You are currently browsing jeffreybardzell’s articles.

A walk on the lighter side… The Onion has Francis Ford Coppola astoundingly reveal that all three Godfather films take place in the same narrative universe.

“I did a similar thing having Carlo’s death in The Godfather carry over into the next two films,” Coppola continued. “You’ll notice he doesn’t show up in any of the others. That’s because he’s still dead in this one continuous storyline. […] It’s subtle, but once you pick up on a detail like this, you’ll start to notice many other little connections.”,35423/


This is Liam Bannon of Bannon & Bødker fame from Foundations.

So, er, don’t fuck up!

It is not the point of this class to be experts on typography or Hong Kong cinema–but to be critical in your design thinking.

I included these two writings as things for you to read as writers, for you to model your own critical practices on.

Things to note as writers:

  • What is the structure of a critical piece?
  • What conclusions are drawn?
  • What are the central claims being made?
  • Who is the audience for these articles, and how are they supposed to use these articles?
  • How does this contrast with scientific writing, e.g., the writeup of an empirical study?

Things to note as critical thinkers:

  • What sorts of evaluations are made? What values and dis-values are identified? (Also: descriptions, classifications, elucidations, etc.)
  • What sorts of details are pointed to as evidence?
  • What kind of background, contextual, historical, and other scholarly information is available to the critics, and how do they leverage it?

So this is mostly a gag post, because I ended up observing Nathan (read his post which is actually good! )

Nathan and the machine!

The thought I have is a question about critical design (which needs a lot more fleshing out).  Is bad design considered critical design? I mean, it does not fit the bill of problem setting, but it does make me (or Nathan or Denique or most people who have used the damn machine) reflect and think about the interaction. Mainly how bad it is, and more importantly, it makes me think about how things can be better. Isn’t that one of the goals of critical design? to make us think beyond the boundaries?

Again..this is not a serious post!

In class today I mentioned Testadura, Danto’s imaginary “hard head” who doesn’t understand art at all. If he sees a painting, he just sees a canvas with paint on it.

So the thought experiment is: What would Testadura have to say about Drift Table?

I have looked up some additional info about the various Brillo boxes that we talked about, and I thought it would be good to lay them all out here.

  • Brillo box, the original commercial soap box design, was designed by Abstract Expressionist painter Steve Harvey.
  • Brillo Box, the sculpture by Andy Warhol (1964)
  • Brillo Box as part of an exhibition entitled, Not Andy Warhol, and sometimes called Not Brillo Box, a sculpture by appropriationist artist Mike Bidlo

So we can refer to these as Harvey’s Brillo box, Warhol’s Brillo Box, and Bidlo’s Not Brillo Box if we want.

Brillo Boxes

Whose are these anyway? Can someone bring a forklift and get this backstock off the floor?!

Incidentally, I tried very hard to find any information about the painter Steven Harvey. He does not appear to have a Wikipedia page; there is a studio bearing that name in NYC (I don’t know whether it is connected), and there are a bunch of paintings that don’t at all look like what I would expect from an abstract expressionist. So if anyone finds a resource on this guy, let me know and I will link it.

Imagine that you want to visually render something, but in an abstract way. How would you abstract it?

I stumbled upon this page, which offers a visual inventory of different techniques that painters have used to abstract their subjects. Spend even 3-4 minutes on this page, and you’ll probably be surprised at the variety of techniques available and extremely diverse effects they achieve. It’s pretty cool.

Hahahahahahaha whoops! That was certainly a fun reading! Hey, OneStart says all 15 people dropped IC. Must be a bug!

OK, here is a little bit of free Jeff in your pocket to help with this long and difficult reading:

  • What are some of the main points he’s making?
  • What does “aesthetics” mean in general? He says that aesthetics is “relational.” Relational between what and what? (Note: sets of relations add up to a “structure”)
  • What does “design aesthetics” mean in particular?
  • How does Folkmann’s notion of “aesthetics” differ from what we typically associate with design aesthetics (e.g., style, slickness, surface)?
  • What is the epistemological role of aesthetics?
  • Vocabulary check: phenomenology, hermeneutics, taste, ambience, “ungraspable surplus of meaning,” hyperreal, aestheticization, … others?
  • What are the relationships among perception, meaning, (aesthetic) codes, experience?
  • What was the point with each of the design examples?
  • When we talk about design “meaning,” what are we talking about?

Chair” in italics refers to the French word for “flesh.” When you see it, he’s talking about flesh, not things you sit on.

I might edit this more, but it’s a start for now.


Read the rest of this entry »

At the very end of Nelson & Stolterman’s chapter on desiderata, the authors conclude:

Desiderata, as the initiator of design action and designed change, are the intentional links between human capacity and human achievement. They are the enabling sources of guidance for intentional human evolvement. Design is the change of evolution into an intentionally directed process rather than a consequence of necessity, luck, or accident. Reactive triggers to change—such as fear, hate, hurt, humiliation, anger, distress, and need—drain energy and hope from human potential. Desiderata create energy, and hope, fueling the generative capacity of humans individually and collectively. Desiderata reflect the innate human understanding that the world is not complete as it is. Desiderata make design possible and necessary.

Reading that out of context all sounds well and good, and I can imagine everyone is nodding in agreement about this. (Me too.)

But here is my challenge. How does this square with the numerous design accounts we have read in the past two weeks? The squid in the cafe? The building by the water? The Pompidou Center as a “giant erector set”?

Are Nelson & Stolterman describing how design actually is practiced by anyone? Are they instead proposing a normative view, a “vision” (*ahem*) of what design ought to be? I haven’t thought deeply about this, but I guess I have problems no matter which way we answer this question.

Welcome 2014 Interaction Culture bloggers! I thought I would write here to break the ice and welcome everyone. Please use this space as a playground for ideas, a place to ask questions, to bitch and to moan, to link the awesome stuff you find on the interwebz that relates in some way to this class, to drop your favorite quotes from the readings, and so on.

Also, when you post, please categorize and tag your post. This is really important! You can find categorization and tagging tools at the right side of the New Post / Edit Post screen when you are blogging.

I’ll share two quotes that I found striking from today’s reading, bolding the parts that I find especially intriguing.

First, from Dunne & Raby:

Now, a younger generation doesn’t dream, it hopes: it hopes that we will survive, that there will be water for all, that we will be able to feed everyone, that we will not destroy ourselves. But we are optimistic…. [Now] is a perfect time to revisit our social dreams and ideals and design’s role in facilitating alternative visions rather than defining them. Of being a catalyst rather than a source of visions…. But to do this, we need more pluralism in design, not of style but of ideology and values.

And here is a more cheerful, but still engaging, one from Crampton Smith:

However, after twenty years of drawing on existing expressive languages [e.g., graphic design, film, product design], we [interaction designers] now need to develop an independent language of interaction with “smart” systems and devices, a language true to the medium of computation, networks, and telecommunications. In terms of perceptual psychology, we’re starting to understand the functional limits of interaction between people and devices or systems: speed of response, say, or the communicative capacity of a small screen. But at the symbolic level of mood and meaning, of sociability and civility, we haven’t quite acheived the breathtaking innovativeness, the subtlety and intuitive “rightness” of Eisenstein’s language of montage.

Juicy juicy.

Are we up for this?