Product Design Major Critique

I recently graduated ART CENTER COLLEGE OF DESIGN, a wonderful place in many regards that however needs some improvements very soon. Here is a “debrief” after five years there.
 
 
This document is structured around a series of concerns I’ve developed over my time in Product Design at ACCD but also outside. I will try to be as fair as possible in my judgments, and as clear as possible about my intentions in every example I give. However I reserve myself the right to also make biased statements (that I welcome critique on) for anything I feel has been handled unfairly.
 
I will say that above all, Product Design as a major creates relatively capable craftsmen when it comes to CAD modeling / rendering and fleshing out “strategies.” 
 
But then… who says CAD is the (only?) way to go?
 
This may sound harsh and may not be the truth but it is meant to be an uncomfortable poke, a mini wake-up call, that may easily be shrugged off but the will also linger around the head of those who’ve read it.
 
From now on, most of this document will focus on the PRODUCT DESIGN PROGRAM and sometimes input from outside students I’ve picked up on.
 

CURRICULUM
    
The curriculum should be the action plan a program offers to its students. It’s its blueprint. The way it is structured implies a specific set of values but also may need to be flexible, handled play by play as a student’s or the industry’s path transforms.
 
 
FLEXIBILITY
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I have to say I’ve always been supported in my efforts to experiment with the curriculum. I’ve taken classes in Product Design, Illustration, Environmental Design and Graphic Design and studied at two other campuses in Japan and in France.
 
In product design, we are given many chances to reach out, try new things which I am grateful for, but the problem for me was coming back “home” to product classes.
 
Before my last term at Art Center I had not taken a single product design class for 2 terms (instead I took two independent studies, three terms of internship and freelance and classes in other majors). I was excited to catch up on the content I had missed by not taking product studios (that I had waived out of) through those of my peers that had taken them. I was also excited to share with the faculty and students the different approaches I had learned. 
 
None of that happened, the main dynamic was to do just enough to make the teacher happy. One of product design’s greatest plague, instilled since term 1.
 
I use this example because I honestly feel like I’ve missed nothing by skipping the second to last product term and would’ve learned more by simply concluding with an independent study in my last term. 
 
Around 3rd or 4th term I was told “After fourth term you will find your voice.”
 
I think there is a lot of truth there, so much so that I feel like the program could end after fourth term and then offer students to: 
 
-retake term 3 or 4 since they are strong classes (which would allow for a lot more crossover between returning students and new students, overlap skill sets)
 
- set up custom classes to students based on their interests
 
- take classes in other majors
 
- take on sponsor projects
 
I am not re-inventing the wheel here, I have seen a lot of students follow similar routes (in fourth term, an eighth term student was looking for an extra studio and took it with us) but the focus is on not having requisite studios past 4th term.
 
This would push students to think critically about their education.

One very striking problem about Product design and Environmental design alike is the lack of options, I was amazed to see that even second term graphic design studios offered four different teachers to study with. Aside from the amount of students in the program that forces other measures, it forces students to inform their choice in teachers early on in their ACCD career.
 
This becomes even more relevant when we accept more students into our studios than our capacity (~20) allows for. Students in their 2nd term last term, had 15 min to present AND be critiqued by the teacher… 
 
 
INDUSTRY
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The biggest challenge is the way our major relates to the industry. It seems that a lot of the drawbacks of our program come from being behind with regards to the industry. The phrase “industry-ready” is ambiguous and misleading. Yes, in many regards, product design at ACCD trains students to be “industry-ready” but probably for the year of their graduation. Once the twelfths month strikes they will be behind.
 
Why is that? 
 
We follow the industry instead of influencing it. When faculty chants we create “leaders” it is yet again an ambiguous euphemism that actually means “trend-following ‘leaders’ for other followers…” On the other hand… that is indeed 90% of the industry… 
 
Or at least it was perhaps a decade ago. Now the industry is more capricious, changing… Shouldn’t then “agents of change” feel like they are in their element?!
 
