Critical Visions Talk - Introduction to Slippery Design

Talk at the Critical Visions symposium, University of Cincinnati. Special Tag: Making Ideas Tangible

The story about slippery design and its idea of encouraging discourses

The Critical Visions Symposium "Look Better" was a two-day conference on interdisciplinary visual research, practice, and pedagogy at the University of Cincinnati. The symposium marked the launch of the new undergraduate certificate in Critical Visions, aimed at teaching students how to effectively combine critical theory and social analysis with art, media, and design practice.

As seen from the perspective of a graphic designer the term “critical vision” demands both the ability to deconstruct your world in visual pieces and the skill to construct a significant idea - at best communicate it through a form. A high significance level in these two processes are semiotic studies which help the (young) designer to speak with the right tongue in the right situation.

Herefore I worked on a presentation which shows the young students that the handling with semiotics is the precondition of getting a critical vision, a critical awareness of how culture is working in general. The message of this talk is to focus on "Slippery Design", which keeps discourses alive and healthy.
The presentation was divided in three parts: 1. Semiotic Triangles, 2. Complexity & Meta-Thinking, 3. Limitation. For those who knew already the theory background enjoyed seeing them in a Powerpoint aesthetic.

Semiotic Triangles

In our daily life the triangle can be used to deconstruct every visual sign or language. It shows the power of design as you can form its cone points. Shown work: Imagine, True False / Fake Real, Digital Folklore

Slippery Design for challenging people

If you want to feet the discourse in an progressive way you have to be slippery: Disruption is the only way to progress! Slippery Design is in fact always in a quite critical condition as it might not fit and not get the audience. But at the same time it‘s surprinsing, on the search for something. It trains the competency to be irritated, the ability to be unsettled, piqued and challenged. Shown work: Surfing Exploration 4 Lodown, Dsico Fanzine

Focus on Limitation

Working within limitations reveals every single design step as boundaries are fixed and set. Sliding on the border line requires reflection on your own design process! This reflection generates an advanced consciousness about the design tool, about your design process, about your idea, you want to make tangible. Shown work: Wordmag, The Midi Opera

Final: Showing works of my teaching classes at Merz Akademie: Ghosttown, Google Street Car

Used Tags

Information on the Critical Vision Certificate:

The undergraduate Critical Visions Certificate is a joint endeavor between faculty from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The cross-college curriculum will teach students how to effectively combine critical theory and social analysis with art, media, and design practice and has two primary goals:

(1) Increase students' understanding of what is at stake in how we see, including the social and political ramifications of advertising, art, media, popular culture, and science, among other dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices.

(2) Develop new artistic, media, or design forms and practices that will intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.

Through core classes and approved electives students will critically examine the relationships among power, image, and imagination; situate and theorize vision alongside other modes of perception; and historically and cross-culturally explore a range of forms of seeing. Through studio and production courses they will learn to reflexively produce and rethink the ontology and epistemology of vision. More than just promoting a sophisticated, academic visual literacy, the certificate will enable students to actively engage, critique, and reinterpret the visual objects and forms they encounter in their everyday lives.

-- Mc Micken, College for Art & Sciences, Link

More about the symposium, speakers, lectures:

Look Better