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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Notes on Evolving design cultures -1 - Deepankar Bhattacharyya

When information flow and communication become one of the prime drivers of our world then 'design culture' must shift focus from questions of 'needs', forms and function to those of creativity, ideas, innovation, transience and possibilities.

Fixed signposts that define socio-cultural parameters have less relevance than the more dynamic interplay of ideas. The interfaces, the meeting spaces between different ideas and ways of thinking and their complex interactions become the new guides and form the basis for evolving paradigms within which 'design' activity can take place. Design can no longer cater to 'needs' in a static frame of reference, it has the opportunity to redefine basic elements in dynamic ever-changing, highly interactive globally interconnected frames of reference.

Trends, fads, fashion and transience become key players in the design process. As does consumer participation on a scale not seen before. Not in the limited sense of niche consumer segments getting their due at long last but as active designers of individual and multiple environments. We can live 'possibilities' and our worlds do not have to be defined by any linear progression of realities as determined by our 'fixed' geographies, cultures or beliefs. Our built environments no longer need to govern our lives as they do at present and we are at last free to actively articulate and indeed become our dreams and aspirations.

We can perhaps, progressively free ourselves from the urban landscapes and their attendant problems of overcrowding, inequalities, infrastructural overload and general dissonance with the natural world. Definitions of productivity, leisure and indeed popular notions of time and space can undergo transformations.

Design in such a frame of reference has immense possibilities and challenges and it's practitioners must, perhaps, unlearn a great deal before retooling for these prospective scenarios. Debates and articulation of different viewpoints seem to be a way forward.


    Information Flow and Communication as prime drivers! Are they? Drivers of what?
    User’s need or drivers of design field?

    Design never catered to static frame of reference...designer’s did..
    Designers had to resolve conflict. Conflict of various complex requirements one eating on other resource...thus pushing boundaries of what is acceptable solution in that context and constraints. With time these Context and Constraints would change, so would the solution which would make way for new approach or solution or design. Change is the only constant
    For example of "way of living” in our society…to say in today’s lingo “in” things are - money, America, capitalism, greed, media savvy etc This I say is way of living. Not simple living and high it used to be bygone when culture would change they would bring change first at thinking level, then at perception level and information flow or communication would scale it up.
    They are carriers not drivers!! Information and communication would help to reach faster most numbers in society or culture.
    In today’s context I would say is philosophy “DESIGN FOR GREEN” as thought being one such DRIVER.
    This "Driver" has far reaching impact in almost all solutions we would design hence forth not communication or information they are as catalyst. I would call “these thinking thoughts” as drivers of design or drivers of change driven by goodness not money alone. Goodness in sense having minimal harmful effect on our environment.....

  2. Information flow and communication is quickly changing the way we live, it makes geographical locations far less important in our lives than has been the case. It brings ideas and the ability to act on them to many more people. In this sense it becomes a prime driver of our way of life.

    Consider that it has made possible the outsourcing of manufacturing and many aspects of management for corporations, it enables rural folk to participate in decisions on a completely different level and indeed changes the way all of us look at ourselves and our realities. True, that it is a catalyst, as you say, but the changes here are qualitative and not just quantitative and has the potential to redefine things in much the same way as 'printing' did so many years ago.

    Information is a powerful force and can change things not merely in terms of scale but fundamentally, as we are witnessing right now.


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