The biggest challenge isn’t how well a product graduate can identify and poach a trend for its blood. It’s how do they understand the socio-political fluctuations that influence those trends and what are the tools that embody them to then chose to follow it or challenge it. It’s who they are able to ask about issues going on in the world that they don’t understand. This can only happen with the faculty’s integration of current events into their everyday curriculum and the faculty’s on-going experimentations with the tools and practices they teach to students. The best example being sustainability.
 
The same problems the industry faces with implementing sustainable reforms are present in our curriculum: sustainability is taught as two classes, isolated from the other ones, but we get a pat on the back if, maybe, we might perhaps potentially feel like it could be an “added-value” to the customer… And then we slap some yarn on it and call it eco-something.
 
Those are the very trends that as a leading institution we must learn to challenge, improve, develop.
 
As a teaching institution we should not just PRODUCE money and professional individuals but also independent thinkers and culture in its broadest terms.
 

STUDIOS
    
Studios are our main organs and teachers their blood. Poorly oxygenated blood makes for a low-performing organ. 
 
We need teachers with a breath of fresh air. Teachers who haven’t come back to teach after just a couple of years “out there” in the industry. Also I think we should have a lot more teachers from other schools
 
 
Teachers
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I focus on teachers because they are the class. When I spend four and a half hours twiddling my thumbs so a teacher can speak to me for 15 minutes, they better be “oxygenated.” But again a lot aren’t.
 
Oxygenation can happen in many ways (which many of which I believe are already in action): 
 
- Being curious
- Being supportive 
- Being adaptive (giving demos / class activities based on what they see as the students’ needs for that term)
- Admitting when they don’t know, giving place to doubt
- Doing or being able to do what they ask of their students
- Respecting their students
- Being excited for them to become those they will work with tomorrow
- Learning new tools, new methods
- Sharing personal challenges tied to the course’s content
 
The best experience I had with a teacher was during a designstorm with Cloud 9 when the client, an architect, decided he too wanted to do work while we (the students) were working on our projects. We’d then get to critique him, challenge him the same way he challenged us. The respect it built made me want to work even harder.
 
The worst experience was during my last midterm when a guest teacher dismissively retorted at a close friend and co-worker of mine: “Huh, I don’t know who you are but good point. Although I can probably design better than the wind.”
 
If I were to unpack a few things are happening:
 
1. The teacher is being unprofessional (out of insecurity? power struggle? habit?)
 
2. The teacher is trying shut down before constructively offering solutions (out of insecurity? power struggle? habit?)
 
3. The teacher critiqued by making it about themselves as opposed to a pre-defined target user… (thus being unprofessional)
 
 
Outside Input
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This brings me to “guest speakers.” In my final class at ACCD, again, the main teacher was just as much of a guest speaker as the other ones, who weren’t really guest speakers the way they were originally intended: ACCD outsiders INVITED as GUESTS to give feedback. I find the concept of guest speakers exiting and have always appreciated when the speakers give a refreshing outlook on a body of work that I’ve stuck my head into for months. However I do not count another teacher from the same program to be as valuable of a guest crit as one from another program or an industry professional.
 
There is a great opportunity there that the product department has only dabbled with: having “outsiders” present in the classes. Those outsiders can be guest crits, speakers OR perhaps guest students that could come in for a term or two (with an ACCD scholarship?). I experienced the latter example while in Design for Sustainability 2. 
 
That term, one of the students was a professional working in a pollution monitoring facility. Because of her presence we were able to see how projects are valued and presented in other industries, visit her workplace and labs but also get a deeper understanding of what “sustainability” means at an infrastructural scale (she worked at a state-level).
 
The main insight to take from here is that the program NEEDS to open up to be able to survive, not a whole lot, but just enough to let change happen on its own, without forcing it.
 
 
Grades
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I will close this section with “grades.” Behind the grade lives the logic of the pay-check, the reward, the approval. 
 
Which in turn invites the interest and character of the one giving it. Teachers often use grades as a form of petty manipulation, stick etc. That has to stop. I feel I am fair saying that because I am also willing to recognize that the very low grade I received at the end of Viscom 1 was very well deserved and that it had a direct impact on my work ethic the second term. But I was still young, in a development stage, and I trusted the teacher giving it to me. 
 
