Fall Semester 2020

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Final Outputs

Learning Journal

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DES // 540 —— Research Studio
DES // 500 —— Political Ecology

DES // 520 —— Agathokakological Tendencies

ART // 520 —— Teaching Artists 

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Thursday 8/27

Our first assignment was to read “The Four Temperaments in Design” by Tommi Vasko. This text lifts the notion of four personlity types (Sanguine/Stabtable Extrovert, Phlegmatic/Stable Introvert, Choleric/Labile Extrovert, Melancholic/Labile Introvert) from Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Red Mars”. The reading took those four personalities and reworked them to fit within the practice of deisgn (Sanguine Entrepreneur/Stable Extrovert, Phlegmatic Academic/Stable Introvert, Choleric Accelerator/Labile Extrovert, Melancholic Autonomist/Labile Introvert). This essay stresses the imortance of each and that each type is one part of a whole and that each is necessary to advance the practice of design (even if the industry seems to push on type over the others). It made me feel that there are issues that “good design” likely falls into the SE and CA quadrants. This his reading required me to think deeply about the character I currently play, characters I have played and maybe the character that I hope to play in the future. After reading this essay we were required to develop our own anonymous designer/character either based on ourself or someone else. 

// Reading Notes Dump //
How do I make this character an “other” to myself because even if my temperament remains the same, the way that I see and have seen myself will change over time as I grow, learn and experience more that life has to offer. Maybe in the future I will seem so strange to the character the I am currently playing. Maybe I am already some strange “other” to a character I have played in the past. Is it possible that I am already some sort of “other” to the friends I have had since childhood? Especially those who have not seemed to change. Although maybe they have changed as well and I am yet to notice the new character they are playing. 
In regards to design, I feel as though graduate school has poured into me a new way of thinking about design. Looking at design from the standpoint of research. I hope to work towards having the knowledge to author my own work. Work that is meaningful and timely. But on the flip side the pursuit of knowledge seems so daunting. I it feels like an insurmountable task, an unscalable mountain. Especially when getting high and checking out is so much easier. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the feeling of inferiority or “imposter syndrome”.
How are power and violence intrinsically related to design? Is it that we are the tricksters that give faces to capitalism. Because it can be assumed that power and violence come from control, and control generally come from the control of capital. But if it weren’t for us, the merry band (brand?) of tricksters would it be so easy for corporations to hoard wealth (especially in the overly designed and calculated world of the online startup that is currently killing local businesses). We so often talk about “good design” without stopping to think about what good means. When so often good in relation to design is based on being good in a formal sense — a formal sense that also fits within the Eurocentric design — without ever considering what being good means from a formal sense. Advertisement for lotto tickets can be formally good while also being morally reprehensible (even if profits go to education).
It is actually insane that we pay so much to adobe, a company that would cease to exist without us. Then again maybe the problem lies in design education and the weight it puts on design production through the use of their products. Could educators empower students to break free from the binding irons of adobe software by only teaching the principles of design through open source and creative commons software like javascript/precessing. I truly wonder if that could change the way that students think about design. I wonder if that could bring the profession back to where it started with more precision from the hand and less reliance on one monolithic tech company, of if it would even encourage them to build their own, one-off programs to solve specific design problems.
SE: Stable Extrovert
The extroverted, influencer designer who loves #tacos and hates #inserttrendingpoliticalthinghere. May do things for good, and I believe does good things but at the end of the day it all feels like inauthentic marketing, EVEN WHEN they are promoting something of value. Maybe this is due to their status/visibility or maybe they have always been an actor of some sort.
CA: Labile Extrovert
Shit, maybe this is the thing that I hope to be, although I am not sure I am intellectual, experimental or active actually live in this group. This group in its purest form is likely the type to be producing shitpost memes about the SE sect and the fact that they are constant in marketing mode (shit, maybe this is me). The is also the “fine art” sect or at least they want to be as much as a designer can be a fine artist. I think I aspire to this but am too confined by both a suburban upbringing and cloistered life of small boxes.
PE: Stable Introvert
Wait, maybe THIS is the ultra intellectual group that seem so far away from where I stand. Not just the type to speculate or muse about the handful of things they know, but instead the type with the deep knowledge to actually teach you something or to actively effect change through knowledge and design labor. I wonder if I will be able to break into the academic world, to become a professor without this as a strength. How little PE is too little to be barred from the gilded walls of academia? Am I too stupid — or put more eloquently — not “well read”.
MA: Labile Introvert
The true outsider that the CA secretly wants to be. Is this group constantly questioning why they are a designer or how they fit into the oppressive, capital bound system that design can often be? Maybe this is the most pure form of design, the ultra DIY, bottom-up sect that is not concerned with wealth but instead with connection with others through design and personhood. I wonder if I am am or hope to be a little bit of this person too.
It makes sense that the vast majority of the design community/industry is tied to the SE quadrant, I wonder too if that is why I find it so damaging to the ego to look at “good design” on platforms like instagram. Work that gets liked and reposted often seems so far from the work I produce making me wonder why I am even pursuing a career in design at all. I have no drive to produce work like that, but I also want to feel some of that validation. Maybe by becoming some combination of SE and CA I can make work that resonates with me and maybe others. Maybe a dash of MA to even it all out could help, because god knows I don’t read enough or with enough proficiency to fall into the PE camp. Even then, would I like what I see or would I still be chasing the coattails of those making a living on the SE track of design. 
I am here for this combined effort and respect of each camp. I  am for all groups lifting each other, in turn lifting our profession as a whole.

