I am currently a practising product designer, battling against the norms of product design. As a result of the process taught, I have to always stay within the confines of Product Design, rather than be free in my creative expression. You are not allowed to be unconventional, you need to comply in-order to survive in the industry it seems. But, I want to use my extended skill-set that reaches beyond just design, like business, when answering a design brief. This will allow for creative solutions that are more suitable to that particular design brief.
I like to use my extended skillset, as I enjoy being constantly challenged, it keeps me engaged, inspired and positive. This is why I struggled with deciding whether to come to University or not. I have always been motivated and driven, but I have always struggled to place that energy in the one direction. I went on a little journey before starting University, trying to decide what I wanted to do when I finished School. I wanted to do everything. Firstly, I went down the conventional route of writing out my application form for University, the day before the deadline, I changed my mind and applied for a place that Summer in Camp America. I wanted to gain some cultural experience. I had been in education all of my life and just wanted to started living my actual life. I then realised if I wasn’t going to do a degree just yet. Then I needed to make the most of my year out of education. I always to stay educated, but just in a different way. I got out loads of books and completed loads of research into backpacking, work and voluntary opportunities to aid people who are poverty stricken. I then realised, I probably should do my degree first, reluctantly I applied for a place at Central Saint Martins to do a foundation in Art and Design, as I was scared to commit to a specific design degree, when I hadn’t explored it enough at school. However, after the interview I knew this wasn’t it for me either. I had a chat one day in June with my philosophy and ethics tutor. She was fantastic, gave me the confidence to go for it, write my personal statement and visit University Open Days. I visited a range, thanks to the support of my family, I looked at both Graphic and Product Design, but I fell in love with Product design. I wanted my life to start, I wanted to aid people. However, I couldn’t this was frustrating. But, I have now realised I need a degree, to do all these things. So, I sent off my application and a couple weeks later I was offered a place at Cardiff Met.
I feel privileged that I now get the chance to explore all of the things, I thought were my weaknesses. However, I feel they could also be strengths, if I use them in the right way. This dissertation proposal will give me the time to complete far more in-depth research into; business, design, economics of a society like Merthyr Tydfil and the behaviour of people who live in a community like this. I will attempt to further bridge the gap between business and design. I have taken part in a lot of business events, conferences and projects. I have a passion for the subject, as it can be applied to everything you do. Similarly, Design can also be applied to everything you do, as creativity is present in everyone, according to Tom and David Kelley, in their book ‘ Creative Confidence’.
Lately, I have felt very lucky in where I am now. I have made it here, I cannot believe it myself sometimes. At times, there was struggle, but my life has really turned around. This is the main reason why, I feel very passionately about helping the community of Merthyr Tydfil. They deserve as many opportunities as I have been given. I was very fortuitous to take part in the I.P Project in my first year, the main objective for me was to aid those in the school system of Merthyr Tydfil, whilst working with students from other disciplines across the world. I became attached to the place, and have thought a lot about it ever since. This is another main reason why, I will be directing all my research into aiding Merthyr Tydfil’s ongoing economic crisis.
I chose this title, after having a debate with Professor Clive Cazeaux during one of the previous seminar’s. We discussed whether it is better to be a particular or an all-embracing person and why. I felt very strongly about this, as I feel being an all-embracing person, as I love to take in my surroundings, it is inspires me and makes me happy, in so many ways particularly in my practice.
Now that we have established that my source of inspiration is the world around me, we turn to Nietzsche to determine whether my source of inspiration results in truth/ lies within my product design.
Below is my essay, it can either be downloaded as a PDF, or you can view it here as a JPEG:
Some things to consider when reading this post:
What is the metaphorical nature of Science? Does this mean the end of truth, using Science? What is the signifance of Science as a practice? What is our relationship with reality as a result?
Is it fair to say, that humans just use science to represent reality (as it allows to understand reality) taking this, isn’t science just metaphorical also. Moreover, Neitchze puts it, everything is transformational! Science aids our understanding often world, through transformation.
During my essay, I will further explore whether my knowledge/ inspiration is A priori or A posteriori, along with Neitchze argument on reality and representation, and therefore how this is currently impacting on my Product design practice!
Here are some questions that we attempted to answer by the end of my seminar:
- Do we perceive the world as it is / as it appears to us?
- Can we have any idea what it is like to be a bat?
- What idea can the bling have of vision?
- What are the consequences of the metaphorical nature of being?
Our discussion was based around the nature of Perspectivalism, when pondering the questions above. Neitchze coined this term, by saying that Perspectivalism is where we are limited in seeing a situation from one perspective at one time, as we are not God, and can therefore only see things at a glance, rather than a whole. Using the above definition of Perspectivalism, we can start to gain some insight, through discussion, on the above questions. When taking Art for instance, Sculpture’s in particular, we may all see the sculpture but as a result of subjectivism, we perceive the sculpture differently from the artist and, or other passer’s by. When attempting to understand how we perceive the world and how it appears to us, we should take a look at the A priori and A Posteriori argument. This is to understand whether our view of the world is independent of experience, or quiet the opposite, and therefore based on empirical evidence. Furthermore, Neitchze states that,
‘ Everything is transformational, what we see, we can only understand through a transformation.’
