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|Title:||ECOLOGY OF THE IMAGE|
|Authors:||Lopes, Abby Mellick|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney. Department of Art History and Theory|
|Abstract:||We know very little about the ecology of our designed world. Contrary to all appearances, design is not about making objects. It is rather about structuring the conditions for life. Design is our second nature, naturalising changes in our ways of living. Yet it also conceals dangers and diminishes our sensitivity to respond to them. The security offered by the televisual image — and the solace of design's promise to remove all environmental risks — are fictions. Ecology of the Image is a critical exploration of idealism in design. Drawing on hermeneutic phenomenology, socio-cultural and design theory, it argues that design is not a value-free practice but structures epistemological attitudes into the world. Ideas are material elements of our environments. This thesis offers an explanation of how idealism circulates within the designed world, fashioning our minds, bodies and environments. The televisual is analysed as a normative phenomenon that inducts us into a way of seeing and understanding the world. Its vision of the affluent good life inspires and gives purpose to desire, and sustains what Manzini has called 'product based well being'. The thesis argues that the televisual puts us out of touch with the consequences of its vision; it diminishes our capacity for forethought. This results in the generation of unacknowledged, yet self-endangering environmental feedback. Environmental problems force us to take account of design's hidden rationales. Only at five minutes to midnight, for example, do we realise that the stock and supply of potable water is endangered. The problem is not so much this late recognition, but that design led us to believe in water's abundance. This situation demands the development of an ecological understanding of our designed worlds that can inform future actions. The sign, particularly as it has been mobilised in cultural theory, plays a leading role in this design situation and the perceptions it supports. The sign is utilised for its ability to denaturalise appearances — to 'read' design's claims on the world. Finally, the thesis turns to the designer-in-training in the process of acquiring instrumental skills and worldviews. It proposes a research strategy that inscribes environmental consciousness into the design process — situating the designer in the midst of semiotic and material worlds. Through its observational methodology it outlines ways of first understanding, then of intervening and generating changes in our 'ideal' world.|
|Rights and Permissions:||Copyright Lopes, Abby Mellick;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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