Learning Journal
Fall Semester 2020


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DES // 500 —— Political Ecology

DES // 540 —— Research Studio

DES // 520 —— Agathokakological Tendencies
ART // 520 —— Teaching Artists 

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// Week 2 //

Monday 8/31

Today we analyzed our first pass at diagrams. I think everyone put in a good effort and there was solid discussion surrounding the results. It will be interesting to see how these evolve before wednesday and I am also interested to see how these objects that we have selected for the semester begin to take on or represent the characteristsic of our own topics of research. Fortunately everyone seemed to pic up on the metaphor/duality of my chosen object, the knife, and the floral motif created via animation in p5. Also, feedback on removing my object from a black field and placing it in some sort of setting proved fruitful as well. It may be furhter from what is “good design” but I really enjoy the aesthetic. Most recent version here.

Wednesday 9/2

Discussd more recent versions of our diagram work. I had worked on a few different versions between last class and this class in order to incorporate some sort of color or image in the background. I wanted to place this object in relation to education somehow so I opted to try incorporating the idea of the desk or educational workspace. I ultimately landed on the use of the cutting mat grid because not only could it be easily tiled to makeup the background but also because to me it represented my desk as well as design as a whole due to the use of the grid. That direction can be found here. We discussed that direction in class which lead to comments that the background was disorienting and also didn’t really say what I was hoping instead leading classmates to thinking of how this knife seems out of place and instead expect to see an exacto knife. One thought was to place this more firmly in a desk setting which I attempted by adding some desk items on the periphery. That direction can be found here, and didn’t really work for me. So instead I chose to opt for graph paper that can reference a notebook or field notebook and also still referenced the ever present design grid. I also chose to cover the paper in notes that I have been taking while researching/discussing my research around design education. That most recent version can be found here.  

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// Week 3 //

Wednesday 9/10

Got feedback on the final outcomes of our diagrams. I am happy with where mine netted out and pretty much everyone understood what I was going for, so that’s good. Next we will be working on a catalog of our object/recearch topic. I am wondering how I can go about making a catalog that is representitive of both a knife as well as design education (subversive education?). One thought is to create a catalog of the design canon that is important to contemporary design education. But instead of a direct catalog, maybe instead this cataog is made up of facsimiles of these pieces of design that have been destroyed by the knife (assuming the knife represents subversive thought/education?). Maybe then the pieces could be kitbashed into new means of design education? Could they also include things like YouTube, Skillshare, Pateron, etc? Also, what is the form of this catalog? Is it some sort of printed zine or is it something else? Maybe I can lift some of the ideas utilized by the Boot Boyz and produce this catalog in the form of a shirt. Maybe it exists as cyanotype prints on fabric that are then mutilated and applied to a dress/button up shirt. Can that shirt represent the traditional commercial designer (Micael Bierut)? Maybe along with books and examples of contemporary design canon, the portraits of design’s heros are also mutilated and repurposed? Maybe the Knife is only present in that it is used to cut down the printed material. Maybe it is represented somewhere inside the shirt? Under the flip side of the collar perhaps? Could things that represent traditional/eurocentric design canon be printed in negative and things that represent subversive/decolonial design canon be printed in positive (vice versa)?


Saturday 9/12

//Response to The Crystal Goblet by Beatrice Warde//
Ahhh The Crystal Goblet… It was good to read this one again. I still disagree with the overall tone, but find myself understanding it more. I think the metaphor makes sense if you are strictly speaking of technical typography, but that this text really takes a turn for the judgmental/pompous in trying to define “good” typography because in doing so it means that everything else must be “bad” or “other”. Why does the choice of ones glass either make them a connoisseur (Ward’s word) or a barbarian (my word). In my opinion it doesn’t leave enough room for flexibility or even and evolving or advancement of the practice of design.

I would much prefer to make a metaphor in the form of cocktail styles. Are martinis good in that they are uncomplicated yet full of flavor in their stemmed glasses? Sure, but is that the only proper way to make a cocktail? Should all other cocktail styles be seen as less than? Fuck no. Look at Tiki, it stands almost in opposition to the purity of a martini in its complexity of flavor delivered in ofter absurd ceramic cups. Would it be nice to see the color of the cocktail provided by freshly squeezed juices? Maybe, but that would take away from the pleasure and amusement provided by the kitschy cup and garnishes.

Maybe it is time that we burn this text and rewrite it. Expand our design palette beyond wine to any type of booze that our drunken hearts desire served in whichever glass adds to the experience. I encourage you to take your modernism and serve it inside of a vessel made of psychedelia. Take your art nouveau and pour it into a cup made of punk xerography and get drunk on barbaric designs that bring more to the table than a straight-forward presentation of what is “good”

//Response to the Post Typographic Manifesto by Post Typography//
All I have to say of the Post Typographic Manifesto is wow. I truly appreciate the efforts to liberate the practice of design from its hierarchy of rules on which the Typocracy has been built. I am not sure what else I can say outside of quoting the parts that gave me chills.

“”It has been said that the “medium is the message,” but your medium is transparent and likewise, your message hollow.”
“We step on your crystal goblet of typography at the marriage of liberty and design.”
“We will liberate typography from the stuffy shackles of classicism and rigid mores of modernism."
“We only answer to the ultimate satisfaction of our own Dionysian impulses.”
“We make our impact with Impact!”

So much else to love in this text, I think I’ll print it out and hang it by my desk next to my printout of the First Things First manifesto.

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