Thursday, September 24, 2009

DCC2009 Water Paldi: Ice, Steam & Drops

Ice (Frozen) – Steam (Hot) – Drop (Wet) : Many forms of water to joggle the imagination

Prof M P Ranjan

The theme for DCC 2009 continues to be Water even though the precipitation has improved in the delayed stage of the monsoon in India but the damage has been done and many farmers and village inhabitants have lost their means of livelihood and they feel the crunch when the dry spell continues beyond a point of no return.

Image01: DCC2009 BlackBoard at the opening session at Paldi for the fourth batch of PG students from Ceramic Design, Furniture Design, Graphic Design and Film and Video Communications. Thye brainstorming session and participative exploration of the question of “What is Design?” resulted in a large list of words that students brought up during the session.

The session itself was lively and many of the words were accompanied by a brief explanation and with some examples that could clarify the context in which these words were being offered during the class discussion of the subject of understanding design as we know it today. We lost one day in this two week course since the opening Monday was a public holiday due to ID celebrations. However we felt that we could still forge forward and in the evening the students were asked to form three groups and try and categorise these words into a coherent structure that would make sense to themselves as well as to all of us.

Image02: Three models were created by the three groups (as yet unnamed and identified only as Group 1, 2 and 3) and they presented the structure that they had evolved overnight through group sessions and the three groups had different models to offer.

Group 1 had chosen the Newtonian colour wheel to try and arrange the words and they had a dramatic presentation with the colour wheel that was mounted on the ceiling fan!! And at the end they turned on the fan and we saw WHITE!!, at least in the centre…. The Group 2 used the NID symbol as their metaphor and for some reason they added a lot of gears in the diagrams and many of these did not fit each other, but their logic was impeccable and based on their dialogues that led them to describe the stages of design as – Need, Imagination & Decisions – NID and to add to the image they had a base that stood for Context and an outside gear (which did not fit) but stood for Change. Group 3 had a flow chart that was logical and echoed Prof Bruce Archers model of the design process and these transported us back to the early 60s and the mid 70’s when the design methods movement was taking shape with the thought leaders – Archer, Jones and Alexander – gave us interesting views of design as they had gleaned during their research and deliberations in the early days of design methods.

At the end of the presentations we drew lots to decide which of these groups would have the themes assigned for this batch (DCC2009 PG Paldi B4), namely – Ice, Steam and Drops – the sub-themes under water that they have to investigate through a process of sense making and understanding development. The process includes articulating what the group already knows about the theme, based on their three types of memory that have been built over a lifetime of experience. Direct experiences, Related experiences and Imagined experiences. Sensory knowledge, Knowledge acquired from others and from sources and the fantasies from their own imagination and dreams of the past. Tomorrow we will see the first stage presentations of all three groups and I look forward to it.

Prof M P Ranjan

Sunday, September 13, 2009

DCC2009 Water Bangalore: Rivers, Lakes & Aquifers

Rivers and Streams, Lakes and Ponds, Aquifers and Wells: Flowing, Standing and Underground

Prof M P Ranjan

Image: Composite view of three groups of Bangalore DCC students across three stages of their explorations of the theme of the course, Water – Riivers and Streams, Lakes and Ponds, Aquifers and Wells. Top row: Aquifers and wells, Middle row: Lakes and Ponds, Bottom row: Rivers and Streams

This was a very stimulating week for me at Bangalore with the wonderful weather and the daily rains in the evening time. I was also multitasking and working on my paper for the Istanbul Conference in October 2009 and I used the weekend to prepare my first draft and crystalise the research that had been going on over the past two months or so. The teams from the three disciplines at the NID Bangalore joined the course and there was a great deal of enthusiasm that was visible and all students participated with huge contributions both individual as well as collective. The results were visible and the theme of water across the three chosen areas of focus that was given to the students of DRE, DDE and IID at Bangalore were dealing with water on our land: Flowing, Standing and Underground

All three assignments were carried out with great enthusiasm and the results were remarkable. The groups explored the structure of the problem and started as usual with what they already knew in their lifetime of experience through a process of brainstorming and articulation followed by many iterations of discovering structure and finding the categories that could make sense of all the dimensions that the groups had identified. The second stage was very rich with expert interactions in the city of Bangalore and field visits to get first hand feel of the issues and perspectives in the domain of water and its uses and the effects on both environment and people. The third stage of building design opportunities was quite massive with each group producing over five hundred sketch concepts across many categories of action that they felt would be needed and could produce value. These were presented and the last assignment of individual development of one design opportunity for more detailed exploration and scenario visualization was taken up on the last day of the class. Seeing the 1500 thumbnail concepts of how water issues could be addressed with design was indeed stimulating and we need to capture these for further work in the days ahead. However I had to leave town for Jaipur on Friday morning to be with the IICD, Jaipur at their second convocation on the 12 September 2009. Back at NID Ahmedabad on Sunday morning I am awaiting the images from this visualization task at Bangalore and I am sure we will see 45 rich concept explorations that are both imaginative as well as rooted in practical realities that we all face today. I look forward to seeing the last stage soon with data feeds from my co-teachers at Bangalore, Nijoo Dubey and Priyanka Choudhary.

Prof M P Ranjan

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

DCC2009 in Bangalore: Water again: Lakes, Rivers & Wells

Prof M P Ranjan

Bangalore Group starts DCC with Water as their theme with focus on three subjects of 1. Lakes & Ponds 2. Rivers & Streams and 3. Aquifers & Wells.

Image01: DCC blackboard and white board after the discussion on what is design and a few design experts known to the student group. Most of the words were contributed to by students as part of the discussion on the question of “What is Design?” and who are the designer experts that you have heard about.

This helps break the ice and a good deal of discussion about design, its attributes and activities as well as the disciplines that it draws from are discussed as part of this session. It also helps set the stage for the set of assignments to follow.

Image02: View of the Class in the NID Bangalore conference room during the first session

Three groups were formed by assigning one student to each group from the photo list that is available in such a way that each group has and even distribution of members from each discipline. At Bangalore we have three disciplines at the PG level, namely, Design for Retail Experience, Design for Digital Experience and Information and Interface Design.
The session at NID Bangalore was conducted in the Conference room with black boards, white boards and digital projectors used for the lecture presentations. The modules of Understanding Design (download pdf file) was followed by sharing the IDSA lecture titled “Giving Design back to Society: Towards a post-mining economy”. The models used were explained and after the lunch break, after much delay we reassembled and formed the groups. I intended to show the students my EAD06 lecture titled “Creating the Unknowable: Designing the Future in Education”, however fate intervened and the power supply failed us and we switched back to the white board and continued the description of the assignments and the team formation process. Lots were drawn to make the assignment of the groups to the chosen subject truly random. These presentation pdf files can be downloaded from the links above and below here:
EAD 06 presentation pdf file and eight linked quicktime movies all as one single zip file 53 MB in size

Prof M P Ranjan
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.