nwsad Critical Studies


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Steven Heller on Aldous Huxley


“His Brave New World Revisitedadds a page to Marshall McLuhan, so to speak, since it addresses many of the pitfalls, pratfalls and slow-burns of modern media manipulation. From brainwashing and chemical addiction to the devious selling arts to the black science of propaganda. If you don’t have the time to read the book, here is one of Huxley’s most interesting portions on propaganda, literacy and capitalism. Over fifty years old, it still rings some bells.”


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drawing as a research methodology


“In my thesis research and development semester, our teacher offered us a methodology for making, to get us to jump off that tentative cliff of “where do I start?” With our thesis ideas freshly hatched we came up with five related key concepts (a few words that would supplement our main idea) and then just started drawing, and drawing. And drawing. We drew those key concepts twelve times, for a total of 60 drawings. Then we brought them into the computer, vectorized them, and combined them through various steps. Then we combined again. And again. Then we did this whole process over again with found images. Then we combined the vector art with the images. Then we combined again. Then we whittled down. And through this system we developed three posters.”

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mini docu

another interesting doc, responding to something in the guardian- citizen journalism!


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popular history blog


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audio slidehows


Interested in exploring the ‘visual essay’ aspect of putting together a presentation. Its all in the edit, as with any good essay. What you leave out, what order you put everything in, and what emphasis you give certain ideas….


http://www.soundslides.com/ (free demo, tho costs $39)

these are good too-



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‘Ethnographic’ design

“Ethnography is a research method based on observing people in their natural environment rather than in a formal research setting.”

interesting article by Andrew Baluvelt

Filed under: Journal article

Design and Memory

Designs are like dreams. Any search for a single interpretation of its signs and symbols will only result in a stilted or highly affected reading. It is more important to ask why a particular work has sought our attention now. Such questions help us become aware of how we continually read meaning retroactively into a design.”

Design Observer  article by Kerry William Purcell  , ‘The Art of Psychographics’

Filed under: Journal article

Steve Braund on illustration/fine art

It is important to understand that fine art has a very well established

critical framework and illustration doesn’t. This may be the main

reason for illustration struggling for some kind of recognition.

Illustration hasn’t been properly subjected to critical analysis and

theoretical examination, and sadly a huge proportion of

illustrators’ practices wouldn’t stand up to the rigorous critical

examination that fine artists are used to.”

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John Thackera on what designers should research


John Thackera :

“I was invited by the Design Research Society to speak at their symposium in Birmingham, UK. Their theme: 2050 and All That.

So first I did a quick scamper through Peak Everything: peak climate, peak biodiversity, peak oil, peak food, peak water, peak credit and so on; I touched on Adbusters’ notions of a Doomsday Machine Economy and True Cost Economics; and I repeated my proposition that we are all emerging economies now.

For part 2 of my talk, I tabled two keywords that I find work well in re-framing our situation as “terrible — but not hopeless.” The first word was catagenesis which means “renewal through reversion to a simpler state — followed by the emergence of a novel form of society.” The second word was resilience which means (in the words of Transition Towns) “the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance, and reorganize, while undergoing change.” I concluded this second part of my talk with the proposition that design research needs to evolve from a human-centered to an all-of-life-centered activity.”

click to see what they are

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