I feel like a broken record, but why all the theory? Why must a design be justified by “intellectual resources”? Shouldn’t something well-designed be able to stand on its own? Do we really need more regimes and boundaries and guidelines to follow? These inception-style abstractions of design methods are starting to get on my nerves. Designers that are really artists that practice design fiction by using critical theory in support of critical design? Seriously?

— EDIT: reading Dunne & Raby’s definition of Critical Design is a little more enlightening, but I’m still not convinced. The club of Speculative design / design fiction, is already pretty niche — what’s the point of defining a subculture within it? Or is it the other way around — is design fiction a subset of Critical Design?

As an aside, I have a fundamental problem with this paragraph from Bardzell:

“Critical theory offers little insight about how to make things. Critical theory is a verbal tradition, whose outcomes are new theories, critiques, and insights almost universally expressed in words. Design, on the other hand, is an embodied making tradition, where both processes and outcomes happen with and through design materials.”

Words absolutely are materials, especially in our computer age. Where does design fiction fall in terms of both prose and code?


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