Firstly, this Dunne and Raby piece was a fantastic overview of conceptual design as a whole. From the reason to being to the call to action at the end. I, for one, had a lot of fun looking into the aforementioned projects in varying fields. I love art and clever thought, as most do… but I found myself really caught up at the end of the chapter about the costs to create such work, both as it relates to money and time. This is not something that was lost on D&R and they stressed this, but I had lots of thoughts on the topic and want to trace through some examples that came to mind.
They touched a lot on markets of the varying design arenas driving demand for design that gets made, which makes sense. More specifically, in architecture, the conceptual “House IV” by Peter Eisenmen was only brought off paper by a wealthy fan of his work. The home was unsuitable in many respects, much like Frank Gehry’s work, but both architect’s visions were “brought off paper” (again and again) because of an appreciation of their domain and funding. Later, D&R mention Marcel Wander’s oversized objects that hinted at the future of design “until they were cut short by the global financial crash”. They touch on the bounds or industrial design, explaining that conceptual work only gets done by students, who have not matured as designers.
To add to this, I thought of the success of Warhol’s work in the 1960’s Post War America, or what is known as the “longest uninterrupted period of economic expansion in history” [source]. A more contemporary example of this is The Hirst Index, an infograhpic comparing the sale of Damien Hirst’s artwork to stock market values (by one of my favorite graphic designers, Kelli Anderson). The result of this is no surprise, aside from the shocking dollar amounts! I also thought about Alex Bogusky, of the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Bogusky left his namesake to work on Common.is & FearLess Revolution. His goal is to start a consumer revolution, or, in his words: ” to provide more transparency, more collaboration, more democracy, and ultimately more value.” Bugesky’s ventures are “conceptual” [or maybe “edgy”.. i don’t know] in part, and commendable in my book, but how convenient that funding these ventures was not an issue for someone with their name on a door of a well known firm.
This is a total ramble. I’m not worked up, but I more so confronting my own insecurities in the arena of “conceptual design”. As a student, it is obvious that my point of view on design and it’s possibilities/ethical concerns/future implications are much in development. I wonder though… while I am interested in Dunne & Raby’s CTA, if I could be held accountable. I, along with my peers are in a position to go out in the world, get jobs, and the odds are in favor of us getting a little caught up in life, bills, family, and so on. Neither course is more important course than the other in the end. I know it comes down to personal values and potentially, a calling(?). What we occupy ourselves with is a choice, and I think it would be daunting to have something to say and need to find money, something like “the artworld” support/ a venue, and time. I’m looking at it all from a very big picture, meta point of view (without a specific goal in mind), but I just found that I was really intimidated at the end of this article.
I guess what I’m trying to say is… this is a huge mountain, I don’t know the way up, some people seem to have a gondola pass, but I don’t know if I will want to embark at all when it is within reach.