Inside/ Inside/Outside: Working our Way out of the Damaged Now (Design As Dialectics)

Joshua Singer, Virginia Tassinari


Inside/Outside: (Design as dialectics) is a discourse manifested as an exhibition of experimental design work which was held at the San Francisco State University Design Gallery in the Spring of 2017. The project is a collection of artefacts, statements, and conversations whose intention is to blur various boundaries. It is an experiment intended to bring together theory and practice, discourse and artefact. It is a philosophical exegesis of design and its potentialities.

The project defined a philosophical position for design, namely that while design can be seen as a way to instrumentalize reality and thus reaffirm existing categories, it also has the capability to operate within the inner, and often unseen, “dialectics” (Adorno 2005) – a process of spontaneous criticism that unfolds from within reality. Design also has the ability to question existing categories, reveal meanings and values that commonly remain invisible due to their oversimplification.

The project’s intent was to explore topics of critical and speculative design and design futures within critical and speculative forms and forums, showing how in practice design can be considered as a form of “dialectics”. By considering that an artefact can embed a philosophical reflection, the project becomes not simply a collection of objects and statements, but also a complex dynamic of exchange and an experimental investigation of design as a philosophical dialogue by means of artefacts.

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