I think grades could be useful all the way up to fourth term as a guidance, but shouldn’t be part of the question past that point. Because of their nature they infantilize students and push them to please the teacher instead of doing meaningful work
 
Instead of grades, I think faculty involved in a student’s education past fourth term should focus on setting precedents for respect and caring for others. This can mean bringing in food, sharing their work, inviting students to their home or on field trips. This would support and earlier and richer transition into the real world. They could also provide logistical help in getting student-initiated demos or workshops off the ground.
 

THE THINGS THAT CAN’T BE TAUGHT BUT CAN BE PRACTICED
 
 
Respect / Curiosity / Inventivity / Confidence / Sustainability / Passion / Emerging industry skills
 

 
COSTS
     
Trade schools today are becoming expendable. Because of Youtube, Skillshare, General Assembly, Red Engine, a lot of the skills Art Center likes to charge for need to be re-evaluated, re-assessed for what they are really worth, what they really offer. ACCD likes to walk a fine line between calling itself an institution that values change, creates leaders… It rarely does… And one that creates careers. 
 
 
Tuition
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“An Art Center education doesn’t come cheaply. It requires a high-deposit, high-return investment of resources, tapping reserves of creativity and cash. But Art Center students know these initial sacrifices will pay off down the road when they emerge with an education custom designed to equip them for creatively and financially fulfilling careers. Money magazine reinforced the College’s reputation for boosting its grads’ professional prospects this week when it ranked Art Center third on its list of 25 of the best college values.”
 
     -Dotted Line, ACCD BLOG
 
It also puts ACCD in 117th place for “Best Colleges.” 
 
I think this model (of using the promise of well-paying employment) will remain effective for a few years but will soon strip away as careers start to overlap more between creative technologists, designers, art directors, entrepreneurs. A lot of the most creative peers I have met at ACCD have decided to leave school to learn the exact skills they need for a tenth of the cost Art Center promised “knowledge” for. 
 
Offering an early exit from the program after fourth term would I think make the product design program far more dynamic, by pushing students to experiment OR to realize that they wish to simply refine their traditional skills (which is very valuable too).
 
The cost of classes creates a weird snowball effect that gives teachers more power: as we (students) try to make the most out of our steep investment “minutes become money.” I’ve seen very sad posters around the campus telling students that if they skip class they will waste $XXX.XX dollars. At the same time, again, when I am alloted a 15 minute critique but have to wait four hours to get it… I think something needs to be rethought, and that skipping class may often be a very smart use of my time and money.
 
This is about putting less of a burden on the shoulders of the student so they are not as afraid to experiment during their time at ACCD. It took me 11 terms to figure it out, something I couldn’t have done without scholarship. 
 
 
Projects
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The other aspect of cost, far easier to improve, is the cost of deliverables: AN APPEARANCE MODEL SHOULD NOT COST $2000. This is an extreme case, mostly supported by the environmental design and transportation design programs but the money paid for tuition should allow for stipends, grants for final deliverables. 
 
The problem here lays in how teachers approach their class, once again. No teacher in product design has ever tried to teach me tricks to make a model more affordable, to think about how to make a prototype more efficiently, cost is always ignored until it…  happens. No, an additional $1000 to $2000 dollars shouldn’t have to be spent every term so it can be put in the Art Center gallery. Or at least, the programs showcasing student work in the gallery should offer compensation for the models that make it there. You are teaching your students to work for free otherwise.
 
We need to help students think critically about the cost of projects, tuition and things related to the school. This would benefit the students, their work (as they learn to better understand a value/supply/demand system) but also the industry they are going into as they would learn to make better use of resources.
 

 
THE SERIOUSNESS
 
My good friend Vina once asked Frido why his character varied so much between his Product 2 and his Creative Strategies class. His answer was along the lines of “a professional designer must be reliable.”
 
