Thursday, April 27, 2006

Crafting design

"I think the radicalness of design has everything to do with the ability to engage participation. What if design were used as a tool for civic discourse? What if it produced unrest, dissatisfaction with things as they are? What if it were used to engage people, even stirring them to the point of anger? If you don't like the rules of the game, it's your responsibility to break them. Use the democratic process to bring a hell of a lot of people with you."

- Maurice Cox

This and more interesting discussion around the relationships between design and craft at Core 77: Radical Craft: The Second Art Center Design Conference

The connection between craft and design also reminds me of Andrea Tung's Making Things blog, in which she expresses herself as fashion designer, crafty knitter, yarn-marker, fibre designer and entrepreneur - all by way of gorgeous things (like Sandra Backlund's clothes).


Blogger Phil said...

What if design were used as a tool for civic discourse? What if it produced unrest, dissatisfaction with things as they are?

Sing it, Maurice. Around where I live a massive operation of redesigning the roads and street furniture has been going on for the last year or so. Some of it's good and makes life better, some of it's bad and inconvenient, some of it's just incomprehensible, but - although I'm sure there was some kind of consultation process back before it started - all of it just happens. Red-painted areas in the middle of the road, bus shelters in the middle of the pavement (sidewalk, whatever), bus pull-ins at some stops, extensions of the pavement to stop the buses pulling in at others - they all just appear. And we work round them and tread down new desire paths and grouse, ineffectually.

"We're thinking of doing this for these reasons, but it will have this effect; alternatively we could do this which we think will have these effects. What do you think?" (And listen, and repeat.) What Cox grasps is that this kind of process would not only empower people but engage and mobilise them - it's an almost Freirean prospect. Which pretty much sums up why it hardly ever happens, of course.

Anonymous anne said...

Oh, but it doesn't just happen, does it? We're just not amongst those involved. We don't know how they make their decisions. They never ask us.

You're right. It is too radical.

And Freire lost. Now we accept participation without transformation.


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