Lecture/ tutorial Week 9


Alberto feedback ok Milestone 2

not a distinction btw internal. external. Security is made of infrastructures that make you feel safe ‘ where you live’

1. Make it more specific again. Focus analysis into an implimentation. Design something, a proposal for a civic innitiative (safe neighbourhood party),

2. Something aimed at changing the imaginary. Can we change the perception of security away from “external, boundary, internal.” Dangerous outside vs safe private space.
Can we change the perseption of security into something else, rather tan pertection from the outside. More of a shared living space, a way to have others help you make sure
you know how to use your kitchen, or turn off your stove (a neighbour alert system for appliances on more than 2 hours?), a funds pool to help others pay for fixing windows
and other home issues.


Last week: rather than viewing lashups as a basic idea, we examined lash ups as a series of formats, brands, platforms, which are structured by categories, etc.

Design shouldn’t be taken for granted. We should unpack and critically examine what design is, who designers are, what makes good/bad design. These things are historically determined, determined by lashups that constrain our ideas of what is good and what is bad.

This week: Culture is about making distinctions, that this is better than that. Through these processes we find power relations. Saying ‘culture is everyday life’ also means that we need to be attentive to the meaning that accompanies culture everywhere. Culture has implications for how power is determined. This is the backbone of social design.

Reading: how people thought about everyday life through postcards. What did they actually mean to the people who used them in those days? Viewed from contemporary eyes they could be seen as weirld, fake-looking, blatantly racist and sexist.

Vernacular: The common, everyday way people talk.

Vernacular in archetecture: after the war a lot of modernist archetecture was being built, seen by modernist archetects to be able to redesign the city. This led to large blocky buildings that would provide low cost, high density housing for the lower and middle class.

“style with no name” no known archetect would put their name on it, it was just a thrown together appropriation of old styles.

While dealing with historical ideologies and context, we are dealing with personal taste. A commercial, generic style that still refers to the cultural idea of what a house should look like.

Vernacular as a type of cultural category, using a cultural approach, that overlaps and covers a lot of ground, sometimes even contradictory ground. Vernacular is not straightforward or binary. ex/ vernacular used to describe the kitch, the diy, but also the corporate.

Vernacular is a term for the ‘everyday’ creations of people. Using vernacular exposes both the bad and the good, its a neutral term to describe this user generated content.¬†

We use this term to define not only what is popular or what has the potential to become popular, but things that are looking to become popular.

There is an onoing debate about design style, what makes good design or a good designer. Beegan and Atkinson define and distinglish betwenn the professional, the amateur; the vernacular and the dilettante.

  • Professional: A specialist graduate of professional schools. Controlled entry, limited competition. Similar to Julier’s reading.
  • Vernacular:
  • Dillitante: Someone/something with the ability to dabble, to remain detatched or mildly interested in many things. “But not in a serious, thought through kind of way” – Fred. This affords all sorts of opportunities because a dillitante can provide all sort of interesting connections that may not be seen by professionals who are so tied to one sort of discipline.
  • Amateur: Self-innitiated producer with a bit of agency.

Fred presents a few debates between the professional and DIY. Ex/ does abundant graphic design software make the field too democratic, and take away the elite status that gives credibility? Etienne said something very interesting about this being an opportunity for professionals to rethink their role in their fields, and to evolve and develop new and deeper areas of expertise. I think that amateurs may never have the detailed expertise, or the artistic eye required. They will not have the experience in making decisive design choices, or staying up to date on the details of trends within the field. I also think that there are some aspects to understanding that are not had by amaturs. As they become increasingly democratic, the tools become more helpful and increasingly mediate the individual from the ‘work’ of designing. As more people become online publishers through website tools that allow more people to be able to design and create content for their own websites, less people are learning how to do the hard ‘work’ of the behind-the-scenes skills in HTML, CSS etc. that structure these websites. (This blog which is mediated by wordpress).

Participatory culture: Bert is evil example. Anyone and everyone could create and share content online. Amateurs were using graphic design tools to create and distribute images online to express their opinions, interpretations, reactions to pepper spray cop.

Jenkins says that participatory, bottom up production is democratizing. There are limitations to this democracy. The inability to really get your meme to get attention could limit the emancipatory potential. Also, when done for activist purposes does this hinder the seriousness of the issue or give it longer legs by making it funny and giving it a wider audience. Also does this just encourage clicktivism?

DIY, Makerculture defines itself as a reaction and in doing so negates any negative connotations of being amateur. The term vernacular is neutral.

Fred’s point is making an argument for the presence of the vernacular among mainstream culture.

Burgess argues that the vernacular are works of remediation. So rather than being a radical reaction, the vernacular may often be interpretated as an “increased remediation and public visibility of the creative practices” (Burgess).

Exercise to try: Go back to the other platforms we’ve discussed in the last 2 weeks and apply the idea of vernacular to try and understand where those elements of creater/professional culture come into the design.

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