Hi again, here’s my previous essay I had to hand in yesterday. Tell me what you think, yes you are allowed to rip it the fook out if it if you wish, I wont hang myslef.
WHO IS CHIEFLY RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING MEANING IN DESIGN? THE DESIGNER OR THE CONSUMER?
Following a personal ideal or a biased approach to my view the powers
design practices and consumers hold, I would say that none of the two
contain a superior power for creating meaning, independent or
untouchable from one another. They both have to interact with each other on the required levels from a specific context in order to create a relative
“meaning” in the objects being created. You cannot separate the two.
Concluding on the idea that chiefly Designers create meaning would
evidently place consumers underneath the undoubtfull rationalistic language (logocentricism ) , those designers claim to be closer to. Concluding on the idea that chiefly Consumers create meaning in the objects they use and are the only controlling response a designer has in order to suit their demands with wit and accuracy is to my belief, a dream that only Marxist utopians can afford to have. Creating a perfectible rationalist correlation of meanings is regrettably non-applicable universally. However, knowing the limits of your own rational thinking would be less problematic.
In this sense, every level of creating meaning are held by various parties, all involved in the creation process on one way or the other, some at different levels than others but not necessarily more abundant or Chieftain-like. In other words, the process of creating meaning in design cannot undergo a fanatical rationalization coming from the inter-helping contexts.
In this essay I will try to make up a story that illustrates this phenomenon of creating meaning for a context. I will create a simulation that illustrates a deconstructive approach to meanings, an image where the creation of
meaning isn’t directly of anyone’s possession and cannot be simplified as a singular responding entity.
In order to represent this idea specifically, let’s start from meaning as a
multi- faceted concept. The stages to follow in its creation are as complex.
Accordingly, a facet of meaning attributed from a specific context deserves
to follow a recognition, sharing and understanding pattern. Firstly of itself
then propagated through for analysis by other different facets.
Those ones then adapt that analysis for themselves but without neglect of its historical origins. In short, existing persistent meanings have to create
encounters with each other to form and interpret differences that interact,
reassure themselves, and from that, establishing a genuine sense of
movement and identity enabling a secure thinking in creating new ones .
That interaction cannot be perfected on all accounts but should always
concentrate around the “episteme” of recognition, sharing, understanding.
The processes of meanings are as important as its ordinary recognition
That image will show us a world where logocentric rationalization as an
absolute or finality of language as well as fanatical approaches to
meaning or faith are constantly criticized and questioned by the public .
Fanaticism would still be coexistent nevertheless, at some degree, I wouldn’t even be writing these lines if I hadn’t adapted myself to some level of fanatic circumstances. Most importantly, this story will imply that the process of understanding a facet of meaning should not only base itself on a party’s enlightening ‘masculine’ knowledge about it. It is a knowledge nonetheless and requires as much respect from others as others might demand theirs to be respected.
A man for a Portuguese Carrot
(A man asks a chiefly proclaimed master designer of meanings)
Good Sir, Master Designer/Philosopher/Sociologist/Anthropologist…
You see, I am a man of simple nature and were rather intrigued by a piece of paper I found just lying there in the corner of a library by a dusty bookshelf. I thought I might draw your attention on its content for I require help in its interpretation.
It looked like it hadn’t been touched in years and I was afraid to pick it up
for you know how we all are (do you?), too aware to touch anything.
I dared it anyway, pleasingly since it has become quite uncommon these
days to be touched by a historical mess. On that account, let me tell you
something. I opened the yellow fevered paper to glance at what looked like a schematic of some kind or more like a menu for something. It was difficult to see, the dust was thick on my fingers and I could not help but wipe myself out from this filth! Now that menu was not like any other I’d seen before, how peculiar, who would have something called Individualism for dinner? What is Universalism and Science ? Most of all, it seemed like
Reason was on the starter’s list, an exotic dressing perhaps?
Nevermind the descriptions for now, I’ve been spotted and is asked to leave the premises, ahem…Where’s the exit?
So it is, here are the descriptions as I promised.