I completely agree with the statement, as broad as it may be. However, it implies that the type of playful work that comes out of a course like Creative Strategies, most of the time, isn’t deemed professional or at the very least does not seem to have market viability. 
 
I beg to differ, we, as a program, must stop to assume professionalism equates with dry seriousness. The best example of another highly demanding craft to look at would be theater, it takes improvisation, games and activities to professionally interpret a Shakespearian play, one might also point out that only a person willing to play, with a desire for play, could have come up with as many puns and expressions for the world to use centuries later as Shakespeare has.
 
Play is worth it. Play may not fit in the gallery, but that’s the gallery’s problem. Play is worth it. And above all play can be rigorous.
 
In Paris, at l’ENSCI, all the studios took a one week break after midterms to work on a totally unrelated projects that would be showcased in a giant student-organized party at the end of the week. Food for thought.
 
This reminds me that one of the favorite phrases in our program is “How do you have time for this?!” Time needs to be given, granted by the staff, for students to take on personal initiatives, organizes events, parties where they apply their creativity. Designing for the campus, with DIY club, has been a very enriching experience for me for instance.
 
GIVE STUDENTS TIME. I’ve been told there was too much that needed to be taught for us to lighten the load. Again I disagree, what the program rarely manages to acknowledge is personal motivation. Cramming so much content into the curriculum kills motivation. Student burnout is a real thing. I think a lot of the skills taught in product are beneficial but could also be taught as intensive 3 week workshops for example.
 

 
THE TEACHERS I HAVE TO THANK
 
Teachers at ACCD often rise to the level of celebrities within our little ecosystem. That is why I would like to end this written critique by dropping a few names of unsung heroes of mine. Names without whom my experience here would’ve been close to worthless.
 
 
Seth Kaufman (FINE ARTS + GRAPHICS)
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I took a course called Forming Forms with Seth. He was a great teacher because before any critique he asked the student: “What did you try to do here? Did you explore the concept? The craftsmanship?” He would then adapt his crit to the student’s intention while still pointing out anything he felt might be off in either of the aspects of the work. 
 
He also loved to tell stories. Real ones, not sale pitches (as stories are mistaken in the product major), but stories, with people, story arcs that often starred him in his earlier years. In his class I both learned very specific skills: welding, plywood-making but also met various artists and industrials who made a living from forming forms. 
 
I took his class right before leaving to Japan and one of his many “modest” sayings stuck with me: “When I learn a new craft, I master it and then I fuck with it.” My Tama trip couldn’t have been as fruitful without having met him.
 
 
Jane McFadden (FINE ARTS)
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I first took Jane’s History of Performance Art class, before taking Modernism and then doing an independent study with her. Jane always knew what she was talking about. Or not. “Right?!” She would ask. She probably had an idea of where she was headed but always let it guided us with questions. She taught art history as a series of forces, hues, flowing on top and about one another as opposed to a series of chronological facts. 
 
The last comment she left me with was “Have you thought about economy of scale?” Nothing else. It made no sense at first, until a sense built itself around it, I could explain what but it would take a whole other essay. I admire Jane for her vast knowledge and her ability to share it with such meticulous constraint.
 
 
Michael Kontopoulos (GRAPHICS)
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Michael teaches ID3, an interface design class built around the open-source software “Processing.” He started his first day of class with “What tools do you guys use?” A lot of us answered Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, to which he replied, “Do you realize all of those are made by the same company? Adobe?” This is the kind of awareness and critical thinking about techniques, tools, values of the world we live in any teacher in any field should foster. Since then I’ve worked with Michael professionally, TA-ed for him and done an independent study with him as well.
 

 
CONCLUSION
 
My life as it seems to be becoming could not have been as great without Art Center and the staff I met there, but there is still a lot of room from improvement.
 
I’ve come to realize from my experience in student government and speaking to department chairs that majors at Art Center are very separate (sadly), number-crunching machines (how else to explain the increase in students every term?) that respond to a “greater calling” which is to make money and buy real estate. A faculty I met three years ago told me the best way to gain clairvoyance towards an enterprise is to see what it produces.
 
