Design in the postmodern



With all the difference in approaches, almost all design theorists find it on the border - production and consumption, wealth and poverty, calculation and intuition, utility and beauty. Thus, design reveals itself as a border that simultaneously separates and connects the world of the everyday, focused on utilitarian existence, and the world of the sacred, preserved by high art.


The desire of a person to fix himself in the world is eternal: he builds and equips, acquires and acquires, manufactures and creates with such obsession that the unrestrained production and accumulation of cultural inventory gradually turns relations with him into a social problem.

Things create around us that inhabited world in which we feel protected - this philosophical understanding was laid down by the ancient Greeks. Aristotle believed that the “beginning in another” opens up for a person a world of possibilities that are many times greater than human ones, the prospect of continuing oneself in things, that is, mastering a thing in such a way as to treat it as an object.
     This idea gained a second wind in the era of industrial revolutions: the world was filled with soulless objects that could become objects of any manipulation. Technique is an attempt by a person to rely on things-objects, if we understand by it not the mechanism of various devices, but some type of relationship between a person and being, which could be defined as an invasion of being. In technology, a person, as it were, goes beyond himself, his attention is transferred to the outside world, which he arranges, and being is consigned to oblivion.

Fascinated by innovations and the amount of production, technology, as a special type of relationship between a person and a thing, neglected human existence and was able to establish itself only through the possession of a thing, as an opportunity to gain the ultimate truth. M. Heidegger proposed a different alignment of a person’s relationship with a thing, namely, as with an equal Other, as with another Self.
     If a thing means so much, if we get help from it, if it is so close to us, then how can we treat it as an Alien?


“To understand an object means to understand my attitude in relation to it, to understand it in relation to me in a single being-event, which presupposes not distraction from oneself, but my responsible participation. » Bakhtin M. K


One of the results of the consistent development of this idea is a radical understanding of human relations with a thing, when a thing is seen not even by another I, but by an expression of one's own I - human essence as such.
     Accordingly, the idea of the “usefulness” of a thing also changes: if a thing becomes an objective human relationship to itself and to a person, its use loses its egoistic nature, the thing loses its bare utility and becomes a human benefit.

The certainty of a thing as an Other is linked to its ability to enter into a dialogue with a person, presenting itself as the bearer of the Word or the Word itself, that is, it must be turned to meaning.
     Dialogicality is the first most important characteristic of a person's relationship to a thing as to an Other, and it is possible because both a person and a thing are able to appear for each other as meaning, and to endow each other with meaning. By means of how a person and a thing are mutually endowed with meaning, they begin to delineate the boundaries of each other. Thus, being acquires wholeness not from within, but from without, not from itself, but from the Other. A person shapes a thing, and a thing shapes human existence, a person outlines the boundaries of a thing as a whole, and a thing outlines the boundaries of human existence as a whole, complete.


This reciprocal movement of shaping, delineating, limiting - and thus understanding - carries within itself a truly annihilating potency for both.


Design in the postmodern era satisfies the need not for beautiful and useful things, but for the feeling of being alive in an environment that is extremely organized, standardized and calculated.



By the end of the 20th century, we can see how the attitude towards a thing changes: the postmodern also wants to possess it, but now the right to its own existence is recognized for the thing. The thing is not fixed in the object, but lives its own life, creating new meanings and context when interacting with it, as it involves an exchange that entails its own changes, which are difficult to calculate and unambiguously evaluate.
     That is, now we are in a dialogue between the Self and the Other, modifying both the Other by means of regeneration, and our own Self, mutating in the context of the thing (the Other). This means that the relationship of the Self with such an Other can no longer be defined as a dialogue - the self-identity of the first and second is lost, the space between them becomes so flexible (semi-finished) that it can take on a suitable form, outlining the boundary at its own discretion.By the end of the 20th century, we can see how the attitude towards a thing changes: the postmodern also wants to possess it, but now the right to its own existence is recognized for the thing. The thing is not fixed in the object, but lives its own life, creating new meanings and context when interacting with it, as it involves an exchange that entails its own changes, which are difficult to calculate and unambiguously evaluate.
     That is, now we are in a dialogue between the Self and the Other, modifying both the Other by means of regeneration, and our own Self, mutating in the context of the thing (the Other). This means that the relationship of the Self with such an Other can no longer be defined as a dialogue - the self-identity of the first and second is lost, the space between them becomes so flexible (semi-finished) that it can take on a suitable form, outlining the boundary at its own discretion.

Postmodernism reflects on past experience, technologically simulating what is already known and experienced.


“To simulate means to “come at the same time”, to be together with oneself and separate from oneself, to be oneself in this other place, which is not the birth place, the native soil of perception, but at an immense distance ...” Foucault M.


Design disappears like a border - a thing passes into a state of belonginglessness, that is, anything, expanding its borders to forms, free marking.



Design in postmodernism, according to the dictatorship of culture, shifts its focus from the center to the borders, thus shifting the focus from “what” to “how”, making the thing relevant in the sense of “corresponding”, but with a blurred halo of “what”. Modern society, having freed itself from prejudices and restraining norms of modernity, has found itself in the grip of the tyranny of taste, form, and style. The hidden will to power, to self-expression, to dominance was sublimated into the desire to “look”, for the satisfaction of which design turned out to be a more than effective tool.

Everyone is looking for his own look, since one can no longer use one's own existence as an argument, it remains to perform an act of appearance, not caring about existing - not “I exist, I am here”, but “I see, I am an image”. Everyone becomes an impresario of his own visibility, which is in no way connected with personal “content”. “Being yourself” becomes an ephemeral performance without a future.

Thus, design is already becoming a way of dictate, pressure, through the means of self-expression of the “elite” to separate themselves from the “mass”. Design is ubiquitous, but at the same time not accessible and expensive, and the creator-designer himself, instead of the modesty inherent in his profession in modernity, acquires a thirst for self-representation and even narcissism. The designer appears to be a model of the marginal, an intellectual who works in a fundamentally local, partial space, who does not claim the universal nature of his knowledge and thereby tears the fabric of power relations. A designer who turned out to be not so naive as to try to be able to do everything, but skillful enough to grasp everything, putting it all in its place, in other words, coordinating cultural and information flows.

The designer creates where the boundaries lie and is not concerned with bringing the Word to the world. In modernity, design sought to streamline chaos by introducing design into the world, while in postmodernity it is not chaos that is the field of design efforts, but the existing world of forms - a lined sheet where the designer is in the middle, holding the border between the world of I and the Other. The designer, embraced by the postmodern cultural strategy to renew everything and everything, is essentially trying to eliminate the boredom that is growing in a civilization that has entered an era of fatigue from itself, while he does not oppose novelty to it, he is purely engaged in a game: to highlight something, bring it to the fore, and somewhere to lead into the shade.


It can show that nothing is sacred for a designer: he empowers primitive, ordinary things and denigrates the sacred - and all this within the framework of one decision, there is nothing forbidden for him - he agrees to almost everything, because he realizes the cruel truth about himself: he not a creator, he is subject to the most cruel system of restrictions.


Now we are aware of the need to change some habits, for example, to overcome the desire to be the Creator, creating the world from nothing, but we no longer agree to the role of the Craftsman, dutifully reproducing the model. The problems of design suggest us a place in the world of the future: this is the place of the Medium, who corrects the process of turning things into signs, and signs into things, and, thanks to his position of a person “on the border of the worlds”, will be able to save himself in the illusory world of technogenic culture.











DATA LIES TO US︎︎︎

2021

DESIGN IN THE POSTMODERN︎︎︎

2019


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