While usually focused on designing buildings, designers might also design the medium in which those buildings are suspended. Considering ground instead of figure, or field instead of object, medium design inverts some dominant cultural logics about problem-solving and offers additional aesthetic pleasures and political capacities. Medium is assessed for latent properties that unfold over time and territory, propensities within a context, potentials in relative position, or the agency in arrangement, and like an operating system or a growth medium, it decides what will live or die. In this matrix of activity where it is easier to detect discrepancy, latency, temperament, and indeterminacy, right answers are less important than unfolding or branching sequences of response. Benefiting from an artistic curiosity about reagents and spatial mixtures or spatial wiring, medium design suggests different organs of design or different ways to register the design imagination. Beyond buildings, master plans, declarations, laws, or standards, it deploys multipliers, switches, or time released organs of interplay like bargains, chain reactions, ratchets. While not dominant, this habit of mind is ever-present in many disciplines and leads to readings that include Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Gilbert Ryle, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, J.J. Gibson, Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, Jacques Rancière, Walter Benjamin, Gregory Bateson, Vilem Flusser, Dunne and Raby, and John Durham Peters. An in-class presentation and final paper complete the requirements of the course. Limited enrollment.

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3280a
Fall 2019
Medium Design
Keller Easterling