"Design needs to be plugged into human behaviour. Design dissolves in behaviour."
Desire Paths are visible as traces of use or wear that signpost preferred methods of interaction, be that with object or environment (including the body). The implicit claim is that they represent an unbiased indication of our authentic response and suggest frequency of real-world engagement. They show up as patterns and deviations, experienced in all aspects of our daily lives and have the capacity to affect and shape our ideas. They are seen in such diverse contexts as urban planning, time-worn interiors and through appropriation of social media platforms, emerging also through ways in which we respond to the garments we wear and the objects we use. They make explicit our intuitive desires for speed, ease, comfort, novelty and beauty.
Though a concept born in the physical world, Desire Paths may also be interpreted as metaphor for anarchism, viewed as evidence of deviation, an "inability or unwillingness to do what we’re told" (Moor) or a "record of collective disobedience" (Ballard). They may be an inherent or learned aspect of individual creativity, or emerge through "the wisdom of crowds" (Surowiecki, 2004) and have the capacity to express essential values beyond borders and disciplines.
Such traces sit at the intersection of design and user experience and offer a mindset for approaching new product and experience development. As a studio we will also work to explore implications and opportunities afforded by such a mindset in relation to the structure and narrative of writing. Nomadic thought and the principles of the rhizome may be useful concepts to help identify and develop a dissertation topic that responds to your authentic self. The aim is to underpin a practice that produces experiences that serve, empower and enchant through audience encounters, facilitate outcomes that resonate with human needs and create emotional connection with us as human beings. Could this approach work to inform your creative practice?
Seminar weeks will model the identification, research and development of a dissertation topic, before moving into individual tutorials. You will experience each other as a valuable resource in testing areas of interest, and in developing the confidence to identify and set up primary research experiences (with due consideration of any Covid-19 related restrictions). Through readings, short pieces of writing, talks, exhibitions, site visits and the sharing of ideas and research findings, this studio aims to elicit what is important to you, contributing to your strategic thinking, a more sustainable practice and creative success in the process.
View, visit, read
- Faces of Frida Google Arts and Culture – history, art and culture – portraits, clothes, home, places, letters, impact – online exhibits, editorial features and video.
- The Hidden City - Emile Holba – Culture Mile – Series of online photography exhibitions – a showcase of the everyday creativity that takes place behind the scenes, across the City.
- London Design Festival 2020 – London 12–20 September 2020 – Series of Projects, Commissions, Exhibitions still available online.
- Design Museum Design Dispatches – April 2020 to present time, an ongoing series (17+) of video conversations across disciplines (interior design, architecture, visual communication, fashion, industrial/product design).
- Beazley Designs of the Year 2020 Design Museum – Semester 1 visit (Week tbc, in person if possible) "... innovative designs across fashion, architecture, digital, transport, product and graphic design … from January 2019 to the moment global attention shifted in late January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold."
- Ballard, S, Z Joyce, L Muller, 'FCJ-20’, in: Networked Utopias (Issue 20, p.6)
- Batra, R, C, Seifert, D, Brei (eds), The psychology of design: creating consumer appeal (Routledge, 20
- Benz, P, Experience Design, (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)
- Chapman, Jonathan, Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences, and Empathy, (London: Earthscan, 2005)
- Ingold, T, Making: anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture (London: Routledge, 2013)
- Irvine, William B, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, (Oxford University Press, 2006)
- Moor, R, Tracing (and erasing) New York’s Lines of Desire, The New Yorker (20 February, 2017)
- Norman, Donald A, Living with Complexity, (MIT Press, 2011)
- Papanek, Victor, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, (Thames and Hudson, 1985)
- Pezeu-Massabuau, Jacques, A Philosophy of Discomfort, (Reaktion Books, 2012)
- Rose, David, Enchanted Objects: Innovation, Design, and the Future of Technology (2014)
- Schroeder, Timothy, Three Faces of Desire, (Oxford University Press, 2004)
- Schwartzman, Madeline, See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (London: Black Dog Pub, 2011)
- Surowiecki, J, The Wisdom of Crowds (Doubleday, 2004)
Studio image by Heidi Yeo. Banner: Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (3), video still (detail), 2019
Dissertation Studios 2020–21
Studio 01: Another Place
Out of a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective, emerges another place. It is neither new, nor fixed in time, but it has remained unexplored, scarcely documented – piles of lime and useless cicadas.
Studio 02: Feminist Approaches
The Dissertation Studio 02 seminar series will address feminist practices within architecture, history and activism.
Studio 03: Narrative and Storytelling
This studio focuses on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We will particularly consider how narrative intersects with, and informs, identity.
Studio 04: The Conquest of Joy
This studio encourages dialogues around the cultural production at a time when narratives founded on certainty have ceased to make sense.
Studio 05: This is my truth; show me yours: Post-truth, propaganda and bulls**t
This studio will look at the emergence of the notion of "post truth" and explore links between other ideas around propaganda and Harry Frankfurt’s argument about "bulls**t". We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 06: The Practice of Space – Writing Atmospheres in Art and Architecture
Nico de Oliveira
Dissertation Studio 06 looks at space as practice, since each location is a mutable entity framed as a moment in time, populated by individuals and shaped by their actions as artists, musicians, curators, designers, architects, writers and spectators.
Studio 07: Meaningful Work
This studio will consider the value of making in itself, independent of the product or outcome, exploring the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 08: Speak, Form.
Dissertation Studio 8 asks: How is it that form might speak? This studio looks at the power of rhetoric, of the medium as message, of the figure as discourse.
Studio 09: Thinking with Ruins
This studio pays heed to these cultural forms and persuasions but asks, how might we productively think with ruins in the present?
Studio 10: Sport and Aesthetics
Dissertation Studio 10 will examine the concept of aesthetics as applied within that most everyday activity: sport.
Studio 11: Le Marteau Sans Maître (The Hammer without a Master)
In a networked world where knowledge and information seems to be accessible everywhere and in any form; and where people in distant places appear to speak to us in real time from our computer screens, Studio 11 tries to imagine an ‘immediate’ and performative experience of the world – outside language and not shaped by our intellect and will.
Studio 12: Material Culture and Transcultural Exchanges
Dissertation Studio 12 is concerned with the increasing complexity of the material and symbolic flows of fashion, textile, artefact and commodity.
Studio 13: B(read)
Focussing on two of life’s key ingredients, reading and bread, this Dissertation Studio offers sessions that will encourage you to experience and experiment with both.
Studio 14: Rewilding
In this Dissertation Studio, we will examine some of the many ways in which art, architecture, and design connect to the discourse on rewilding.
Studio 15: “If I stay silent nothing will change”: Identity, Politics, Social Change and Creative Culture(s)
This cross-disciplinary studio considers how power, culture, politics, identity, representation, activism, social media, and mass culture theory intersect with a range of arts practices, including photography, architecture, design and fine art, film studies, fashion and music, sound, pop art, and theatre.
Studio 16: A Material World
This Dissertation Studio will be based on the processes that are intrinsic to the design and making of textiles, however it will also be looking at the materiality of these textiles as objects.
Studio 17: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.
Studio 18: Modes of Human Exchange (Being-with and without)
This studio considers the current (exceptional) conditions of human exchange in a broader historical/social context, highlighting how facial/bodily gestures and the decorum of their physical/ambient surroundings have provided essential clues to the way we respond to, and interact with, the ‘other’.