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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/934792
- D=EQ: a triptych of designed objects, which explore the relationship between theory and practice
Dickinson, Michael R.
- University of Newcastle. Faculty of Science & Information Technology, School of Design, Communication and Information Technology
- Research Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- D=EQ can be thought of as a logo for the research. It is not meant to be directly interpreted as an equation, rather as a thought provoking visual statement “Design = Energy to the power of ‘Q’ the question asked”. This visual statement refers to the theorising of Dilnot (1999) and Jonas (2000) who argue that the domain of design is ‘artefact’ centric, positioned in one corner of a triangular model of knowledge creation (Archer, 1979). The other two corners of Archer’s triangle are occupied by the humanities, which use ‘words’ in one corner and the sciences, which uses ‘numbers’ in the other. In their theorising, design occupies the third corner and uses artefacts as its major form of communication. D=EQ is an artefact. A symbolic representation of the research but how does it communicate? How does any artefact communicate? This research undertakes a process, which aims to reveal the 'silent language' of design through a systemised analysis of the three artefacts designed for this study. Each design will have at least the nominal functionality of a source of lighting but they (both individually and as a set) will be more. Their real purpose is to reveal the logos of the logo. They facilitate a discourse on the relationship between theory and practice. They probe the relationship between text and artefact, and they are examples of artefacts designed from, for and of questions. To achieve this, a review of seminal thinkers in design theory was undertaken which identifies a heart of darkness at the core of the relationship between theory and practice. This is followed by a short review of education literature to uncover if the heart of darkness phenomena has implications in Design domain educational settings. As a result of the review a research plan was formulated which utilises a mixture of practice led and case study methodologies to further the exploration of the relationship between the text and artefact through the imposing of an experimental context to the undertaking of three designs, which are nominally lights. The experimental parameters developed as the study progresses were: Artefact before text - Text before artefact - Text and artefact in unison. How this could be achieved was not known at the start of the research and its success in many respects is for the reader to judge. But the experiment was undertaken and the results set out in this document. That the designs were lights was not an arbitrary decision. The intrinsic nature of the function of lighting complements the study and is highly symbolic of the research intent. To illuminate that which cannot be seen, that which was not known. Structurally the light parameter provides the intellectual focus and the constraints required to allow the act of design to take place. The procedure for undertaking the three individual designs is set out below. The first light can be viewed as a control. It follows a relatively standard approach within design practice. The artefact itself was the focus, generated out of a desire to create, with the analysis of the object being a post analyses. Not so typically this post analysis utilises the literary style of story telling to expose the now silent message embedded in the artefacts creation but post analysis of artefacts in its many text centric forms is highly typical within design. The second case study was a design undertaken after the recording of an experience in the form of a text-based document. This is in contrast to the method of design utilised for the first light design where the design was produced before the recording of a text. The experience to be explored is participation in a jury. The text produced was rich with thoughts and emotions. The text also recorded a discernable unit of experience, which can be argued to be discrete from the typical manifestation of design practice. The text exists before the artefact and the text is used as the starting point for the creation of a light design. The undertaking of this case study also provides the opportunity to contemplate the role of judgement in the design process. The third design is another exploration into the relationship between artefact and text but this time artefact and text are treated simultaneously and not separately. The experiment will be undertaken to complete the triptych of designs, which explore the theoretical implications of theory and practice, artefact and text in relation to Archer’s model. The third design also provides a triangulation of the results in relation to the original design and second light design created for this research. The line of enquiry will conclude by returning to D=EQ. The artefact located at the starting point for this research. The logos of the logo is discussed, as are the results of the three case studies, in relation to what they reveal about the relationship between theory and practice, text and artefact. The conclusion is not an empirical finding. This thesis demonstrates the creation of a logo, a myth, and an innovative approach to addressing the theory practice relationship through the constructing of a practice led enquiry that experiments with the positioning of text and artefact in the design process. The results of the enquiry reveal that theory and practice in design have a difficult relationship but they are not opposites and that questions have a powerful influence on design. That exploring the logos of the logo of this study can further the design disciplines understanding of the relationship between theory and practice.
- University of Newcastle Research Higher Degree Thesis
- Resource Type
- Copyright 2012 Michael R. Dickinson