Tuesday 9/1

We drafted the character we will be working with for the next part of our project via Slack. From here we will be creating a set of up to ten rules that will be followed in order to create a mask that reppresents this anonymous character. We will be passing this set of rule to a third person that will then create the mask. The character that I drafted gos by the name MF SOON so you better believe that rule number onw will be to make a mask that mimics the one worn by Metal Fingers himself. In this session pouya and I also tlaked about how these characters and the pluralverse created through each of them could live in the form of a publication. Right now his idea for the calss is that this would exist as some form of web publication but we also discussed notions of finding ways to have a printed form as well. One idea thrown out would be a print-ready pdf exported from the site that would be generative/specific to each viewers visit to the site. Not sure how this would happen? Maybe p5? No clue.

Monday 9/7

Response to Theory in the Wild by Jack Halberstam and Tavia Nyong’o : Wildness as shown here is maybe best put through a phrase used at the very end of the text, discursive chaos. An upending of current hegemonic structures through a wilding of thought that leads to thoughtful or impactful discussion. How can theories, tangible, speculative, or otherwise lead us to think differently about the reality of our colonized, white-washed modes of living? This makes me wonder how designers-as-authors can have an impact on the world around us through the production as well as dissemination of ideas that are outside of the traditional cannon of what is publishable material appropriate for dissemination to the masses through power of self publishing. The notion of wildness also makes me think of ecology and the effect we have on our surroundings (the effect of colonized life on other modes of living?). I know that this is not necessarily what is meant by wild in this sense, but it is interesting to me that through the term wild one can draw connections between neglected land and cast-aside points of view/lives. Other similar lines could likely be drawn, through wild, between commercial components of wilderness (REI and state parks) to commerce’s coopting of black and queer voices to move product. Can every designer, regardless of temperament, play a role in the coliseum of discursive chaos or must you be of the phlegmatic academic or melancholic autonomist ilk. Must I be the author of these wild and discursive ideas, or is it enough to be a tool of implementation? That said, it seems like the first step towards meaningful action would be to find the wild within one’s self.

Tuesday 9/8

Today in class we responded to/discussed the text and it was interesting —— but maybe not suprising —— that we all reacted differently. I think that the point or goal of this text was to frame wildness in a positive or positvly disruptive sense (even through violent means). This was not the reaction across the board which was nice to hear. Oscar made a good point about this text not really making note of the oppositional (negative) wild force that appears when a (positive) wild force arrises. This was framed through a colonial/setteler lens in that indigenous peoples were seen as “wild” but in reality the colonizers (”alien force”) were truly wild in their eradication of those originally occupying this land. It seemed like a lot of this discussion revolved around this notion of wild being represented by an untamed environent —— again, through a colonial/setteler lens —— which felt maybe misguided due to the nature of this text being more related to the wilding of theory/ideas. Specifically ideas or views that exist on the periphery. Other good discusion revolved around how our notion of wild has been framed through modernist/enlightenment modes of thinking, which makes me hopeful for the decolonizing/decopuling nature of this class. Good text to lead into the semester. 

// Class Note Dump //
Reframing of the negative form of what it means to be wild. Upending the system/order of modernity
Natural things being repressed in contemporary civilization
Gadget or critical lens to be used as a tool (kaleidoscope of the wild)
Wayward — difficult to control or predict because of unusual or perverse behavior
Reclamation of words and flipping them on their heads
Embracing how you are perceived vs constantly conforming
  • Imperfect/impermanent definitions?
  • Importance of counter narratives 
How do we become feral? Oppositional and questioning in nature. Be a glitch in the system!
Naming the wildness (i.e. anarchy) removes its power? Wild is a moving target/pluralistic? What about decolonization?
Unbossed >>> https://vimeo.com/243945394

Wildness is no longer based on environment, but instead based on ideas?