Throughout the process of tasting and digesting, certain combinations didn’t seem to match and formed a rather distressing gastric paradox. In any case, it became clearer to us that when eating it all like two gluttons, how certain tastes could easily have had the tendency to escape us. We decided on a different strategy to use our own imagination to render our feelings and attributions towards the dishes with more patience and dialectic selection of opposites between the nutriments to see if any richer enthusiasm could be taken out of the experience. I need not represent before you the glutton perspective for it was close enough to ignorant savagery, it was deeply embarrassing, and I am sure it speaks to you already. As for the refined process, here it is.
Reason: This dish was represented to us as a fairly simple meal, oddly
familiar though since it had been the predominant selection of food in my
upbringing for years. A popular looking dish concerned only with the fact of
letting you know that it is securely placed at the center of it all, your plate in other words. However, would silver cutlery be appropriate to section this
presence bit by bit, like a cake? At first glance as I said, it invited you to
think that it did not matter how you approached it as long as it was your own way of experimenting with it . Open experiment then? It was not like it invited you to eat it at all, more like engage you in thinking about it in the ways its represented malleable surface had to offer.
My trouble was that however hard I tried to think of alternative decisions of
eating, I was still drawn back one way or the other to my old habits. It was
as if the way it had presented itself to me this time was inclining me to go
against something I had no idea how to proceed with or even the slightest
chance of getting where it offered to take me. Having lived a way of
eating nearly all my life, how could I not refer to my own experience of it
instead of basing my decisions upon so called clear, neutral and innate
ideas? Is it even possible to pretend to eat in such a conventional way whilst neglecting the irrational structures involved in the process leading to its applications?
Universalism and Science: My wife and I are still recovering from its
unusual apparition in our plates. I knew what it smelled like for I had already encountered such a stench inside the vermin halls of school refectories. However, despite that, it presented itself as an ordered mass synthesis of everything. At least here, it had been specially rationed to make sure that you’d have an abundant tasteful taste on all tastes. Surprisingly some of the same that were tasted previously in my lifetime tasted and smelled differently now. It is here perhaps that I should come back to its representation in our plates.
Following the instructions, we proceeded in making a relentless effort to
arrange all foods according to their type, composition, social attribution and cultural timing for ingestion. In order to fit one plate, the abundance of each didn’t leave much to be desired but the variety in colors and the impeccable arrangement made it worthwhile; at least looking at it in parallels.
The smell of the dish posed a problem since it was singular. It was as if this whole circus we undertook upon ourselves to regroup all within an ideal effort to support all our knowledge on what Kyrgystan, Sri Lanka, Irkouskt and Paris tasted like in one plate, had nothing that tasted like anything in the end? It smelled like everything and nothing and most curiously did look like something but remained a sense of aesthetic applied to whoever wrote the instructions. My question is, did he ever ask himself how it is, that when you choose a certain way to represent what would evidently become an unpresentable truth in the end, you tend to be exterminating most importantly the other and yourself on the same occasion?
The fact that a single tasted taste tasted different at the start was simply
because then the first tasting had been represented to me in a manner where its individual character was in clear deference relation with others
surrounding it and had not been “decharacterized” by a single surrounding
surround. Eating this dish was like trying to swallow a wishbone.
Individualism: This one was by far one of the better ones, my wife agrees on it too because for her it represented a way in which she could select and organize for herself from what was free of any authority. The plate was empty at first and it was up to us to manipulate the suited raw food using our own imagination, as well as having provided ourselves with a wide range of quality choices to pick from on the table before us. The instructions, it was simply filled out by a blank followed by a hand.
We planned, combined, measured, experimented, classified and played.
Play was a striking part in all of this process, it became essential for us to
play with food to find a new order in the creation of a new dish or a tasty
dessert and give ourselves a sense of inventiveness. It was so much fun that we immediately planned on sharing it with other people. So we started
inviting friends who were so impressed that they recommended we wrote a
book or some way where our area of influence would spread, for they find
contemporary eating and cooking methods tedious and boring.
