Again Jeff, I’m going to say that I wish this reading had been done earlier. We’ve talked a lot about critical design this semester, but we’ve never gotten down to the nitty-gritty about how it is done and why people should care. Also, sometimes when I personally see a critical design, I try to read it as is just because I’m a person that takes everything as it is and doesn’t try to look deep into my soul and figure out what the deep meaning is. Critical designs are a big issue for me because when I see it, I try to interpret it in the eyes of the user, but the design itself could have so much meaning, it hurts my head. When you set up the values for grading the design as ‘critical’–identify, situate, and isolate–I started reflecting back on all of the critical designs that we looked at this semester. Now that I see them, I can appreciate them as critical designs rather than designs for release into the market.
When you incorporated the Porcupine dress and broke down as to why it is a critical design, I really appreciated it. At the start of the semester, I saw it and thought, ‘Eww, why the heck would any sane woman want to buy this?’ Now that I’ve read your paper ‘What is Critical About Critical Design?’ I can actually sit back and contemplate. I no longer see it as a fashion statement, but I see it as a critical design that is trying to tell me something. Even with Teddy Bear Blood Bag Radio, I at first thought that is was a way to start turning into sadists, but from a critical standpoint, it’s like ‘Ooohh!!’. Knowing what it is and knowing how to read it let’s me have great insights about why it’s made rather than what it is. I absolutely loved the breakdown for the Teddy Bear Blood Bag Radio that you give around the end of the paper. You expressed points that on the surface I would have never thought of like ‘Using alternate energy sources is presented as something for children to do; it is not just an ‘adult’ problem.’ This statement could be up for debate, but for the most part, I definitely agree, especially when I don’t see it without the critical standpoint.
Overall, I will agree with your central point in this paper: critical designs needs some kind of structure or form of being able to read into the critical designs. Critical designs need to defamiliarize us with what we see as shocking designs for the market world and introduce us to the critical world instead. Not only does it need to introduce us to this concept, it needs to explain to us what the central argument is for designer who made it for the audience. There are points of TBBBR that I never would have thought of because I used to think that it only brought up one central point instead of have various points to take its shape and form. I, as the audience and a designer, need to learn to be able to read into and receive the message and not let the market obstruct my view of what is being said to me.