"When that Apple II came out, it really could do nothing. It could show text and after we waited a bit, we had these things called images. Remember when images were first possible with a computer, those gorgeous, full–color images? And then after a few years, we got CD–quality sound. It was incredible. You could listen to sound on the computer. And then movies, via CD–ROM. It was amazing. Remember that excitement? And then the browser appeared. The browser was great, but the browser was very primitive, very narrow bandwidth. Text first, then images, we waited, CD–quality sound over the Net, then movies over the Internet. Kind of incredible. And then the mobile phone occurred, text, images, audio, video. And now we have iPhone, iPad, Android, with text, video, audio, etc. You see this little pattern here? We're kind of stuck in a loop"
(John Maeda, TEDGlobal 2012)
"George Crofutt, publisher of a fashionable western travel guide series, commissioned the creation of 'American Progress' by the Brooklyn resident, painter, and lithographer, John Gast. Crofutt reproduced the petite painting, done in 1872, as a color lithograph poster and also engraved the image in the guidebooks he published widely circulating the image. The painting depicts a sense of technological development's advancement upon the untamed land like the coming of an impenetrable, inevitable militia with one uncharacteristic exception––the company is led by a feminine figure.
In the wake of four years of Civil War, the creation of the promotional material of 'American Progress' portrays a spiritualized feminine that provides nurturing, protective guidance and fortitude for the extension of civilization over wilderness and the 'uncivilized,' the enigmatic, and the primal. Disembodied, the idealized feminine portrays the evolution of the split of spirit from daily life as well as the sanctified superiority of the immigrants above human beings who lived in harmony with the spirit of the land.
The dominating and centralized angelic being's paradoxical innocence and sensually alluring presence has the effect of distracting and softening the reality and the violence of this movement to 'win the west' where Native Americans depart the frame as non– natives stake claims in the form of prospectors, as settlers: farmers, homesteaders, and travelers. One of the popular artists of the times, Maynard Dixon speaks of the untruth of the romanticized representation of facts as he complained he was being paid to lie in his artwork and portrayals of life on the wild prairie (Dixon).
Fueled by an underlying desire to be free from tyrannical government and the prospect of a new life and livelihood in a world new to them, Euro–Americans manifested suffering and persecution similar to the very situation they sought to escape."
(Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism)
Fig.1 John Gast (1872). "American Progress", painting: oil
"Conference description of the topic: A 2005 education survey by Metropolis Magazine showed no consensus among practitioners or educators about what constitutes design research; limited access to research findings from professional practice; nascent use of students as interns in the research process; and great confusion about what design issues deserve the greatest attention by researchers. Organizers of the 2007 conference of the International Association of Societies of Design Research reported that only 10% of the paper submissions came from Americans, demonstrating that the US is behind other countries in the generation of new knowledge.
Despite this confusion, there is ample evidence that research will play an increasing role in the future of professional practice and that the typical usability testing in labs and focus groups will be insufficient in informing large–scale communication strategies and technological development. Further, it is apparent that design practitioners consider research to be proprietary and that any large–scale dissemination of new knowledge must come from academic institutions.
It is clear, therefore, that much work is yet to be done in building a research culture. Traditionally, undergraduate 'research' activities have been defined in terms of existing information retrieval on the subject matter of the communication, the wants and needs of the client, and the technical demands of message production and distribution, little of which is transferrable to other projects. Further, in many programs there is limited curricular distinction between the research behaviors expected of undergraduate and graduate students, leaving the majority of master's graduates unprepared for the scholarship and knowledge generation demands of current faculty positions in research–driven institutions."
(Judith Gregory, Deborah Littlejohn et al., 10 October 2010)
Moderator Judith Gregory and writer Deborah Littlejohn have a report on Design research: Building a culture from scratch