What is design? What is it for?

I’m sparked to write this after seeing this headline: Guggenheim Abu Dhabi on hold. The latest in Frank Ghery’s franchise of build-it-and-they-will-come seems to be hanging fire. Interesting how this is happening at the center of the Neo-Liberal Utopia of consumer delights that is Abu Dhabi. Funny how chimeras and mirages are always connected with …

What if we started designing like we had stopped pretending?

Facing reality, stripping away the rationalizations and the cultural taboos that protect them, is a difficult process, but not only necessary, it’s rewarding. We begin to see how our personal truths – the truths we find for ourselves, not the pablum imposed on us to keep us in line – begin to find their ways to expression and take us to a place where notions of certainty are not tied to excessive egotism, but to a deep awareness of the limits to human power. Stripping away Utopian and Dystopian fantasy ultimately leaves us cleaned out and ready to do what can be done.

A Painter for Our Time

The first point has to do with having a place. To find traction in the world requires a space in that world in which we can act as agents not react as subjects. Like the painter, who must have materials and a place to keep them and a place to work, we need all these things to get on with life.

The second point gets to our need to have purpose, a usefulness, to be “employable,” not in the sense of being exploitable as a resource for the mining of wealth; but to trade usefulness for a living in all that this transaction implies.

The Pragmatic Fallacy

The practices of design must be liberated from simply serving as a tool. The junction between the conceptual and the physical, between aspiration and expression that is the highest quality of what is the practice of design must be brought to bear at the center of questions pertaining to the human condition and not simply to be co-opted as a tool of failed concepts and strategies.

Drawing Distinctions

As an inaugural post, I’d like to re-publish a post from Horizons of Significance.  Its an example of the connections between the intents of these blogs. *  *  *