Undesign brings together leading artists, designers and theorists working at the intersection of art and design. The text focuses on design practices, and conceptual approaches, which challenge the traditional notion that design should emphasise its utility over aesthetic or other non-functional considerations. This publication brings to light emerging practices that consider the social, political and aesthetic potential of "undesigning" our complex designed world. In documenting these new developments, the book highlights the overlaps with science, engineering, biotechnology and hacktivism, which operate at the intersection of art and design.
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 Roudavski 3. The Un-designability of the Virtual. Design from Problem-solving to Problem finding Betti 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
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 CoEditor for Art & the Public Sphere.
Andrew McNamara is an art historian and Professor of Visual Arts at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. His publications include: Sweat – the 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: Ambivalence in Art, Politics and Society (2018). 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.
"Reading Undesign will undesign you. These essays collectively confront, challenge and stall the trajectory of design. Resisting the impetus to redefine design, which just perpetuates it as a concept, Undesign effects a pause and opens up the conditions – and imperative – for practitioners, educators, academics and students to re-consider design and the world differently." - Suzie Attiwill, Associate Dean Interior Design, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University