And that’s always been my main problem with Art Center: it is a good trade school trying to be a lot more, without the willingness to experiment enough with what that might mean.
 
I therefore challenge the Product Design department to live up to their promise, the mission statement on their website:
 
“You emerge from our program [...] having developed the tools to visualize the future and the skills to become a creative leader.”

mission statement

trying to figure out how to describe my work… any ideas, feedback, which one responds to you?

KEY POINTS:

Tool making
Prototyping
Diversity
See things happen

1
I live to see things happen. To see algorithms unfold, strangers talk, cities be walked in, thoughts come to life. I live to see how many different ways can things come alive in.

This often and mostly means creating tools, places, spaces for others to then reappropriate, adapt, transform. There is nothing more magical than to be part of such an organic process of creation.

2
Poking at the unknown is a sensitive issue. But a fun one. No debate there.

Uncertainties, doubts, fears will often team up to get in the way of our aspirations. Design has allowed me to build tools and develop habits for myself and others to take the edge off of the process of inquiry and to make it more actionable: prototyping, role playing, generative research.
I live to see things happen, come to life, especially if it brings a refreshing twist on things and lemons.

3
Objects of our everyday deserve to have a life of their own. To mingle with one another, interact, and transform. That’s how it is with nature why not the humans’ contribution to this world? Thoughts are much better at traveling, transforming, why not objects?

My process focuses on asking such questions using ambiguous, often inconsequential objects, getting people to make together and generative design research. In each of those I aim to provide tools for myself and others to challenge our understanding of our surroundings.

Who better than a mirror-mirror on the wall to give us a reality check?

4
Some days I sit at my desk and politely ask for it to come alive. I tickle it, growl at it but it’s never quite responded to my invitation. I’m sure one day it will, in the mean time I strive to pull reality one step closer to my daydreams. Objects are meant to mingle amongst themselves, surprise us, help us, challenge us and live a life of their own. I’d like to help them.

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A short essay on 3D Printing

hugo:

good counter point to 3D printing revolution, asking for a little extra common sense and awraness

Originally posted on hellofosta:

3d rabbits

In order to produce anything, you need three elements: an idea, the means to make the idea, and the money to pay all concerned. For these reasons it comes as no surprise that the entrepreneurial explosion of the early 2000’s has focussed on software. Once the idea is solidified, the manufacturing and shipping of a software product, whilst not exactly simple is at least attainable by a small number of people with basic equipment and minimal outlay. In the world of object production the idea is the least of your worries. Atoms, as it has been said many times before, are difficult to wrangle, the engineering infrastructure, commitment level and financial outlay is significant. Even for a tiny plastic widget the initial tooling can run into many thousands of dollars. There’s a change afoot in the world of atom wrangling however, and it’s name is 3D printing.

I saw my first…

View original 3,623 more words

Urban design (tentative) manifesto

We live in a defined and regularly re-defined urban landscape.

 

It’s definition comes from a few people’s interpretation of space and their understanding of a greater population’s constantly evolving needs and desires, and, their ability to translate those very desires into functional structures willing to cohabit. The structures are introduced into the urban fabric using blueprints that address how they work as “organisms” within the existing ecosystem of pre-existing buildings, what they should look like and what they are meant to enable, in other words how they should be used.

This process leaves little room for appropriation, interpretation and multiplicity.

Since these structures are most of the times our housing situations, our modes of transportation, our workplaces and the third place: cinemas, coffee shops, playgrounds, barber shops, it does, in many ways, make sense to standardise the way such structures should function and often privatise the real-estate dedicated to them, saddly it often seems to alienate the people that live and work in them.

Through the mis-use of standardisation and privatisation of spaces, a relatively feudal mindset of a lord’s kingdom, his rule and his singular vision are revived.

Of course, the streamlining of a structure’s purpose and its implementation can benefit the optimization of the service provided there, however, when blown out out scale it merely kills the life and livelihood of that area. The livelyhood of a given area can be defined as the pleasure one might find in living/being in a given spot.

