On Ideology Essay

From Media Design: Networked & Lens-Based wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Designing Ideologies // Ideologies for Design.

2015-02-26 21.24.25.jpg

A critical technical practice will, for the foreseeable future, require a split identity,– one foot planted in the craft work of design and the other foot planted in the reflexive work of critique. Philip Agre (1997).

How to match our own ideologies with our career? A matter of coherence.


This is a very personal reflection about the role of Ideology in people's identity and how far it connects, for instance, with our profession. Our worldviews being part of our daily practices, including professional activities. Focusing in one specific subject matter: "solidarity" * - meaning the social impact of our work practices.



As a human being we occupy a place on earth. Existing is being always present. We find ourselves in different environments ( / familiar / professional / social / … / ). We grow beliefs, and beliefs about beliefs - which cross this different environments, make our identity and help us position in society. In the professional environment, and using the example of the designer as to represent a profession, I aim to understand the possibilities of linking design practice and ideologies. - in particular solidarity *.


How does a professional designer emerge within social impact and move project ideas forward?

As a designer seeking for relevance in my practice and looking to produce professional work that matters, I constantly question myself how to create Good Design.

By Good Design I also mean Design for Good.

This idea of designing goes beyond technical competences, it regards innovation in a broader sense; it acknowledges the fact that design is inevitably connected to social, environmental and economical practices, and it pursues to engage critically across fields.


I have been investigating how different design companies present themselves in the "about" section of their websites. This area of the platform is usually dedicated to present the history of the company, perhaps the team menbers, basically a space to answer the "who", "where, "when" and "why" questions.

"Why" is often revealing the company's "approach". Meaning either the company's work methodology or their beliefs:

- work perspective ( / work methods / strategies / focus on creativity and efficiency...)

- humanistic perspective ( / ethics / economical / social / environmental values and procedures / political views )

Some companies incorporate both.

This "perspectives" reflect Ideology as a way of structuring our practice - ideas with an organizational function. It provides guidance towards action. And is also often perceived as an act of propaganda or marketing tool, as analyzed by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek in his thesis at "Pervert's Guide to Ideology" (look at Starbucks study case - pay for the product and duty (or redemption) - ultimate form of consumerism). By adapting this corrective disciplines, we provide an answer to the guilt carried by towards social struggles, in a global context. In other words, the weight of social responsibility. In Žižek's eyes this can also be perceived as new selling philosophy: economy charity - idiosyncrasy of good guys.


(Design) Practice + "Solidarity" *

Should solidarity be a part-time job (as a form of charity)? Should our beliefs exist parallel to our main occupation? Does it make sense to be partially committed to certain values? Will not this separation lead to hypocrisy?

"The real aim is to reconstruct society. Charity degrades and demoralizes." - from RSA animate: First as Tragedy, then as Farce.

If one is truly concerned with the interests and welfare of humans. His/her attitude should in all circumstances reflect both individual and collective interests. I am not yet sure what is the best term to use, if solidarity, or philanthropy which maybe suitable too.

Renzo Martens very explicitly shows in his documentary "Enjoy Poverty", the complexity of acting in solidarity. And as he tried to understand how to position himself, in both personally and professionally towards certain social matters. I personally wish to figure it out myself too. Martens presents non-profits or entrepreneurs both feeding poverty and this never-ending resource. Is it at all possible to change this so well structured social inequality? Martens sees no solution.


- "There is no man alone, because every man is a Microcosm, and carries the whole world about him... There is all Africa, and her prodigies in us."- Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, 1642

- "To whom belongs poverty?" - Martens Renzo, 2008

In my view, I look at poverty as a shared defeat for the international community. As well as an active (daily basis) role on the fight for the human rights. To conclude, the challenge relies not only in which ideologies to hold onto, but also how to put those into practice.

