Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Guerilla Art Project...??

My topic for my Guerilla art project is Worldwide Water Contamination. My idea for the project was to design stickers to "attack" friends and peers water bottles with a fact about water contamination and a link to as well as where to purchase a water bottle koozie and reusable water bottle I would also design. The profits for the koozies and bottles can go directly to through an individual fundraiser program they assist. HOWEVER...I have been thinking and thinking about this and finding other forms of guerilla art and I find my idea to lack substance and effectiveness. So, my additional idea is to set up a "station" somehwere on campus to provide students with water. I will have five bins of water bottles...four of the bins will be water bottles filled with "dirty" water and be labeled with a contaminate with the name of a place in the worl with the top water contamination deaths. Then the last bin will have "clean" water bottles sold for a dollar with the information I originally provided. I will also have quarter sheets of my stickers for people to take for free and "guerilla attack" their friends bottles. All proceeds beyond cost will go to my account with


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New York Times

So this will be a combination of two papers that I have...Friday the 4th and Tuesday the 8th.
Fridays Paper:
A headline on the front page reads, For Poor, Firefighters Are Health Care Brigade. This article grabbed my eye because my father is a retired fire fighter of over 40 years. It wasn't until I was older when I learned that he was also a paramedic and responded to some of the most horrific medical calls, not just involving fires. The article touches on the health care crisis and it's affect on a firefighter's duty. "About 80 percent of the calls handled are medical emergencies because [Engine Company 10] serves one of the city's poorest areas, where few residents have health insurence..." Drug addiction, violent crimes and the increase in homeless people are also leading factors to the career change for firefighters. I feel like this issue is bigger than just firefighters and is just another example of how the health care crisis is affecting more than it's patients. On the plus side, fires are happening less thanks to new consumer protection laws and fireproofing technology, so medical emergencies are helping keep firefighters employed.

In other reports, back-to school sales are down, swine flu has killed 36 childern thus far, and global warming has significantly dettered an ice age inthe not so near future.

Tuesdays Paper:
I had planned on using this post to be taken from rather than the paper, however the front page of this issue was heart wrenching. A skeletal arm reaches out a canteen of water to a decreped looking woman in Kenya. The headline, Lush Land Dries Up, Withering Kenya's Hopes is a precautious introduction to the disturbing article. A devastating draught is sweeping across Kenya, killing lovestock, crops and children. It is causing high tension and deadly battles between once connected communities over the last pieces of fertile land. What's sad, is the Kenya is one of the most developed countries in Africa and houses the most UN offices as well as aid workers. It's another step back for aid workers in the country which were hopeful that Kenya was on the brink of a success story. The northern lands of Kenya have taken the hardest hit, many areas haven't seen a drop of rain in years and residents are relying on cacti and pig feed as a source of food, and because much of the country relies on hydropower for electricity, many go without power. The gonvernemnt conflicts with recent elections isn't helping matters and it seems as though Kenya is falling through it's own cracks of its arid land.

Other matters of interest in this issue: experts cite alternatives for the fight in Afghanistan, fewer flyers sent home from schools as they are being posted on the web, aa new computer program offeres fast help for HIV exposure, and cinnamon oil kills bacteria!

RECYCLE FUN: roll or crumble news papers for insulation or dog bed stuffing!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Project Runway

What did I learn about design from this episode?
What did I learn about the creative process?
What did I learn about the design process?
What observations did I make?
Considering how the various contestents interacted with/reacted to/responded to the judges, I thought...
Which contestent do I indentift with?
Which contestents do I like the most?
Which contestents do I dislike the most?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Defining Social Design

Without doing any research before hand, I feel social design is the use of art and design to try and make a positive change so social issues locally, nationally and worldwide...

While googling "what is social design", I came across Design 21 (later mentioned in my D&SE class). It is a social design network that is in partnership with UNESCO, an organization if followed for a long time for research. Design 21’s commitment is to improve life through social design. Their mission statement is a great definition of ‘social design’: “Social Design Network's mission is to inspire social activism through design. We connect people who want to explore ways design can positively impact our many worlds, and who want to create change here, now.” On the homepage of their website they have two tabs for browsing, “social theme” and “design theme”. While searching under the convenience of the social them list, I came across an interesting design for poverty:

Bus Shelter House
Poverty, Environmental Design
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Problem: Designing emergency shelters for the displaced or homeless people in urban environments. Some city benches discourage sleeping with designs that are intentionally uncomfortable.
Client: Prototype
Designers: Sean Godsell Architects

Solution: A bus shelter that converts into an emergency overnight accommodation. The bench lifts to reveal a woven steel mattress and the advertising hoarding is modified to act as a dispenser of blankets, food, and water. It also acts as a small gallery space where art can be exhibited. The shelter has the potential to be solar powered and its glass roof and back double as a digital projection screen.

I live in downtown Baltimore and come across homeless people everyday. Camps are set up outside of churches, huddles are made near steam vents, children wash windshields at red lights for cash. I think people living on the streets is something urban America needs to accept, especially with the economy the way it is today. Rather than shunning it, this design team embraces the reality of city living and accommodates for it’s victims while still being aseptically pleasing and environmentally friendly. This is a great display of social design because the solution is positive in more than one social theme.
I feel anyone can be a social designer at heart. When a person watches the news, passes a problem while taking a walk, or confronting an issue in the work place and thinks of an improvement that cant be made to the problem, he/she is already started the process of social design thinking. It takes a strong willed and creative person to execute the ideas, but he/she doesn’t need to be an expert. Dan Phillips, who I have previously mentioned in my blog, was featured in the New York Times recently. He is a dancer, an instructor and more recently a self-taught carpenter helping people in need build their very own house out of recycled materials. The concept is so simple, it’s genius. His resources are found in landfills and nature, resources any person can use. He is a great example of an average person turned social designer.