This is basically saying that, as a result of experience, we can transform audio and visual into an understanding of the world around us. You might say that, Nietzsche is therefore pro A Posteriori in this argument. However, some might suggest that,
‘ Gone is the conventional notion of truth, as the correct representation, the one that best corresponds to reality,’
is now gone, and everything around us is a lie, our experiences, everything we live, hear, see and smell, is just a representation of the original, correct model of reality. Furthermore, to build on Nietzsche’s argument, from an A posteriori perspective, you could add that human perceptions are built-up from childhood. This is a result of experience, experience’s assimilate a child’s schema, to ensure they can rapidly understand the world around them, as they grow and develop. On the other hand, for Neitchze reality and representation are intertwined. We are transformers and therefore both are relevant, as they work as one. Whereas Negel feels very differently about this, reality and representation for him are quite two very different and separate entities. In support of Negel, the ‘God Helmet’ can simulate reality, but it is just a representation of it, of the senses involved in feeling God’s presence. Similarly, if we were to simulate what is like to be a bat, this would only be a representation and not the actual reality of seeing through a bat’s own eyes. For more information on this, read page 174-178 on Negel’s, ‘ What is it like to be a bat’. There are two very contrasting views over these few pages to consider.
‘Investigating the Social World – The Processes and Practices of Research’
by Russell K Schutt. 6th Edition.
This book introduced me into the world of researching practices in the design world. I focused on qualitative and quantitative research, as this is relevant to my Subject Module, whereby I am researching into the social world to ensure I gather the correct data to move forward with my project, and develop products suitable for the chosen target market.
When looking into Intensive In-depth Interviewing, Lofland and Lofland in 1984 state that,
‘a qualitative method, that involves open-ended, relatively unstructured questioning in which the interviewing seeks in-depth information on the interviewer’s feeling, experiences, and perceptions.’ Page 315
This therefore suggests that to engage your target market and gain the detailed information, from almost behind the scenes, you need to create open-ended rather than closed questions.
Moreover, Rodriguez et al. in 2006 puts forward that,
‘ Qualitative researchers typically begin their projects seeking not to test hypothesis, but to discover what people think, how they act, and why, in some social setting.’ Page 316
This just backs up my previous point, that to ensure I gain the most viable information, I need to look into the behaviour of the participant, during the interview process. Open-ended questions allow me to achieve this level of detail and observation.
This answers the question:
Well, Dag Nordanger in 2007 puts this question to rest with his view on qualitative research,
‘Qualitative methods have their greatest appeal when we need to explore new issues, investigate hard-to-study groups.’ Page 316
This is extremely key information for a practicing product designer, as I often have to explore new markets, and social environments when engaging with a new design brief.
When using observation studies to collect data for Ethnographic research, there are different scenarios for the researcher to consider:
Covert Observer is whereby the researcher does not participate in group activities and is not publicly defined as the researcher (they are anonymous). Page 323
Complete Observer is when the researcher does not participate in group activities, but is however publicly defined as the researcher. Therefore, the participants are aware of their presence. This may affect the outcome, as the participants may change their behaviour accordingly and conform to the known norm. Page 323
Covert Participant is used when conducting field research, the researcher does not reveal his/ her identity as a researcher to those who are being observed. Page 323
Participant Observer, this is when the researcher gathers data through participating in the study, they can observe the most in this scenario. This is sometimes due to the relationship that the anonymous researcher can create with the participants, during the study. This way the behaviour of the participant isn’t changed. In addition, the researcher is immersed in the study to, allowing them to take understanding from their own behavioural response, and place it into their understanding of other participant reactions. This adds another depth to their qualitative research. Page 323
‘More About Metaphor’
by Max Black
I chose to read an extract from this essay this week, as it was quite relevant to my Subject module, when looking at my design brief, ‘Creative Conditions’. Hopefully by the end of this blog post, you can start to understand why it may seem relevant.
Here are some examples of metaphors used, that were brought up in my seminar with Clive Cazeaux:
‘ Stock markets are falling Markets have fallen sharply across the world with a range of anxieties looming large: US economic slowdown, Ebola, German industrial woes, geopolitical tension, the eurozone crisis and fears that a major institution is about to collapse.’
As you can see in this extract from the Business Blog, ‘ Stock Markets have Fallen Sharply’, that metaphors have been used to create an understanding between the article and the reader. For example, ‘fallen sharply’ creates the understanding that the stock markets are like knifes, making you think of something that is sharpe and harsh.
‘ The world/ universe is a machine’.
This is a quote used in science, by many philosophers like; Galileo, Descartes, Boyle and Newton, to describe the current/ even future world of science. This is because, they are trying to show how the world/ universe is being powered and spun round like a machine, instead of a living organism. This could be portrayed as a way of showing how technology has and will continue to power the planet we live in, without it our planet will decay.
‘ It does what it says on the tin’
As you can see here, ‘Ronseal’, are known for their metaphorical slogan. This is because, they have managed to create a relationship with the customer-base, by providing them with an image that they can relate to. Every time they think of this slogan or anything remotely similar, they then think of Ronseal. Below is a Youtube video, showing the orginal 1997 simple advert.
Tracey Emin’s piece:
The artist’s intention can be seen as a way in which, the human mind being represented in a physical/ tangible thing, messy and un-organized. In support of this, Danto suggests that,
‘ The middle term has to be found, the gap has to be filled, the mind moved to action.’ A.C Danto, ‘Transfiguration of the common place’, 1981, page 171
Moreover, another meaning behind metaphor can be found with Aristotle,
‘ Metaphor consists in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else; the transference being either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, on the grounds of analogy.’ Aristotle, ‘Poetics’ translated by Ingram Bywater, Chapter 21, 1457b1-30
We were then set a task to come up with the best thing ever (that you can share with someone) I chose…
From this, we had to persuade other people in class why our concept of the best thing ever, was the best. Metaphor allowed us to persuade other people and help them to understand why my concept was the best thing ever!