- Design is always about crafting the possibility space through form, structure, permissions, features, and feedback loops. What we build, and how we decide to build it creates conditions for the political and cultural options that will happen next. When an existing system of explicit or implied rules is transgressed, new possibility spaces emerge from the rupture, unplanned for by the original designer. As Cade says "Technology inherits the politics of its authors, but almost all technology can be harnessed in ways that transcend these frameworks."
- A review of the exhibition "Hello, Robot: Design Between Human and Machine" ruminates on the role of designers in making robots relatable. The article overstates the pace of change in robotic capabilities, but the larger call to designers to think carefully about the outcomes of their actions in the context of automated systems is a good one.
- Mike Monteiro's take on the design industry's current state of bad methodologies and dire consequences. We agree with much of what he says (the endless focus on speed is bad for design, and bad for everyone who has to deal with the products of careless, rushed design), but the call for professionalizing the work through a gated system is more difficult to implement in a responsible way that rises above empty promises and gatekeeping.
- Costume designer Ruth Clark's research driven approach to developing the look of characters in Black Panther.
Up in the Air:
- The density of human activity in cities leads to much of what we value about them: easy access to cultural interchange, efficient systems of transportation, the rapid reproduction and remixing of new ideas. Unfortunately for health, that same density, combined with dirty, old technologies means the air in urban environments is polluted to the point of being seriously harmful. Cars and trucks are obviously big contributors to poor air quality, but recent research indicates other petroleum-containing consumer products (paints, perfumes, cleaning solutions) account for a large share of volatile organic compounds.
- Tesla Motors has struggled with both quantity and quality of production for their Model 3, but many customers have been tolerant of issues with fit and function.
- "Malls are prisons for commerce, but at least the commerce stays inside them. You can leave again." Ian Bogost with a fairly sprawling take on the growth and decline of malls, and the peculiar model of consumer society they represented for suburban life. He contrasts the physically rooted relationship of tangible goods in malls with the infinite sprawl of social media attention markets, filled with symbols fabricated through the digitized, networked labor of our own making.
More next week.