Undesign: Critical Practices at the Intersection of Art and Design (Paperback) book cover


Critical Practices at the Intersection of Art and Design

Edited by Gretchen Coombs, Andrew McNamara, Gavin Sade


240 pages | 100 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138695719
pub: 2018-10-19
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138695702
pub: 2018-10-19
Available for pre-order

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The creation of a complex design world, and of affirmative design processes, has long been predicated on the stratified protocols and established assumptions of mainstream commercial design. Limited by an emphasis on utility and function that stands at odds with the broad parameters of the art-design world, the creative capacity of the form, in art, science, and technology is underscored by a willingness to innovate and invent alternative ideas.

Spanning a wide range of design fields that focus on the nexus of art and design, and the conceptual contradictions therein, Undesign brings together leading artists, designers and theorists working at the intersection of design, art, and application. Bringing to light emerging practices that highlight the social, political and aesthetic potential of "undesigning" our complex designed world by exploring the practice-led formulations of science, engineering, biotechnology and hacktivism, this book seeks to restructure design approaches around a critical appreciation of aesthetic ideas ungoverned by a prescriptive set of norms.

Table of Contents

Introduction Andrew McNamara, Gretchen Coombs and Gavin Sade 1. ‘What is critical Design?’ Brad Haylock 2. Notes on More-than-Human Architecture Stanislav Roudavaski 3. The Un-designability of the Virtual. Design from Problem-solving to Problem finding Bette Marenko 4. Critical Operationality: Energy and Co-Designing Communities (ECDC) by the Interaction Research Studio (IRS), Goldsmiths, London (2010–14) Katherine Moline 5. A Statement for Attending to Diverse Economies Through Design Research Carl DiSalvo 6. ‘I prefer not to:’ Anti-progressive Designing Cameron Tonkinwise 7. Speculative Design as Research Method: From Answers to Questions and "Staying with the Trouble" Anne Galloway and Catherine Caudwell 8. Inhabiting Practices: Operating between Art, Design, Science and Technology Leah Heiss 9. A finger pointing at the moon: Absence, emptiness and Ma in design Yoko Akama 10. Hacking the Semiosphere: The Ad Hoc Atlas: A Manifesto as Manifestation of Undesign, V5.3: An exercise in reflexive (and recursive) design practice about design by design Joshua Singer 11. (Un)Design, Commerce and Artistic Autonomy: Site-Specific Art in China Xin Gu and Justin O’Connor 12. Bridging counter-culture grass-roots initiatives with design Spyros Bofylatos 13. Undesigning Borders: Spaces of Borders and Counter-Practices of Looking Mahmoud Keshavarz 14. Natural disasters, undesign and the absent interior Kirsty Volz 15. ‘Imagination wove this flesh garment’: fashion, critique and capitalism Kathleen Horton and Alice Payne Epilogue: Out through the Indoor: Some Notes on the Undesign Process Gretchen Coombs Index

About the Editors

Gretchen Coombs is an early career academic exploring socially engaged art and design practices in the US, the UK and Australia. She combines the skills from her PhD in social and cultural anthropology with her MA in visual criticism to write essays on contemporary culture. Gretchen is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in Design & Creative Practice and a core member of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT. She is the Assistant Editor for Art & the Public Sphere.

Andrew McNamara is an art historian and Professor, Visual Arts at QUT, Brisbane. His publications include: Sweatthe subtropical imaginary (2011); An Apprehensive Aesthetic (2009); Modern Times: The Untold Story of Modernism in Australia, with Ann Stephen and Philip Goad (2008); plus Surpassing Modernity: An Ambivalent Quest (Bloomsbury, London, forthcoming). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Australian chair of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’art (CIHA).

Gavin Sade is currently the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of technology. He is also an internationally recognised practice-led researcher in the field of electronic arts and interactive media, and has been commissioned to produce creative works for international biennials and festivals, art galleries and public institutions, as well as private companies. His academic research occurs at the intersection at Art, Design, Science and Technology, and focuses on the way interdisciplinary creative-practices contribute to the generation of new knowledge and innovation.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
DESIGN / General
DESIGN / Essays
DESIGN / Fashion
DESIGN / Furniture
DESIGN / Industrial
DESIGN / Interior Decorating
DESIGN / Reference