Thursday, September 1, 2011
Antonelli on Critical Design
Here's an excellent article voicing the role of Critical Design. In a nutshell, critical design undermines the default notion of design as an affirmative, commercially-oriented practice that shies away from thorny ethical issues. The field and practice, formalised by RCA faculty and design practitioners, Dunne and Raby, follows in the footsteps of radical design and architecture from the late 1960s and 1970s, but also marries it with a viable, rent-paying career. Antonelli continues, "The Critical Design process does not immediately lead to useful objects, but rather to food for thought whose usefulness is revealed by its ability to help others prevent and direct future outcomes. The job of critical designers is to be thorns in the side of politicians and industrialists, as well as partners for scientists or consumer advocates, while stimulating discussion and debate about the social, cultural and ethical future implications of decisions about technology made today."
Read the article for a high level introduction to the topic and some of the compelling and provocative projects that are circulating around cultural issues such food sustenance, self-image, and body politics. "All these examples, even the most apparently nihilistic ones, are characterised by deep empathy, trust in a possible better future, and a belief in the demonstrative power of well-designed utopias."