The most interesting part to remember from this experience was to watch
constructive happenings developing around the plate for once and not a
single concentration of descriptive arguments concerning its symbolic
content. The problems encountered were that such behaviors of constant
identity renewal as an every day practice made it difficult to maintain a
stable ongoing record to refer to on a latter basis. It is a fun practice indeed but loses a certain sense of direction after a while. This is largely
compensated by inventiveness as our main enthusiasm drive for self-
importance but a question still lurks behind. Where does this need for
direction come from and why should it apply only when an effort to share
that understanding compromises the vernacular core of its practical method?
In the end we did write that book, it’s been 30 years now that people have
used our methods based on that dusty piece of paper found in a Library. The sad thing is Sir, people are bored once again, for it lacked in what people call today, a state of maturity .
Reflecting on the culminating notion of “attitude” Foucault’s quote offers, is perhaps the most aspiring aspect of meaning(s) I tried to illustrate in this essay. This last section on Individualism was meant to show those
dynamical aspects as a principal characteristic from the evaluation of
meaning(s) needed to represent the argued balance of responsibilities
between a Designer and Consumer. From the start, I excluded the fact of
holding more responsibility to one or the other simply because I find such an attitude to be retrograde. I think that today, we have gone further enough into critical and methodical practices to know that Inclusion only types of processes and more likely the resources used for it, are deeply shortsighted and exclusive of many more acting environments by trying to be singularly Inclusive.
Exclusion from my part allowed me to look into this topic with only a few
tools to work with in order to make sense of my position. I stressed those
clearly in the beginning, what else could I be left out with but my own sight, speech, and conception. I reviewed meaning first by saying that it looked more complicated than what was suggested. I then spoke from a standpoint where I described meanings as they manifested themselves in their multiple appearances and movements. My trouble then was to find a tool that would enable be to work from the position I was in, the only one I could think of was Deconstruction. This method could help us understand meaning in design practices and where their limits apply with consumers and vice versa.
I will nonetheless conclude by trying out a response to the topic’s question, “It would depend on what meaning you speak of first, why is it that its application is the way we see it applying itself right now? Where does it come from, for it to interact with us as such and such?”
I cannot answer that question, in the way it is presented to us it would be
wrong for me to say “No one and Everybody” for it still wouldn’t get us any
closer to my argument but I would rather leave the question open because
meanings are process in perpetual motion and cannot become a fixed entity simply because someone said so by assuming that rational language has become purified from all limits and reaches .
“Imagine a garden with a hundred kinds of trees, thousand kinds of flowers, a hundred kinds of fruit and
vegetables. Suppose, then, that the gardener of his garden knew no other distinction then between edible
and inedible, nine-tenths of this garden would be useless to him. He would pull up the most enchanting
flowers and hew down the noblest trees and even regard them with loathing and envious eye.”
-Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse, p 79
“I do not know whether we will ever reach mature adulthood. Many things in our experience convince us that the historical event of the Enlightenment did not make us mature adults, and we have not reached that stage yet. However, it seems to me that a meaning can be attributed to that critical interrogation on the present and on ourselves which Kant formulated by reflecting on the Enlightenment. It seems to me that Kant’s reflection is even a way of philosophizing that has not been without importance or effectiveness during the last two centuries. The critical ontology of ourselves has to be considered not, certainly, as a theory, a doctrine, nor even as a permanent body of knowledge that is accumulating; it has to be conceived as an attitude, an ethos, a philosophical life in which critique of what we are is at one and the same time the historical analysis of the limits that are imposed on us and an experiment with the possibility of going beyond them.”
(Foucault 1986: 49-50)
-Modernity and Postmodern Culture, page 42, line 4.
Any meaning or identity (including our own) is provisional and relative, because it is never exhaustive, it can always be traced further back to a prior network of differences, and further back again…almost to infinity or the “zero degree” of sense. This is deconstruction, to peel away like an onion the layers of constructed meanings.
-Le Concept du 11 septembre, p.200, 2nd paragraph.
Deconstruction is a strategy for revealing the underlayers of meanings “in” a text that were suppressed or assumed in order for it to take its actual form-in particular the assumptions of presence (the hidden representations of guaranteed certainty).
-L’Abecedaire de Gilles Deleuze, Discusion on letter C for Culture.(DVD)