On "Mythologies: The World of Wrestling" by Roland Barthes
—Barthes, Mythologies series studies not the classical mythology but the living myth of the present, interpreted through semiotics. In this article he studied the semiotics of Parisian Wrestling, referring to it as
“a sport, it is a spectacle” (Barthes, 1994)
Barthes sees this form of wrestling as theatrical themes enacted through the frame work of a sport. In his article he notes the key themes of this drama; Suffering; Defeat; and Justice, these themes are acted by the wrestlers. He begins to define the characters of wrestlers and placing them into archetypes, which are as visual signs for the audience to react to his main example being the “salaud”,
“the classical concept of the salaud, the 'bastard' (the key-concept of any wrestling-match), appears as organically. repugnant. The nausea voluntarily provoked, by Thauvin shows therefore a very extended use of signs: not only is ugliness used here in order to signify baseness, but in addition ugliness is wholly gathered into a particularly repulsive quality of matter”(Barthes, 1994)
Barthes states that in the presentation of the archetypical characters the audience expect certain characteristics and actions. From the salaud they expect treachery, cruelty and cowardice, the salaud is the tyrannical villain of the drama who incites violence with the hero, and thusly makes the violence done by the hero on to himself justified. The characters in this drama are static in that they are unchangeable and unredeemable, the salaud will always be the salaud, in this the base motivation for his actions are predicable.
—He observed that the wrestlers also communicate primarily though gestures while on stage as,
“Wrestling is like a diacritic writing: above the fundamental meaning of his body, the wrestler arranges comments which are episodic but always. opportune, and constantly help the reading of the fight by means of gestures, attitudes and mimicry which make the intention utterly obvious” (Barthes, 1994)
They broadcast the sign in the clearest means they can, they exaggerate they’re expressions and actions, with no nuance. Even though they are obviously exaggerated as Barthes says,
“What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself.” (Barthes, 1994)
The public is somewhat aware that they don't want to see a fight were people are hurt but see the story of a fight with the illusion of suffering on the part of the combatants.
Barthes, R., 1994. The World of Wrestling. In: Mythologies. pp. 15-25.
In this lecture we were introduced to research methodologies of qualitative and quantitative research, and how to decide as to which type is best for a giving investigation.
On Doing Research in Design by Christopher Crouch & Jane Peace
Chapter 5. Doing Research: From Methodologies to Method
—This chapter concerns itself with discussing and defining the differences between quantitative and qualitive research topics and methods. In the chapter the two types are described more of tools that are chosen depending upon the specific task which the researcher needs to accomplish, and Crouch and Pearce said thusly,
“In a nutshell, the question is whether you need to generate research data that can lead to conclusions that are generalizable across a large population, or whether your intention is to understand in some depth the experiences of a small group of people. A colleague of ours once clarified this distinction very neatly. She remarked that some researchers attempt to generalize, by conducting research to demon-strate that 'things happen like this', while other researchers focus on understanding the detail of individual experiences and seek to show that 'things like this happen ' (R. Pasqualini, personal communication, 2003).” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
Qualitative research is keyed towards an in-depth study of individuals, rather than accumulating generalized trends and options of large repressive groups of whole populations as seen in the quantitative tradition.
—They also layout a basis for how research projects begin, one must give the purpose and giving a problem/question for the investigation, then the researcher must justify what data will be suited to answer the question and how it should be analysed. A key point is the selection of the study groups,
“The in-depth nature of qualitative research makes the involvement of large numbers of participants impractical, so researchers have developed strategies for choosing participants in ways that best suit the research intent. Examples of purposeful sampling include finding participants who are typical of a particular case; finding participants who have significant qualities in common” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
The definition they gave would suggests that there can be danger on accidental or intentional cherry picking of participants, which seems to be a significant issue with this tradition, if due diligence is not undertaken in the study to avoid bias. Not that quantitative methods are without flaws,
In-deed some quantitative research will involve every member of the whole population to which the research problem applies. If this proves too difficult, samples of a particular population may be chosen to represent a larger group.(Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
The main problem with gathering research from large groups a portion of the population may be unwilling to take the survey, this does interfere with the generalized nature of results as it can shift the range of the results significantly. A key example would be the drastic difference between the polls for the 2016 US elections and the final results.
