Hello Darkness My Old Friend…

Speculative Design and Critical Design.


Critical Design! Oh how I have missed you.

For today’s session we focused more on Critical design, we read though the third chapter of ‘Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming’ by Dunne and Raby titled ‘Design as Critique’.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this because of how I could relate it back to the project I did in the first year, feel free to go back and read my posts on the project (totally a plug):


The Question we were asked to look at for this reading task was ‘What do they mean by the positive use of negative?’

Now this was interesting because critical design essentially takes a critical theory based approach to design. This kind of design challenge assumptions, conceptions about the role of objects play in everyday life. The definition is went along with last year was essentially ‘Critical design does not solve the problem in its entirety, it simply creates a conversation, it shows people what the problem is and informs then it is there. It makes them think.‘.

I felt like this piece of text was a lot easier to read when comparing to the previous pieces, I believe that along with it being quite straight forward to understand seeing as I had past knowledge on the subject made it a little easier to pick out the key information and the different things that the writers were saying.

 The activity for this session was pretty simple…it read as follows:

‘We design the world to eradicate or forget negative things. What if we designed ‘for’ them? positive use of Negativity … what things would exist?

As a group choose a negative thing, research your topic, design an object(s) that promotes that negative thing.’

Now the first thing I tried to do for this activity was save me some time, Yeah was hoping to take some slides from my critical design project last year and just present that…that was unsuccessful…

As there were four Product Designers in this group we began discussing the things that society deem ‘negative’ things about the world in which we live, this ranged from historical events to birth defects. I believe our group was in agreement that the idea of having a doll or toy that was not ‘perfect’ in the eyes of society was an interesting idea and so we rolled with it. It didn’t take much time for us to finalise the idea. We found it quite interesting how large corporations seem to desensitise audiences and most notably the younger generation into feeling numb and not thinking about what the true consequences of war could be like whilst playing online video games or playing with toy soldiers. We believed that if toy soldiers showed audiences what can happen when a person goes to fight in a war they would think more about the idea of virtually killing someone and/or playing soldiers.

Now the question Sarah asked was…would anyone actually buy this? Well I dont think so, and that is the interesting thing, why wouldn’t people buy these toys for their children, it would open a conversation about the realities of war and it could educate those children.

The reality however, well Sarah brought up Cerrie Burnell, a CBeebies host who was born with one arm, she told our group about how the BBC received countless complaints about Cerrie presenting shows that children would watch because the parents did not want their children to see things like that.

‘Others claimed that they were forced to discuss difficult issues with their young children before they were ready.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1152466/One-armed-presenter-scaring-children-parents-tell-BBC.html#ixzz4P5bKbAOk

Sounds like bad parenting to me :/

Well these are the slides that were presented:


I believe that next week is where we begin to think about our question for this essay we have to write, I am looking forward to thinking more about what I could talk about. At this moment I am torn between discussing Sustainability and Critical Design, I think these are both very relevant with my practise and I would like to know more about the two. It will be interesting to see what ideas and brought up in the final session and I hope to have a strong idea by the end of the session so I will be able to begin the process straight away.

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