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Design and Design Theory

Design and Design Theory

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Edited by Alex Coles

This reader in Whitechapel's Documents of Contemporary Art series investigates the interchange between art and design. Since the the Pop and Minimalist eras—as the work of artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Dan Graham demonstrates—the traditional boundaries between art and architectural, graphic, and product design have dissolved in critically significant ways. Design and Art traces the rise of the "design-art" phenomenon through the writings of critics and practitioners active in both fields.

In the years immediately following World War II, America embraced modern architecture—not as something imported from Europe, but as an entirely new mode of operation, with original and captivating designs made in the USA. In Domesticity at War, Beatriz Colomina shows how postwar American architecture adapted the techniques and materials that were developed for military applications to domestic use.

Activity Theory and Interaction Design

Activity theory holds that the human mind is the product of our interaction with people and artifacts in the context of everyday activity. Acting with Technology makes the case for activity theory as a basis for understanding our relationship with technology. Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie Nardi describe activity theory's principles, history, relationship to other theoretical approaches, and application to the analysis and design of technologies. The book provides the first systematic entry-level introduction to the major principles of activity theory.

Talking about Seeing and Doing

In Shape, George Stiny argues that seeing shapes—with all their changeability and ambiguity—is an inexhaustible source of creative ideas. Understanding shapes, he says, is a useful way to understand what is possible in design.

Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design

As our everyday social and cultural experiences are increasingly mediated by electronic products—from "intelligent" toasters to iPods—it is the design of these products that shapes our experience of the "electrosphere" in which we live. Designers of electronic products, writes Anthony Dunne in Hertzian Tales, must begin to think more broadly about the aesthetic role of electronic products in everyday life.

The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism

In Imagine No Possessions, Christina Kiaer investigates the Russian Constructivist conception of objects as being more than commodities. "Our things in our hands must be equals, comrades," wrote Aleksandr Rodchenko in 1925.

Design and Dissent on the Internet

The network economy presents itself in the transactions of electronic commerce, finance, business, and communications. The network economy is also a social condition of discontinuity, indefinite limits, and in-between spaces. In Cornucopia Limited, Richard Coyne uses the liminality of design -- its uneasy position between creativity and commerce -- to explore the network economy.

"Shaping Things is about created objects and the environment, which is to say, it's about everything," writes Bruce Sterling in this addition to the Mediawork Pamphlet series. He adds, "Seen from sufficient distance, this is a small topic."Sterling offers a brilliant, often hilarious history of shaped things.

Designing for Business and Workplace Realities

The goal of participatory IT design is to set sensible, general, and workable guidelines for the introduction of new information technology systems into an organization. Reflecting the latest systems-development research, this book encourages a business-oriented and socially sensitive approach that takes into consideration the specific organizational context as well as first-hand knowledge of users' work practices and allows all stakeholders—users, management, and staff—to participate in the process.

How Brooks Stevens Shaped Your World

Industrial Strength Design: How Brooks Stevens Shaped Your World is a long overdue introduction to the work of visionary industrial designer Brooks Stevens (1911-1995). Believing that an industrial designer "should be a businessman, an engineer, and a stylist, in that order," Stevens created thousands of ingenious and beautiful designs for industrial and household products—including a clothes dryer with a window in the front, a wide-mouthed peanut butter jar, and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

  • Page 5 of 6