—Setting can play in important factor in gathering data. Qualitive research for instance,
“typically takes place in naturalistic settings, observations of these settings can be very important in contributing to the researcher's understanding of participants' experiences, while rich descriptions of these settings will in turn help readers understand the research context.” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
As opposed to quantitative that,
“relies on measurement tools such as scales, tests, observations checklists and questionnaires, and as far as possible takes place in controlled settings . . . Researchers using quantitative methodologies will take steps to control the influence of their personal value systems on the conduct of the research through strategies.” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
Crouch, C. & Pearce , J., 2012. Chapter 5: Doing research: from methodologies. In: Doing research in design. s.l.:Berg Publishers, pp. 67-75.
In this lecture we began an investigation as to how we as makers/creators learn. In the lecture we were given examples of means of displaying our thought process and were encouraged to consider how we go about our creative practise we were given the task of mind mapping our most resent protect [add link] and consider and consider with the framework of Edward de Bono's six thinking hats idea.
I think the lecture lingered too long on the creation and ideas around mind maps, rather that possibly exploring more ideas around how creative thinking because there has to be more than De Bono's ideas.
On Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
—De Bono begins by posing analogies that suggest that the mind as a tool that is most efficient when monotasking, which he states is the strength of the Six Hats method:
It [Six Hats Method]allows the brain to maximize its sensitivity in different directions at different times. It is simply not possible to have that maximum sensitization in different directions all at the same time.(De Bono, 2009)
Due to this assumption the Six Hats, are means of focusing the creative process on one hat’s thinking type at a time. De Bono goes on to a brief discussion of Western thinking - derived from Greek philosophers Socrates; Plato; and Aristotle – which he states
As a result, Western thinking is concerned with 'what is', which is determined by analysis, judgement and argument. (De Bono, 2009)
He acknowledges this as thinking as useful, however is a detriment to the question of “what can be” necessary for creative thinking. The “what is” form of thinking is useful in establishing modes of operating based on past events which he refers to as a box, choosing a course of action then relies upon deciding which box is best applicable for the situation. This methodology is suitable for a stationary world however begins to collapse in face of a more dynamic environment, for this De Bono proposes that Parallel thinking is used.
—Parallel think is a method which involves looking a subject from multiple perspectives in order to establish a full view of a situation. What is interest is how De Bono applies this line of thinking to an argument,
In traditional thinking, if two people disagree, there is an argument in which each tries to prove the other party wrong. In parallel thinking, both views, no matter how contradictory, are put down in parallel. If, later on, it is essential to choose between the different positions, then an attempt to choose is made at that point. If a choice cannot be made, then the design has to cover both possibilities.
At all times the emphasis is on designing a way forward. (De Bono, 2009)
The hats are designed to be used as a series of directions which allow for the changing of one’s perspectives and guiding one’s thinking. It is the intent of the system that all hats are utilized, not simultaneously but at some point, by the same person.
De Bono, E., 2009. Chapter 1: Introduction. In: Six Thinking Hats. s.l.:Penguin, pp. 1-12.
On Buchanan’s vision of “The Future of Design"
Buchanan begins by disusing the future of design research, introducing the ideas of John Dewey and Herbert Simon. In 1983, soon after his Art As Experience book, Dewey published Logic: The Theory of Inquiry in which he states:
Inquiry is the controlled or directed transformation of an indeterminate situation into one that is so determinate in its constituent distinctions and relations as to convert the elements of the original situation into a unified whole. (Dewey, 1938)
The key elements of inquiry in Dewey’s proposed methodology here, identified by Buchanan, are:
(1) the indeterminate situation, (2) the formation of a problem for inquiry, (3) the distinctions and relations that may be discovered in a directed 6 transformation of the situation, and (4) the unified outcome that is produced. (Buchanan, 2005)
Buchannan poses that this list is more of a reflection of the design process of a practising designer. He then goes on to contrast Dewey’s theory of practise with that of Herbert Simon, who offered a counter methodology of design.
Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. The intellectual activity that produces material artifacts is no different fundamentally from the one that prescribes remedies for a sick patient or the one that devises a new sales plan for a company or a social welfare policy for a state. Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training; it is the principal mark that distinguishes the professions from the sciences. (Simon, 1968)
This is a rather idealistic stance on design as not all design acts to help people but to poorly remedy social issue in order to avoid a cure, for instance antisocial design/hostile architecture/unpleasant design, intended to frustrate or deter people form using them. More information and examples on this form of design can be found here https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/unpleasant-design-hostile-urban-architecture/.
Buchannan interprets Simon’s work as trying to integrate design into more scientific fields, namely cognitive psychology. Though, Buchannan does acknowledge that Simon is making a distinction between his general logic for design and empirical logic utilised by science. Ultimately Buchanan seems to prefer Dewey’s definition of inquiry as he sees it more suited for design, from which he derives the three broad forms of design inquiry; the practising designer; nature of design; and the extension of design thinking. Which can be interpreted as present study, past study and future study (which maybe better described as lateral study) respectively.
On Blauvelt's "Remaking Theory, Rethinking Practice"
Blavault’s writing begins by introduces the topic of design vs theory as a source of contention within the field. Wherein he cites the arguments of one J. Abbott Miller as an example of an “anti-intellectual reaction” to theory in design.
One always hears complaints about the 'dumbing-down' of design in journalism, but shouldn't we be equally critical of the 'smarting-up' of design for academic audiences? (Miller, 1996)
Where in theory is acknowledged as useful but its overtellectuaization interferes with the intuitive practise of design. The point is countered by the concerns that theory is too vague or abstract to be used by practising designers.
Blavault proposes that a middle ground be found between these to view points, by doing as his essay tittle suggests – rebuilding theory by considering and reflecting on how we go about the practise of design in order to gain a realistic theory of the design practise that is demystified.
It is also important to recognize that graphic design, no matter how it is practiced, fashions its own theories about making that help give it meaning, significance, and legitimacy. Just as it is impossible to honestly entertain the notion of being outside of politics, it is equally impossible to imagine any practice of design that is somehow independent of, or beyond, a theory of practice. (Blauvelt, 2005)
Blavualt note that this self-reflection of the industry and stems from the double-edged sword which is technology, specifically the personal computer.
With the threat of every personal computer owner becoming a desktop publisher, graphic design was in danger of demystifying its professional practice and abdicating its perceived role as a "gatekeeper" to mass communications. Simultaneously, the personal computer expanded the range of media and skills needed by graphic designers in the areas of motion, sound, and interactivity, for example, which threatened the very definition of graphic design rooted in the world of print. (Blauvelt, 2005)
This massive expansion of the skill set requisite for a designer is forcing practitioners to redefine what they are. Designers are now required to be highly skilled polymaths or highly specified in a craft, in order to compete. These problems are further expanded in the consideration that past design is becoming more irrelevant as technology develops and formats and means of interacting with design fundamentally changes, thus making the future of the design increasingly volatile. Blavault cites and interview with Ellen Lupton on the role of theory:
Theory has opened up a multitude of ways that we can understand our work, but it will not tell anyone how to produce a better or more interesting design. Graphic design will continue to be measured-or seen-through its visual manifestations, in all their variety. (Lupton, 1996)
A theory in this model would ground work that from which design is to be navigated and to ask questions about and through work, thereby is integral to the process of design.
Blauvelt, A., 2005. Remaking Theroy, Rethinking Practise. In: S. Heller, ed. The Education of a Graphic Designer. s.l.:Allworth Press, pp. 102-108.
Buchanan, P. R., 2005. Design as Inquiry: The Common, Future and Current Ground of Design. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University.
Dewey, J., 1938. Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Lupton, E., 1996. In: Mixing Messages: Graphic Design and Contemporary Culture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, p. 173.
Mars, R., 2016. 99% Invisible. [Online]
Available at: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/unpleasant-design-hostile-urban-architecture/
[Accessed Monday 11th February 2019].
Miller, J. A., 1996. What Did You Do in the Design Studio, Daddy?. Eye 6, Issue 22, p. 6.
Simon, H. A., 1968. The Sciences of the Artifical. 1st ed. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Design In Context
Daniel Thomas Coates, graphic designer based in the UK. Currently a student at the University of Cumbria, Carlisle.