"whilst the application of design is multiplying exponentially, it is also loosing its validity as an authentic cultural icon. It has become synonymous with cloning the face of global culture itself, more often representing the uniformity of mass globalisation, rather than reflecting the facets of cultural difference and diversity.
The cultural attributes of difference and diversity have been fundamentally weakened, and like face that has undergone cosmetic surgery, the result is a facsimile vaguely familiar but disturbingly without a true sense of identity. It is everyone's and no one's, and belongs in no single place more than another. ...
Design has become omnipresent within Culture, as it has been adopted as a convenient badge to add value and market commodity, and to signify identity. Following Designer era of 1980's, the added value of design was replaced by design as cultural value, embodied in leading Brands of the 1990's. ...
in the 21st Century the task of capturing Culture has become more and more difficult in terms of expressing culture through the medium of design. Design increasingly struggles for a clear sense of definition, and one is left asking, what can Culture really mean today, if it is no longer tied to consumer lifestyle? We remain in a post-contemporary state where we require a redefinition of meaning, value and identity. ...
The uncertainty of a designed fusion Culture has replaced the certainty of traditional cultural monoculture. Which in turn has been diluted by an obsession with ‘cultural materialism’. What remains of the original cultural sources are being plundered in order to restock our lack of creative DNA. The net result is an erosion of the remaining authentic sources, but also the creation of a ‘cultural time lag’ which has been generated by a convergence of trans-cultural fusions, hybridisation, and of recurrent cultural cross referencing."
(David Carlson on 21 Mar 21 2011, David Report)
Fig.1 paper sculptures made by Jennifer Collier [http://jennifercollier.co.uk/].
"Figuration itself is not inconsistent with the Modernist tradition since, even the most abstract of Modernist work makes references to things outside itself, yet, of all the features in Tomkins' work, the distinctive way in which he uses figuration seems to set it apart from the rest. Giacometti-like (although informed by Picasso and Matisse) troupes of figures edge around the paintings always playing some formal role but never solely in virtue of their form, scale, colour or location. Typically they point, both literally and figuratively, to formal elements in the Works, including, curiously enough, each other - but they also fly on trapezes, hold safety nets, dance and strike poses. None of the figures, however, are merely incidental to formal issues and although interdependent with them they have, as well, a life of their own. This invites interpretation, at least to the extent that we find ourselves reflecting on how and why the figures appear to us as they do - like mute vandevillians whose master, Tomkins, having rendered them onto some flattened proscenium, orchestrates their participation in a frozen theatrical tragicomic tableau. However, we cannot know the purpose of such entertainments beyond their capacity to intrigue and amuse us."
(Ted Bracey, 1987)
2) Ted Bracey (1987). Robert McDougall Art Gallery [now Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu].
"The problem with any debate over design is that the intellectual resources with which the debate is typically engaged are themselves located within the field, and the competing definitions of design is the terrain over which struggles are fought and the resources used in those struggles. Each actor (or in this case, each designer) engages in these struggles and does so from a position within the field; each has a situated viewpoint and this viewpoint shapes the analysis of the field (Bourdieu, 1983). Thus, there is a need to be able to view the field afresh, from a perspective that is not associated with any specific position within the field but rather objectifies the field. This is not to argue for an 'ultimate-truth' perspective, but rather to suggest that, in order to be able to analyse the debates, one needs specific kinds of tools. Designers work with knowledge to 'do' design. When analysing the field of design the object of study has now shifted: it is not the design object but knowledge itself as an object that is being studied. For engineering a bridge, engineering knowledge is valuable; for designing a house, architectural knowledge is valuable. For analysing knowledge, a theory of knowledge itself is valuable."
(Lucila Carvalho, Andy Dong & Karl Maton, 2009, p.485)
Fig.1 Legitimation codes of specialisation Source: Maton (2007:97)
2). Carvalho, L., Dong, A. & Maton, K. (2009) 'Legitimating design: A sociology of knowledge account of the field', Design Studies 30(5): 483-502.
"Along with Morris's social awakening came a developing of his ideas for combining the skills of the artist with those of the craftsman, with equal recognition for the talents of both. Though the term Arts and Crafts Movement was not coined until 1887, the main tenet of breaking down the hierarchy of art, which elevates painting and sculpture, above that of, traditional crafts and design, were championed by Morris, Burne-Jones, and Ruskin much earlier; some consider the Red House as being the first application of these theories. Key to the ideas of the Arts and Crafts movement was that artistic or beautiful objects should not be just for those who could afford them, Morris proclaimed, 'I do not want art for the few, any more than I want education for the few, or freedom for the few'."
[William Morris wallpaper featuring acanthus leaves, c. 1875.]