What we call wildness is a civilization other than our own. – Thoreau
In Wildness is the preservation of the World. – Thoreau
The most alive is the wildest. – Thoreau

Wild begets wild >>> Those seen as being wild are often treated as such (usually through wild means)
  • Indigenous people vs colonizers (who was really “wild”?)

Danger in simplifying to understand?

Social contract theory — https://blog.supplysideliberal.com/post/2018/6/17/the-social-contract-according-to-john-locke#:~:text=John%20Locke's%20version%20of%20social,right%20to%20be%20a%20vigilante

“What if, rather than fighting the chaos or explaining it, what if instead of locating the chaos and mastering it, we linger in the void and catch a glimpse of what Muñoz dubbed “the punk rock commons” or “the chaos of the everyday”?”

Friday 9/11

Having swapped our instructions, I got to work on creating a mask for Mr. Hongdae who is a “pioneer” in the design world who I must know “without a doubt”. But as many times as I tried rereading my character sheet I could not seem to place who it was based off of because of how vaguely it was written. I am thinking that maybe is is not actually based on any one designer but is instead a vague generalizaiton of many design pioneers. The instructions gave me more to work from, but did not seem to realte to the character sheet at all. In sketching my mask I found it difficult to not produce things that felt like primitive masks that felt appropriative so instead I just got to work with the materials I had on hand (chicken wire, paste, paper, cardboard, egg cartons, etc.). My first working session lead me to this. 

I continued to hammer away at the character. Implementing more items from my list of instructions (lyrics from a favorite indie artist, dyed hair, a traditional tattoo, something off the menu of my favorite cafe, a photo of something I want from a major retailer, and a photo of my favorite music venue that is shut down). I included these items by prining off text and images that I then rubbed with vegetable oil to make the paper translucent and then applied them to the mask with paste. The food from my favorite cafe could have ultimately gotten me in some hot water because I chose an image of cheese grits which lent a yellow complexion to my mask. Something that was pointed out to me as being yellow face as the surname Hongdae is a riff on a cultural/creative hot spot in Seoul. 

Additonal reactions to my mask at this point were ... uh ... good?

Fortunately I was able to course-correct thanks to Brit recently painting her office “millenial pink”. After a good bit of painting/dry brushing I was able to get to a point where the character is hopefully more interesting while also being inoffensive. In addition to the pink paint I also dipped into some of Brit’s makeup to really bring the mask to life. I am feeling like I landed somewhere in the world of Wayne White (with a bit of Buffalo Bill). 


Monday 9/14

Response to The Coloniality of Gender by Maria Lugones : While I was aware that the idea of third or additional genders was something that existed in Native American cultures, I was dumbfounded to realize how much of an effect western/eurocentric colonial capitalism had to do with the removal of those practices. It is also interesting to me that we are finally coming back around to a point of understanding (albeit very slowly and through a whitewashed lens). Often we think of utopias as something we are striving for in the future, but in terms of gender it seems as if peoples like the Yourba had already figured it out through their notion of non-binary gender roles prior to the forced installation of a patriarchal hierarchy. Also in the example of the Yuma, we see gender designations based on dreams and inclination towards certain tings in their environment. The idea that a woman dreaming of weapons being gendered as male in the Yuma tribe in incredibly interesting. First because it seems to avoid the gendering of bodies at birth, instead waiting until an individual can form or dream up their idea vocation/gender. And second because this could mean so much for our contemporary society. So often certain practices/hobbies/interests are gendered. I wonder what it would mean for contemporary society if gender was instead tied to temperament and inclination? I think it would be better to remove gender bias from all vocations but I do wonder what the Yuma way of gendering would mean for our contemporary society. I guess you would first have to resolve issues found in the patriarchy because it seems that at the top of most precessions you find men. This is interesting to me though. I have always been interested in the arts and not really at all interested in “male” things like sports — why are women who are into sports called guy’s girls or tom boys — I  think that at times this may have cast a more feminine light on me amongst my peers. If we were operating in the Yuma society would I be considered of the female gender? I guess not since I am and have always felt in line with the gender I was assigned at birth, but it is an interesting thought nonetheless. Another thing that jumped out at me was the collusion between the colonizing force and the patriarchy of these traditionally matriarchal societies/cultures. And how the colonization of these cultures hit the female population in a much harder way in that they moved from holding positions of respect/power to becoming subordinated not only to the meant of their own culture, but to all members of the colonizing culture, something the idea of intersectionality make painfully obvious. I wonder what liberation all people would gain through the untethering of gender. How could a post-genderd (or a reverting to a pre-genderd) society operate in a way that makes everything more inclusive because power is not dictated by our genitals? Grated that utopia would also have to make considerable headway in the areas of both race and our current global, capitalist structure of power. I also wonder what I can do as a designer (and aspiring educator) to help spur action towards these ends (especially since I wear the face of a colonizer).

