Nov
02
2009
0

Label a Designer

If you would ask me what I call myself, I would say “a human being – just like you”.

I don’t like labels and I remember that, on my first business card, I titled myself as an Illustrator. My second contained Illustrator, Designer and Artist. I was trying to identify tags that could explain the kind of work I do – or at that moment did. I was struggling to find my place in the Design – Art World. I was considering to have all round designer on the next one, but I realised that it actually didn’t say anything. Nobody would understand what I actually did by calling myself all round. On my current business card, there is no title. I do have 3-4 web links on them, which I hope explain or cover my field of work.

During my post graduate study, I designed another card, to use for my project. Here I had a different approach. On the front it simply says “YOU ARE GREAT”  and on the back of the card there is a web link to my project. The approach, in this case, was to focus on my receiver and use positive affirmations. Instead of explaining what I did, I attempted to provide him/her an experience.

Recently, I was asked to teach the 1st year students of my former academy. Showing my graduation project, tell about Relational Design and what that means in a SRVD ( Socially Responsive Design) context. There were two things that struck me. 1) even though quite some of the students knew about my work from before, it was still very odd and new to them. 2) they didn’t understand what I did or how I could make a living out of ‘my way of design’. Questions as “So what do you call yourself?” “How do you earn money?” ” How do you approach organisation and institutions, when you want to work for them?” were asked. I felt my answers didn’t satisfy them in the sense that, it didn’t fit their reality of what a designer does, what a designer is and how a designer works.

At that moment, I found it quite surprising. Apparently my work was so accepted during my studies, that I saw it as something so natural and obvious, that I stopped questioning the label it should have. I just didn’t see the necessity of it. Now, I see that for certain groups it needs an explanation and every group needs a different language, a different tone of voice wrapped around the same arguments. Arguments yes. Sometimes it feels like I need to defend everything I stand for, even though I use design for the social good. These students were new to this field of Design and I know that, in their BA education the notion of  more traditional design departments prevails. When you are not exposed to other ways of thinking and working, you can’t know. When you are not encouraged, stimulated and incited to explore every kind of boundary there is – and dare to cross it – you don’t look further. Another experience related to this, was working – voluntary – for 350.org. I was asked to help and organise actions and events for this cause. I found out, that I was perhaps thinking too much in my own language and forgot that I wasn’t working with people who have a creative background. All well hearted people, coming from fields as biology, economy, environmentalism, activism, ecology, etc.

We all had the same aim.

We all had ideas about how this should be done.

Our ideas didn’t align.

I felt and feel that I have some expertise in this. Studying and experimenting on how to reach, engage and empower people, for over 2 years in theory and practice. Though, in the end of this collaboration between various fields – something I like to see as THE solution for many issues – I felt left alone. Likely, because I wasn’t explaining my arguments and reasons in the right way.

Back to my starting point: I still don’t like labels. But I understand the need to be able to explain what I do, to various kind of people. Preferably short and concise. So what am I then? Let’s try some terms and see how that feels and what it says:

Social Designer

Conceptual Designer

Meta Designer

Process Designer

Queen of Creativity

….

Jul
31
2009
0

Somethings to wonder about

If there is one thing I have been doing a lot the past two years it is researching on the web. It is something I can’t stop with either. So I will share some of my findings being 3 videos.

First I got this through one of my former teachers, saying to watch it and it will make you happy. It did!! Above that it is wonderful to see that people use their creativity in settings where you wouldn’t expect it too easily.

Shortly after, I found this via swissmiss also an example of creative thinking.

and again via swissmiss this short video, impasse addressing intolerance and chances for change

Impasse from Reel 13 on Vimeo.

May
02
2009
0

Fast – Slow – Society

Would we know what joy is, without having experienced sadness?
What does a solution mean without a problem?
Can happiness exist without desire?

You need one to appreciate the other. Opposites are odd pairs: they help us to acknowledge what we have, and they require the right interface to find balance. If we are just focusing on one and ignoring the other, we become meaningless.
The industrial revolution has put mankind on a high speed train and we had to adapt ourselves to the demands and possibilities that came along with the system. Now, global problems surround us, but we don’t seem to respond. The rules and patterns we live by seem so natural and logical, that we don’t question why they are there, how they came into existence and if they are necessary.
Are we captured in a bubble, oblivious to the truth of our history and our own being?
If we are disconnected from ourselves, then how to reconnect?
It seems that individualism rules in our society, where we drift around on solitary islands avoiding contact with any other. I believe that the confrontation from which we are escaping is exactly what we need in order to reclaim people’s sense of place and retrieve the patterns of memories and experiences.

We think and behave according to the cultural system with which we have grown up and we tend to assume that everyone has the same behaviour and logic as our own. In fact, logic happens to be an invention of Western society and isn’t used in the same way in other parts of the world.

We are all different and the first thing we need to do is accept each other’s differences, instead of judging them. Possibly we could overcome this, by placing ourselves more often in intercultural situations to learn to see ourselves as others see us, in order to get more understanding about our own being and the other (Hall 1989).

Our own culture -as any culture- has flaws, but we accept them, because that is what we have grown up with. The educational system of Western society is linear and therefore limits us in how we think. We are taught that the rules and schedules we have matter. The system requires us to specify our talents and emphasises status and competition before freedom of expression and diversity. This limitation in creativity and talents, also restricts our capacity to find solutions.
Our fast society might need a different pace to engage oneself and another. People get more inventive when they are challenged and placed in unknown situations (Fuller 1981). Designed interventions in our daily life, could bring a pause & reflect.

