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UAL Research Online

Between Wit and Reason: Defining Associative, Speculative and Critical Design in Practice

Malpass, Matt (2013) Between Wit and Reason: Defining Associative, Speculative and Critical Design in Practice. Design and Culture, 5 (3). pp. 333-356. ISSN 1754-7075

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Type of Research: Article
Creators: Malpass, Matt

A growing number of designers employ design as a form of critique and speculation within disciplinary, scientific and societal frames. They share a critical perspective on the role of product design in society, recognizing the ability to construct publics on and around objects to mobilize debate. In doing this, critical designers challenge established discourse, institution, episteme, and present alternative roles for product design to those driven by technological and fiscal concerns. This interpretation of design counters hegemonic, optimistic notions of the field, aiming instead to legitimize and problematize alternate forms of design work.

The article addresses design’s critical practices with the aim of developing theoretical apparatus with which to further engage the design studies community in the discourse. The article draws on a set of in-depth conversational interviews with expert critical designers. Each has played a part in the development and theorization of the practice. The interviews were analyzed to identify salience in the participants’ perspectives on critical design.

From this analysis, satire, rationality, and narrative are identified as salient concepts in the operation of critical practices in design. They engage user audiences and establish the critical move through design. They also help differentiate between three types of critical practice. These types are defined in the article as associative, speculative, and critical design. They are structured into a taxonomic space by attending to the satiric devices used in each. This taxonomy provides theoretical apparatus to analyze and discuss critical practices in design.

Official Website: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/journal/design-and-culture/
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Bloomsbury
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 1 November 2013
Digital Object Identifier: 10.2752/175470813X13705953612200
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2013 09:50
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2015 16:40
Item ID: 6149
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/6149

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