-selves the standard of argumentation and reasoning which they impose on others, first issue is to know the field of design.
And yes i am generalizing and i allow my self to do so especially because we repeatedly are confronted with negative generalizations from that side.
Off course drawing can be research in a similar way as writing can be research. Not all drawing is research but there is a long term and tight relation between drawing and research and some of the drawing is an integrated part of research that is research in its own right. Claiming something else is ignorant and it is disturbing that we need to have these discussions over and over again on a design list.
Another issue is that it is maybe thinkable that a drawing can stand alone without text but it is unlikely, at least very rare. These intimate relations between the visual and the textual have been talked about before here.
There is a long historic line of drawing as research. How would you imagine the development of the perspective or color theories or the whole bases of information visualization and scientific visualization without it? What about the issue of observation through drawing? What about the technological developments? What about issues of perception? Are they imaginable without drawing? Maybe, but drawing has played a central and multi faceted role of knowledge production in these fields. I would also argue that artistic drawing is potentially knowledge or interpretation related. I have not investigated this especially so i wont say more about it.
Unless one has a very fixed and old fashioned conception of research as knowledge production and one has no knowledge about drawing it is obvious that drawing can be research in its own right.
This is not an unimportant debate but it is central to what the list should be about, namely a design research list, which it may be aspires to be but it is constantly side tracked.
This list has developed into a weird corner with many lurkers as me with the same frustrations as Tim. I know many design researchers who for long time have left because it seems irrelevant to them. While design research is moving FFW the list is convoluted in its weird labyrints.....
I still think its worth staying here. Hope Tim comes back.
Birger Sevaldson (PhD, MNIL)
Professor at Institute of Design
Oslo School of Architecture and Design
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