What is happening now in the Design World, is that business is being exposed to art expressions and art is being commercialised; this creates new situations, interpretations and interfaces. I have chosen to use this occasion to design forms of social engagement. I can’t change people and I can’t change behaviour. However, I can create places in space, and I can create exercises that convey learning moments, stimulate reflection and activate awareness. All of these, I hope will bring about positive behaviour and empowerment to the individual.


In times like these, when a worldwide economical crisis has suddenly emerged, it is an opportunity for us to open our eyes and genuinely see what is there; it is a chance to reform, rather than hastily attempting to take control by way of old patterns. There is a reason why things accumulate – it is time for change.

Hall, ET 1989, Beyond Culture, Anchor Books Editions, New York.

Fuller, RB 1981, Critical Path, St Martin’s Press, New York.

Apr
11
2009
0
Mar
28
2009
0

Wishes

During the Creative Workshop one of the teams had the task to collect wishes. They went to an elementary school.They asked questions as what do you wish for, make a wish for someone else and where would you like to wake up tomorrow morning

Izmir
Good weather
Clean the streets
Wants to wake up and be on vacation in Turkey

Hanza
Animal: tiger
Wants to wake up in the US
Going to the amusement park
Wants a cat

Aram
Being finished at work
Wake up tomorrow and there is PEACE

Alexander, 11 years old
Wishes that somebody will give his mother a dog
He even wishes to BE a dog and wake up in his doghouse
Wishes less lectures in school

Fatinat
Wishes to win American Idol
Wishes she were a cat

André, 12 years old
Wishes to become a doctor and that it is summer
Laying on the beach, chilling with girls

Ashan, 12 years old
Wishes to travel to England

Khana
Wishes to go to Bali
And wake up in Bali
Wishes for a turtle


Ibon, 12 years old
Golden Eagle
Wishes to win a million and to wake up in the money bin
Wants to wake up in Spain

NOH, 11 years old
X-box 360
Waking up in Italy
Animal: Gorilla

Adam, 8 years old
Animal: tiger
Wishes Playstation 3 and summer vacation

Sjamil, 11 years old
Playstation 3
Waking up at home
Wishes to wish a wish for her mum

Couleed, 11 years old
Playstation 3 and driving a car

Mille, 12 years old
Wishes for a new head-set
Waking up in bed
Would have liked to be cat and give her mother a cat

Josefine, 12 years old
Wishes for unlimited candy
and an airjump, a loft to cuddle in, a fireplace and a couch
More plays (revy) to a better price
A better teacher in maths and science
Argentina and Cuba (before the fall of communism)
A new car for mother
World peace
Wishes that the grandmother of a friend to get well and healthy
And that mother passes her exam.

Written by goodindeed in: fun,research,tip | Tags: , , , ,
Mar
13
2009
0

question things

This wonderful video expresses a lot of what I would like to tell in my project. Why are things as they are? The industrial revolution has put mankind on a high-speed train and on this railroad of development we have adapted ourselves to the demands and possibilities that came along with the system. The rules and patterns we live by seem so natural and logical, that we don’t question why they are there, how they came into existence and if they are necessary.
Are we captured in a bubble of oblivion to the truth of our history and our own being?

The Right Way from hutch on Vimeo.

If it is true that we are disconnected from ourselves, then how to re-connect? It seems that individualism rules in our society where we are drifting around on solitary islands avoiding contact with any other. The confrontation which we are escaping from is exactly what we need to reclaim people’s sense of place and re-find (or maybe re-create) the patterns to memories and experiences. As hutch does, question objects and it’s use. Who said there is only 1 way to wear your gloves? Be creative with it!

Feb
09
2009
0
Feb
06
2009
0

Beyond Culture

I have read Beyond Culture ( Edward T. Hall) and it gave me some insights. A short summary of research.

We think and behave according to the cultural system we have grown up with, but we tend to assume that everyone has the same cultural behavior and the same logic. Logic happens to be an invention of Western society and isn’t used-in the same way- in other parts of the world.
It made me think about the so called lesser developed countries. They have a different culture and a different working -and thinking- method, which probably worked fine until we came along and imposed, with good intentions? our methods on them. Because they didn’t have the same technological development as we had, it doesn’t imply that our system and working methods are better. They are simply different.
Several times while reading this book, memories of certain situations came up and I caught myself on my behavior and on how many times I have tried to impose my logic upon others. There is no right or wrong in cultural patterns, likely there is a right and wrong in situations. We need to start accepting that we are different and open up our eyes to learn form each other. We should be happy to live in multi-cultural societies, for it gives us many opportunities to learn about ourselves as well as to learn about others. Our own culture (as any culture) has flaws, but we take them for right, because that is the logic that has been taught to us.
Obama said in a speech as well that he considered Hip-Hop -and other art forms- to be a useful way to convey messages to the people not only as a mirror of what is, but also as a medium to bring reflection what can be. New ways of thinking are coming up all over the world, a positive thing, to realize that we are opening up to be challenged. People get more inventive when they are challenged and placed in (unknown) different situations. We need to learn to see ourselves as others see us, in order to get more understanding about our own being and the other.

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