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

1 comment:

Paula Thornton said...

Couldn't help dropping by to comment on the water analogy. Design is optimized by finding the emergent potential in the turbulent middle. In the continuum between water and ice is a third state with its own unique properties, shared by neither of the other two states: super-chilled water

Optimal design answers are found in the embracing of the dichotomy.

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