Research Reading #2

25 Jan

Method Designing: The Paradox of Modern Design Education

By: Jessica Helfand

  • Konstantin Stanislavsky revolutionized modern theatre by introducing a new system of training: actor would draw on his or her own emotions to achieve an understanding of a character
  • Method Acting: actor would explore, identify, and reveal degree to which a character could be a complex human being with feelings, emotions and conflicting desires
  • It is an appropriate system or educating designers
  • How to teach discipline and promote invention?
  • Conditions in which students today are expected to “make work” gives a cause for concern
  • In acting, if you could achieve honesty, your performance would resonate with a kind of pitch perfect humanity, had a better chance of engaging your audience (Which is also the designer’s goal)
  • Observation: allow students to appropriate some part of method acting: part that glorifies feeling and celebrates vanity; amplifies personal memory & replays it as objective truth; it’s extremely subjective
  • Good news: produces designers that can think for themselves, identifying a method in which becomes evident through work produced, to seek references beyond obvious (richness of sources testifies an ability to engage a larger universe)
  • Bad news: consequence of seeking validation elsewhere, there is a usual bias towards false identity: student after looking at so much art believes he/she making art
  • Student in being true to themselves distance themselves from from a more universal truth
  • The persistent evidence of impenetrable personal work in design schools across America is a serious epidemic, resulting in a kind of method designing that erroneously treats sentiment as substance
  • Must teach students to ask harder questions, to solve harder problems, to keep inventing better worlds, and be true to themselves
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