Okay, let me start this off by saying I have never read a paper that had so many run-on sentences in my life. My English teacher in high school would have been questioning Folkman about his sanity.
In the beginning parts of the paper, I had to read it over and over again to at least get a grip on what he was trying to say. He had points, but it was as if he was so excited about those points, he threw fancy word after fancy word to give it a grand entrance, but all the fanciness made me look over it.
I will say though that I did see good instances of him doing the ‘Glerb, not Glerb’ technique (HCI/d insider!). In the midst of the paper, I was saying to myself, “Okay, what exactly are you trying to do here? Preach?” As soon as I finished that sentence, I read this statement:
“The purpose of pointing back to the philosophical concept of aesthetics is not to employ a philosophical, conceptual discourse to establish the “true” meaning of the word aesthetic to define it once and for all, an impossible task given the heterogeneity of the concept.” (pg. 4)
I was impressed! So naturally, my next question would be, “So what are you trying to do?” and not too long after, I received my answer:
“I pursue the directions that a contemporary design aesthetics may take if it is serious about being an aesthetics specific to design and not to art, the classic topic of romantic and modern aesthetic theory.” (pg. 4)
I thank Folkman because really, had he not placed those quotes in the paper, I would have truly been lost during the whole read.
Honestly, when Jeff assigned this, I had a feeling that sooner or later, Folkman would mention something about Dewey (honestly, if he didn’t I wouldn’t have acknowledged the paper at all). To me, it seems like this person is strong Deweyian, but then he reveals to be a ‘Shustermanist’, but I guess that’s close enough.
One thing I will applaud Folkman for doing is providing pictures of works of art and gives us model examples of how to phenomenologically reflect on a given design, not just by the way it looks, but what the designer’s intentions were when they created the work. Giving that example, I understand what he is trying to emphasize to the audience instead of trying to interpret from his long dialogues what he means.
The graph that was on page 40 stopped me for a moment to really understand, from my standpoint what it was trying to say. When I first looked at it, I honestly didn’t think of it from an aesthetic standpoint but at first related it to a scientific stance since I’ve done science much longer than HCI/d. For example, in the challenging discourse quadrant, scientists use that area for discovering new methods that might not be comprehended as of yet (a new law, a new theory, etc.). Once I’ve gained that understanding, reading the rest of the passage became clear to me. I feel like maybe the author should have used more examples to guide the readers better in the beginning, especially talking about a field that he himself stated “…can even be annoying to designers…” (pg. 3) I will say however that this is the only read that has ever persuaded me to download an app to see what the QR was for. Kudos to Folkman!