"the same design that fuels mass overconsumption also holds the power to repair it". (from the book Do Good Design)

*in most English dictionary definitions, ‘solidarity’ implies unity, unanimity, a singular vision and/or agreement. In contrast, in Greek, ‘solidarity’ – ‘αλληλεγγύη’ [alilengíi] from ‘αλλήλων’ [allilon] (others) + ‘εγγύτητα’ [egytita] (distance / proximity) – is understood as ‘the ethical imperative/ obligation of members of a group to reciprocally support one another’. This latter definition emphasises the support of others as a right and responsibility and foregrounds the protection of common rights and responsibilities. Most importantly it does so without the erasure of individuality or the assumption of unity, harmony or cohesion. In addition, its etymology leads to the definition of ‘αλληλεγγύη’ [alilengíi] as ‘the distance / relationship / proximity between people’. at activate e-journal, vol.3 Issue 1 (Spring 2014): "Solidarity and / in performance: rethinking definitions and exploring potentialities."


Reza Negarestani, at Sonic Acts February 2015: "copernicus revolution — geometry — geo physical practices — geometrical trajectory — orientation: observer and environmental queues. Pointing a direction. Augmented cognitive process, enhances experimental heuristic direction finding (a geometrical problem). Find our frame of reference that defines our conception of the world. Narrative's = one's life. Transformations of being."

My desire to deepen my reflection on the theme of ideology, is not part of an existentialist parenthesis, but an opportunity to properly start building a line of thought, and acquire brother knowledge on different theories that may guide me into my own practice.

As we've been discussing previously, ideologies are intrinsic to humankind. My beliefs will influence and be reflected in my design practice. The core question is how to integrate them, act upon?

"Conviction and commitment are fair game for experimental aesthetics. Consider again the example of Arakawa and Gins, who launch an avant-garde at the level of conviction in their assertion that “we have decided not to die.” That these are unreasonable convictions, absurd commitments, over-the-top demands for sustained conceptual attention make them all the more compelling. The heart of the issue: how far can one commit oneself to one’s ideas? How serious do you take your own ideas? How long does one idea stay with you, or when you are dissatisfied, bored with it, do you just throw it away? How close is conviction to faith or fundamentalism?" by Schuster: Avant-Garde at a Standstill.

Interior > Exterior

Inside >> Out

Theory > Practice

"Recognize the interdependence, power and influence of your role as a professional, and let it resonate with the world around and within you."(from the book Do Good Design). The acknowledgment of the human being as part of an ecology of interests. Being means taking advantage of resources, energy consumption, technological evolution, financial dynamics, social paradigms, all embed in an acceleration mode of performance (more distance in less time, but does it mean progress?). The world functioning as a network, of high speed interactions, which we are all responsible for. Coexistence.

Organize information = Organize the world

The structure and aesthetics of information defines how design holds together its accessibility and understanding. Design being not neutral, can therefore highly determine the viewers consciousness, depending on how it provides a comprehensive visualization of processes and patterns. Designing interfaces, access to information — overloaded — the internet of things gives rise to an acceleration process in which we are all, inescapably, part of.

My effort goes into defining a compromising between a conceptual and a physical world. " – One important influence of Brassier’s philosophy was its emphasis on the absolute necessity of a compact between knowledge of the world and our ability to transform it. This is perhaps the most significant point of convergence between Brassier’s transcendental realism and the Marxian tradition. more at: http://fillip.ca/content/speed-trials

NEW in :

"..put into discussion Spinoza’s concepts of Desire, Joy, Sadness and Affect in the ‘Ethics’ and Guattari’s concepts of Mental Ecology and Collective Assemblages of Enunciation by reading closely a series of texts from the 17th up to the 21st century. With the help of two guests, Pierre Joachim and Geert Opsomer, we will study these philosophical key notions but also discover how Pierre and Geert put them into practice and consequently how we can do so as well.

Can we associate sadness with the outcomes of our capitalist world? Are we affected so much by capitalism that we can only sadly survive in what seems to have become its ‘nature’? Can we still affect the world? What could a joyful passion mean today? Is a joyful passion subversive? How can we create the conditions for joy to be possible? Is it by re-allocating desire that new joys can emerge? Can artistic researches produce a change? How can agency be created with aesthetic means? Could we critically re-combine ethics and aesthetics to reclaim the transformative power of our researches? What could be the nature of an ecology of affects that has the potential to produce a change?"



Ideologies for Design Purposes