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(Disclaimer, this is a Midnight rant:)

There was a sentence in the Reading Critical Designs paper that says:

“What sorts of categorizations, associations, questions, insights, norms, judgments, etc,. should be part of a critical designer’s hermeneutical toolkit? (pdf p 3)

Did anyone else feel uncomfortable with this phrasing of the critical designer? It seems to me that as designers, we should always be striving to do critical design, and non critical design. Why make the distinction? I don’t think this is the same as calling myself an interaction designer vs an experience designer. All design is political in a way, it makes a stance, whether it is to maintain the status quo, or propose new futures, expand boundaries, create tensions, make us think, for efficiency sake, for pleasure, etc etc.  So shouldn’t we be always doing critical design out of morals in order to better serve our users and ourselves (I really like that in this paper they say design “our futures”).

(I will think about this more later)

I was wondering what perspective of a designer is intended to be the reader in this paper.  It seemed to me to be Industrial Designers.  I’m not really clear how this relates to the current terms of Interaction Designers and [User] Experience designers.

From a little bit of research, it looks like this was taken from “Designerly Ways of Knowing” by Nigel Cross in 2007.  Perhaps IxD (Interaction Design) and UX (User Experience [Design]) were less prevalent terms at this time?  It just seemed like there was a big emphasis on studies involving Engineers and Industrial Designers.  No mention was really made about UX or IxD.

I’m a bit unsure with how I should approach these readings. For example, chungking express reading I was really taken with what he was writing and pretty much just found myself lost within it (lost in a good way). Should I be stepping back and really trying to categorize his review through description, contextualization, elucidation, etc.? Or is it okay to get lost in the flow?

When I first read the title and how the movie came about, I immediately thought that it must be just like Kung Pow: Enter the Fist.  It definitely caused me to roll my eyes initially.  After all, how could a movie essentially made on a whim have any real acclaim or substance?  I was definitely very wrong.  This paper on the movie legitimately made me want to go and watch the movie.  The critique was just dripping with juiciness and left me a little lost, honestly.  It was enthralling, but I really had no context to go off of without having seen the movie.  I think the confusion also came from the fact that this movie has a lot of overlapping features: people named the same, story lines that overlap, and just my general unfamiliarity with the names/characters.

One quote that really stuck out to me (related to this) as interesting about the film was the following assessment by the author:

“It is possible to see this frequent doubling of women as a misogynistic flattening, suggesting that all women are ultimately interchangeable, but since it’s true of the men in Chungking Express as well, something else seems to be going on, something about the fluidity of individual identity.”

From the reading (and having not seen the movie), it seemed that this was the pervading theme throughout the entire movie.  I think this speaks incredibly highly of the director.  The circumstances under the production of this movie seem really thrown together, but the execution and the details that the director put into the film seem to be so deliberate and precise.  I think it’s part of what is drawing me to the movie.  The fact that there are so many instances of crossing over and dual plot/stories seems fascinating.  It also seems like it could get very tedious, but since I have already read this critique, I think I would know what to expect ahead of time (at least a little bit).

One other thing that I am curious about, that seemed to me to be a parallel with another movie we previewed was the fact that there is mention constantly throughout the critique of innovative uses of images and sound.  I immediately thought of a parallel or something similar to Run Lola Run.  For those who may have seen it (I am guessing perhaps only Jeff?) is this the case?  That was one of the things (among MANY) that drew me into Run Lola Run.  The soundtrack and interesting visual elements in the movie kept me hooked the whole movie.  This may be partly due to my affinity with the techno/trance/euro genre music, but take that as you will…

While reading the “Defining the Issues: An Overview” chapter, I couldn’t help but find myself thinking back to a documentary I watched called “The Science of Sex Appeal”.  There was one thing that stuck out to me about this.  The movie presented a “challenge”, if you will, to the quote, “The beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  The research that they did during the particular segment that I was watching was on the face of a person.  Basically what they found was that the more “symmetrical” your face was, the more physically attractive you were as a person.  Apparently everyone starts out symmetrical in the face, but as you grow in the womb, you are sometimes pressed against the walls, causing minor changes to the symmetric nature of your face.

Image

Photo taken from a screenshot of Netflix.

From what I remember of the whole movie (and from re-reading the synopsis), this movie attempts to take a hard scientific approach to understanding sexual attraction (and in a broader sense “beauty”).  It’s just interesting to me to take such an approach.  I guess there could be potential benefits of finding the attractiveness of someone, but for me personally, I wouldn’t want to ever scientifically evaluate how attractive another person is.  Baumgarten’s definition of aesthetics, I think, fits really well here, “…a science of beauty based upon sense perception” (pp. 4).  Sure, initially I might be attracted to a certain type of person, but as time goes on and you get to know a person, the definition of “beauty” and “attractiveness” of that person will shift and change.  Long-term beauty and attractiveness, for me at least, will always shape and grow.  Your love for another person will change and shape based on the experiences you have with that person.  A definition that will be under constant change and revision.  I don’t think that the author really talked about this, but perhaps it’s just that I observed something that would occur over more time, rather than after initial perceptions.  Granted, the author was specifically talking about art for some of this work and not a person’s attraction to another person.

We’ll talk about phenomenology and film today, especially via the readings from Prince and Kracauer. See you at 2:30!