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Which clippings match 'Form And Content' keyword pg.1 of 1
20 SEPTEMBER 2011

Revisiting Craft 2: Tools of Craftsmanship

"To McCullough, computer animation, geometric modeling, spatial databases–in general, all forms of media production or design–can be said to be 'crafted' when creators 'use limited software capacities resourcefully, imaginatively, and in compensation for the inadequacies of prepackaged, hard–coded operations' (21).... Again, as Sennett suggests, we 'assert our own individuality' against the prepackaged, predetermined processes and limitations of the tools we're using. Craftsmanship, says aesthetic historian David Pye, is 'workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment [sic], dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works' (45).

'Workmanship engages us with both functional and aesthetic qualities. It conveys a specific relation between form and content, such that the form realizes the content, in a manner that is enriched by the idiosyncrasies of the medium' (McCullough p.203). '[E]ach medium,' McCullough says, 'is distinguished by particular vocabulary, constructions, and modifiers, and these together establish within it a limited but rich set of possibilities' (McCullough p.230). Similarly, each methodology, or each research resource, has its own particular vocabulary, constructions, modifiers, obligations, and limitations. We need to choose our tools with these potentially enriching, and just as potentially debilitating, idiosyncrasies in mind. Do we need advanced software, or will iMovie suffice? Do we need to record an focus group in video–or will the presence of the camera compromise my rapport with my interviewee? Will an audio recording be more appropriate? Do we need to conduct primary interviews if others have already documented extensive interviews with these same subjects? Do we need to conduct extensive, long–term field–work–or can we accomplish everything in a short, well–planned research trip? How do I match my problem or project to the most appropriate tool?"

(Shannon Mattern, Words in Space)

Malcolm McCullough, Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996).

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TAGS

aesthetic qualitiesaestheticsapparatusartistic practicecomputer animation • constructions • craftedcraftsmanshipcraftworkcreative practicecritical theorycultural technology • David Pye • design methodology • design possibilities • design vocabulary • dexterity • experimentationform and contentform realises content • functional qualities • geometric modelling • hard-coded operations • imaginative • iMovie • insightjudgement • limitations • maker • Malcolm McCullough • media productionmedium • modifiers • pre-packaged • research • resourcefulness • Richard Sennett • software capacities • spatial databases • techniquetheory buildingtool • tools of craftsmanship • truth to materialsvisual vocabularyvocabulary • workmanship

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 MARCH 2011

Responsive Web Design

"Recently, an emergent discipline called 'responsive architecture' has begun asking how physical spaces can respond to the presence of people passing through them. Through a combination of embedded robotics and tensile materials, architects are experimenting with art installations and wall structures that bend, flex, and expand as crowds approach them. Motion sensors can be paired with climate control systems to adjust a room's temperature and ambient lighting as it fills with people. Companies have already produced 'smart glass technology' that can automatically become opaque when a room's occupants reach a certain density threshold, giving them an additional layer of privacy.

In their book Interactive Architecture, Michael Fox and Miles Kemp described this more adaptive approach as 'a multiple–loop system in which one enters into a conversation; a continual and constructive information exchange.' Emphasis mine, as I think that's a subtle yet powerful distinction: rather than creating immutable, unchanging spaces that define a particular experience, they suggest inhabitant and structure can–and should–mutually influence each other.

This is our way forward. Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever–increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience. We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards–based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them. In short, we need to practice responsive web design. But how?"

(Ethan Marcotte, 25 May 2010)

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A List Apart • adaptive • adaptive approachadaptive layoutarchitecture • art installations • climate control systems • constructive information exchange • contextconvergencecrowdCSS3designdesign for the screendevice • embedded robotics • Ethan Marcotte • flexibilityform and contentHTML5information in contextJackson Pollockmedia queries • Michael Fox • Miles Kemp • mobile • motion sensors • responsive • responsive architecture • responsive designresponsive web designSimon Collison • smart glass • solutionspacetechnology • tensile materials • usabilityvisualisation • wall structures • web designweb standards

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 DECEMBER 2008

Paul Rand: the importance of understanding the relationship between form and content

"For his posthumous induction into The One Club''s Hall of Fame for 2007, Imaginary Forces created a short film, combining original animation with a videotaped interview of Rand himself, that encapsulated his unique and timeless contribution to the design community."
(Imaginary Forces)

[Design formalist Paul Rand describes how he understands the art of graphic design.]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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