Overall, I believe my original definition to be dead on, but vague. Social design has so many themes, issues, intentions and can start from anywhere or anyone who wants to make an improvement to the quality of life. It can be executed by the bare minimum of materials or new resources being created by social designers themselves. I believe that social design has become a much needed trend in the art world and most designers are leaning towards social design rather than personal or corporate design. It has become a necessity in improving our world.

Design Skills

What is 'design thinking'?
"We believe design thinking is a catalyst for innovations and bringing new things into the world."
Design thinking is the glue that holds the community together. Having worked with hundreds of organizations to design products, services, and environments, we believe true innovation happens when strong multidisciplinary groups come together, build a collaborative culture, and explore the intersection of their different points of view. Many talk about multi-disciplinary collaboration, but few are actually successful at sustaining attempts to see what will happen. Even strong partners often lose interest because they cannot get along well enough or long enough to see the fruits of the collaboration. We believe having designers in the mix is key to success in multidisciplinary collaboration and critical to uncovering unexplored areas of innovation. Designers provide a methodology that all parties can embrace and a design environment conducive to innovation. In our experience, design thinking is the glue that holds these kinds of communities together and makes them successful.
-Stanford Institute of Design (a portion of their Big Picture)
I really like Stanfords IoD statement in describing their approach to design thinking. Although it's not a definition, they focus the term on collaboration between designers and design teams. They also expand out to other parties to build a community of innovators. I think collaboration is a huge part of design thinking, but is also something that needs to be learned and practiced in order to produce a successful design process. 
As with design, there’s probably no one definition of design thinking everyone will agree on. The word design can refer to nouns such as designers, physical products, and style. The word can be a verb, as in process, create, and make. For example, Charles Burnette in his IDeSiGN curriculum calls it, “…a process of creative and critical thinking that allows information and ideas to be organized, decisions to be made, situations to be improved, and knowledge to be gained."Lately many more people are talking and writing about the application of design thinking to intangible problems, design not only as a verb but as a way of — as Herbert Simon wrote — improving situations. I felt a need to review what has been said and define the term for myself before I could put it into use. Ways of thinking are always difficult to define, but I’m reminded of how Lao Tzu said “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao” yet he still managed to write a book about it.Based on a review of writing on the topic, I have synthesized for myself what I understand design thinking to be…
•Collaborative, especially with others having different and complimentary experience, to generate better work and form agreement
•Abductive, inventing new options to find new and better solutions to new problems
•Experimental, building prototypes and posing hypotheses, testing them, and iterating this activity to find what works and what doesn’t work to manage risk
•Personal, considering the unique context of each problem and the people involved
•Integrative, perceiving an entire system and its linkages
•Interpretive, devising how to frame the problem and judge the possible solutions
I’m sure one could play with the language and categorization to find more or less characteristics, but I’m happy with just those six.
 -Noise Between Stations, website
I also liked the way this site described design thinking in more of a process. It starts with collaboration and the thinking continues until the problem is solved and executed. They also touched on being personal with design and I think that is a major part of design thinking...without it there would be no passion to design.

What is it meant by 'design skills'?
To me, design skills can be classified in three ways: cognitive, perceptual and motor.
  • Cognitive: requires thought process. This would be the skills to look at an issue or a problem and think and/or collaborate on how it can be solve using design. Design requires communication with other designers, companies, clients and citizens. I feel designers/artists have a unique cognitive skill than any other field, because we think with visualizations, inspirations, personal experiences and foundation knowledge.
  • Perceptual: This is the skill of taking what's in your mind, and placing it onto paper. Interpreting what someone says, collaboration, the human senses and presented information and excecuting it in a visual manner.
  • Motor: This is the physical skill of design skills, the practice practice practice of using tools to create a physical design. The movement and muscle control to create something and also the physical and mental stamina is takes in the design process.

What is creativity?
Wow, that's like asking a neurosurgeon what the central nervous system does! Creativity to me, is the core of an artist/designer. Without it, well, you wouldn't make it in the field. It's innovation, motivation, the ability to turn a vision into something real, the ability to expand ideas and solutions into other fields. It's a drive inside every artist to express something, whether is be a feeling, a problem, a solution, a visual or an improvement. It's courage and the willingness to fail, be wrong, confused, hated, stupid, insane, and weird. "It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.", Edward De Bono. Creativity is to blame for inventions, history and technology. Without it there would be chaos..."Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order", Virginia Woolf.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New York Times

I HATE reading newspapers with a passion so this assignment given in my "Design like you give a damn" course is guna be a stretch. Why do I hate papers? I can never fold them back correctly and always hit myself in the face with them. City Paper is my expection (a single fold paper BTW). So I'm going to be a strictly online news type of gal...Thank goodness for todays issue to start me off right...
My Knight in Shining Garbage Bags!
In the Home & Garden section the article "One Man's Trash..." Dan Phillips, who is 64! constructs houses and its components out of trash! Gross? NO! Gorgeous! Lately I have had a few ideas myself about doing such projects on a smaller scale and what an inspiration, never heard of the guy until tonight but I will follow his work.
As a virgin paper reader, reading beyond this article was a bore. I generally keep my opinions on politics to myself and steer my passions as far away from that "P" word as possible. I did dabble through the other sections but lost focus and am going to sketch...

RECYCLE FUN: cover wooden picture frames ($1 Michaels) and coat with 1/3 water and 2/3 tacky glue mixture for a corky-vintage look.