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Tag Archives: design

Design is concerned with how it works, and therefore, not so much with what is and what truly is (or truth).

So we can turn this concern on itself and ask: How does design work?

One answer to this question is a whole field of knowledge, namely “design methodology”, but we can find a rougher answer (and therefore more abstract) if we point out that the question itself is an application of design! We want to create stuff (not make stuff, there is a difference) and in order to do that we begin to concern ourselves with how stuff behaves when it is joined with other stuff. Read More »

Many design theories expect a kind of certainty from the designing process, try to somehow distil only the best parts of the design. And even if this is not, in itself, a bad thing, it certainly risks this mistake, of taking the open process of the artefacts and turning it into an independent reality. Of course design is more like cooking than like chemical engineering: you never know exactly how it will taste.

The zen tea-house has a very low door, so that you must be humble and bow down to enter. The low door enforces, then, humility. Damn Japanese!

But no, actually, this is silly. Even the lesser man bows down, and after doing so he is just as likely to do shit as before.

Some people expect that an artefact should (or could, or must) have a single, straightforward, and unambiguous effect on users. And this, for sure, is silly. Read More »

Given that we believe in this myth of natural selection, that life-forms optimize on the long run through simple difference of reproductive success ratios, we must check what fitness means in “survival of the fittest”. As it turns out, the common sense is fairly mistaken about this issue, which becomes clear when we contemplate the word-tension «competition»: In the proverbial primal jungle, the monkey and the panther do not compete, in the sense of both vying for a bigger share of the same amount of reproductive success, instead each has an independent reproduction rate, determined by an staggeringly high number of factors — amongst which only one is the other’s reproductive success rate. Thus, it is better to say the panther competes with all the other panthers, the monkey with all other monkeys.

And that is why designers are such shallow, vain, pompous pricks! Because humans must compete with humans. More precisely, design work can only gain leverage when it is easy to subvert into human to human competition.

Almost the same intro could be used to say that «success» (i.e., for example, a bigger apartment) is only a means to get more sex (and through it reproductive success), but nevertheless it keeps us from cheat-flavoured complexity-collapsing strategies (as it, for example, constrains your daily experience to the same settings). That’s why it is impolite to ask a potential mate for his bank account…)

[from some very old notebook]

Walk around in a posh mall or some place else where people use more make-up than should be reasonably healthy. Look everyone in the eye and imagine them as big bags of pus, goo and all kinds of slimy, yucky organic slime (after all, that’s what they are).

For a moment of comic relief look yourself in a mirror (those places are full of ’em) and do the same thing.