I make art not design !!!!

This might be the general gist of the whole lecture…….or was it not ? I am still a little perplexed by the things shown in this lecture and the way they were presented . With all due respect to Joshua’s achievements and intelligence, I don’t see the point of this lecture. Are we here to look at ‘cool stuff’ coming out of a talented artist’s hopes, desires and sensitivities or are we here to understand what is and what is not design fiction ?

“You could do anything you want”…..A lot of the time what I heard in the lecture from Joshua …sounds like a common motivational american slogan for budding young minds and a whole lot of juxtapostion of what ‘he’ likes to do just because he can ( he said that too)…there was some expected response from the class…

“Yeah it is cool!!!” ( head nodding cool )

My argument is not to invalidate his work and show how ignorant I am but to really understand what was the takeaway from this class other than being exposed to work of one of the prominent artist and faculty from Art department. There are blurred lines in the realm of Speculative Design, Critical Design and Design Fictions but there are definitely boundaries set when it comes to create a  socio-cultural critique thorugh speculating artifacts/visions and creating ‘art’. Design fictions walks on the fine line of art but this practice is not similar to creating art in my understanding. There is a lot of precedence of art work that could be counted as Design Fiction and vice-a-versa but we (post modern humans or contemporary fictioneers) want to change that notion not promote it.

Another critique I would offer is that artists often have this (pretentious) artist statements about the artwork or affect it would create but they operate from a very high level isolated perspective ( as per my limited understanding of art) and a normative fact is that it is hard to understand the artist statement let alone understand the art.

What sort of societal change it would create when it entails a crytic description and would involve tha artist to make you FEEL something by drowning you in the myriad notions of concepts embedded in that artifact ?


4 thoughts on “I make art not design !!!!

  1. 1. I second your thoughts on Joshua’s artist statement. I was like, “Whoa! Really, the felt car is doing all that?!” (I gotta friend who has a side gig writing artist statements for hire and running workshops on artist-statement-writing (it’s an industry!), if you’re ever in need…)

    2. There is socio-cultural critique in his work. If the line we’re trying to draw is between an “artifact” and “art,” I think that’s a pretty blurry line. As someone without design training, it’s a line that’s difficult for me to to find.

    3. Again, speaking as someone without design training, I don’t really understand the importance of drawing the line between art and design fiction. Why is it a division that we are trying to promote? Does it imply a certain degree of rigor, of theoretical grounding? Of generalizability? Of access to commerce? I’m not trying to be an asshole. I genuinely don’t understand the implications.

  2. I would argue that Joshua’s lecture was very appropriate to our class. I felt that the overall point of his talk was quite clear in showing the importance of presentation when it comes to communicating a narrative, something that is integral in design fiction. Every single attribute in his photos was carefully placed and designed in order to create that snippet of imagery capable of telling some story at a glance. This impeccable skill developed over years, Joshua’s art, is an example of how somehow has come to master narrative presentation in his own way; something that we all are in the midst of developing ourselves as design fiction students.

    I think a true testament to Joshua’s commitment in effective narratives was when he talked about creating work. I paraphrase here, but he said something along the lines of, “After you make the thing, you are only 50% done. The remaining 50% is designing/creating how people will approach your thing through the way you present it.” This shows that he considers the entire process of a person engaging with his work. Perhaps this is where design fiction fails; where more often then not design fiction work is placed in museums and galleries because that latter 50% is not considered?

    Overall, I think what distinguishes his art and speculative design is that his work is a pure extension of his changing interests and a product of his own organic curiosity. Design fiction/speculative design however, is the extension society’s interest through the lens of the designer’s interests. Regardless of whether its design fiction or art, if the way in which the artifact is presented to the world falls short, then the work’s impact will be subdued.

  3. I invited Josh to the class as his work specifically deals with narrative, speculation, and worldmaking, all of which are relevant to the topic at hand. His approach compliments the other invited speakers who covered theoretical, commercial, sociological, and technical facets. In fact, several of the speakers cover multiple or blended forms of these facets, as does Josh. The purpose is not to erect boundaries around what is or is not, but rather to open a space of possibilities. If some aspects don’t float your boat – that’s fine. Normative facts though? Let’s not.

  4. I somewhat agree with what Aisling wrote and I am not challenging the purpose but trying to see the reaction of our class and how it aligns with what we have been learning so far. This article
    for example, reflects in a concise way the understanding and importance of Design Fiction through prominent examples like Near future laboratory’s TBD catalogue. Opening up spaces is understandable but it is easy to get lost especially for someone without much Design training. I am on the camp of this field with permeable boundaries and constantly borrowing methods from other fields. This article- http://www.thesnet.net/wp-content/uploads/4_Van-Mensvoort-et-al.pdf is a good example. I guess I am having trouble with accepting- how individual expression reflects a combined understanding about near desirable futures.
    Also, Design Fiction does not fail in considering how people would approach it albeit it focuses on how we all could collectively think about the consequences of “our futures” not just a sublime experience.

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