Tuesday 9/15

What are the main arguments?
  • critique of race and gender not being intersectional –  Quijano
  • critiquing white bourgeois feminism
  • next step after intersectionality
  • as a way to reframe how we are thinking about gender
    • more holistic/intertwined approach towards power structures
      • can’t argue for one issue at a time, they are all intersecting
      • oppression happens on multiple levels at any one time
Biological Dimorphism
  • not everyone is born xx or xy and you may or may not identify as such
“Race is no more mythical and fictional than gender, both powerful fictions” (12)
  • Genender vs sex
    • Construct vs biological assignment
  • Race vs genetics
    • appearance vs biology
What are things we have been told that we need to question or reevaluate in the way that Lugones if questioning Quijano?
Why is it important to have two genders in a modern heteronormative society?
  • introduces power in a specific way
  • subjugates women to men
  • tied to reproduction
    • gender in cases of intersex people depends on substantiality of their genitals (not a substantial enough of a penis as to successfully penetrate a female)
Leaving out female accomplishments in history
Why write in this academic way?
  • legitimizing self within academic structure versus decolonizing academia by writing for everyone
  • Academia comes from a place of privilege
  • How accessible should academic texts/texts around decolonization be?
Foucault – order of things >>> https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/jaro2013/SOC911/um/Michel_Foucault_The_Order_of_Things.pdf
Christianity – Order of men in relation to gods and angels
Plato – Allegory of the cave
  • hard to believe the person who has broken free because all you know are shadows on the wall
King Kong Theory >>> https://muse.jhu.edu/book/14515

// Christopher Lee Talk //
Assistant professor at Pratt Institute
  • studied at OCAD
    • corporate design pedagogy
  • Sandburg Institue in Amsterdam
Interested in Metahaven (yusss)
Not knowing and not having money can condition a practice
  • Thesis looked into alternative currencies as a genre of design practice
  • crypto/bitcoin
  • local/complimentary currencies
Diana Taylor – performance theorist >>> https://www.amazon.com/Archive-Repertoire-Performing-Cultural-Americas/dp/0822331233/ref=pd_lpo_14_t_0/146-5114592-0350953?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0822331233&pd_rd_r=a8110a3a-60cc-4690-a1c3-3bbe31458138&pd_rd_w=hALWA&pd_rd_wg=Q8iSk&pf_rd_p=7b36d496-f366-4631-94d3-61b87b52511b&pf_rd_r=GJVVMB3Y1WFAZT3WJS04&psc=1&refRID=GJVVMB3Y1WFAZT3WJS04
Design is only seen in NA as a client focused/commercial practice
  • constrained by desire of commissioner
If you call it money and it is as accepted as money is it not money?
David Graber anarchist anthropologist >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragments_of_an_Anarchist_Anthropology
Yuri Kochiyama >>> https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tTP1TcwjbcwqTJg9OKrLC3KVMjOT87IrEzMTQQAbTgIsQ&q=yuri+kochiyama&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS777US777&oq=yuri+koch&aqs=chrome.1.0j46j69i57j0l5.3295j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Land acknowledgements seldom acknowledge that “we have to leave”
Decolonization is not a metaphor >>> https://clas.osu.edu/sites/clas.osu.edu/files/Tuck%20and%20Yang%202012%20Decolonization%20is%20not%20a%20metaphor.pdf
Clay holds data for 500 years, while we don’t know how long a hard drive could hold data
Hammurabi's code — earliest legal code – defines crimes and punishments >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Hammurabi
Colonization is a problem of standardization
  • English as a standard has been adopted but leads to feelings of angst to those who were not born English speakers
  • Typography –  abiding by standardized, Eurocentric rules?
    • What do modernist styles represent?
    • Can we be against modernism while also having a soft spot for it