It is that notion of scale that lives in a peoples’ relationship to an existing system of rules that can be easily re-assesed through simple, anodine, playful interventions as they too offer new rules that come and complement the existing ones.

Hence the crucialness of becoming aware of those rules, how they influence our everyday and how to best adapt them concsiously or inconcsiously to our needs using more maliable rules that directly reflect our quotidian activities, much like throwing that space into a sandbox and seeing how it might be transformed.

 

1// CASUAL ENCOUNTERS This game provides a mean of indicating that its users (self-proclaimed players) are will to speak and meet others aware of the code. This can take place in the metro, in the street, anywhere usually crowded as this activity re-emphasises a notion of individuality for those interested in playing and surpassing the cammouflage of the crowd.

2// FLUXUS-ING THE STATE This game would call for a a re-enactment of codes of duty: how would others (citizens) interpret the codes of conduct and mission statements of government officials and infrastructures. This will shed light on the varrying levels of interpretations and implementations of government infrastructures.

 

it seems there are a lot of things we don’t plan for. graduating was one of those. I cot into college trusting a system without fully realizing how much it was costing me, my parents or my peers. and now I am graduating. tomorrow I start my final term after doing an extra year of what might be considered “hanging out” around campus. in those five (meant to be four) years, I meant a million people and it feels I was just about as many, every two months my outlook on something seems to take a drastic change, enough for me to look back at… a week ago and feel as if I were patronizingly nodding as a teenager fumbles with life. Pimples and all.

Tomorrow is the last deck handed. Five classes in which I will be expected to “find” myself. half of which will address how to be a genuine, powerful, conscious amendment to this world and the world of design. Something that now seems like a joke when two months ago I wasn’t sure I was worth it…

When did school become about defining yourself when you have explored nothing? When did affirmation outrun question? When? It feels like the sense of professionalism my school wishes to embed us with (as unnatural as it sounds) is a mere joke. a 45000 dollars hoax per year.

Then again I may be wrong.

rien ne vaut un lego. rien.

l’absolut est absurde et pourtant. Seems my childhood was woven in absolutes. Unaware but drifting INTO a market mentality I’d flow from Lego to Lego. Though each seemed to me a world of its own only fused by my hand; I had not yet realized they were all tied together in product lines and brand identities. Set after set, box after box, they were packaged realities, so little ambiguity other than the reach of my ingenuity. The were tailor-made or seemed to be. How did I ever think I’d had grown out of them.

After eight years I finally bought a new set. Nothing to regret. It sat in my living room idle. Eying at me, begging for me to fondle, its bricks its tricks. but eight years. Eight years is a long time to numb eagerness. One thing is to buy, another to have, and yet another is to BE having, all too often mistaken for behaving.

That I did, for two weeks I behaved, conditioned: there was work to do, to be done. The question, remains, taunting, the Lego eyeing. So I surrendered, fuck id. almighty id.

In a second, I found myself crouched on the floor, hypnotized by the schemes, rivet-ized by the teams, yellows and blues, blacks and reds dressed in cues. I sat there until friends came over. Blindly giving my minutes and hours to the set. No better way to reset.

When the friends left I played some more. In the morning I set an alarm, I had things to do, but it was necessary for me to start the day fiddling with the Legos. In the end I even woke up before the alarm… Hadn’t done that since I was ten… Wake up earlier than required to play Legos…

Eight years is a while. You have time to see things differently many times. As I followed the instructions on the page, the indications guiding me towards the “proper assembly,” I couldn’t help but to marvel in front of the clever color-coding, the clarity and efficiency of the wordless instructions and the magic of the pieces’ perfect tolerances.

Eight years later it was the first time in a really long time where I felt looked out for. There is a beauty to actively witnessing something that WORKS, without imposing itself on you. Any second I could’ve stopped, made something else. However, it was like a stroll through ones carefully crafted microcosm, where parts of the puzzle respect each other, absorb and absolve one another, I could see all of a sudden where my thirst for “perfection” had had time to thrive. Legos make the world and its humans seem deceivingly fixable. I honestly believe there is no such thing as FIXING society but I now see why I held on to such a belief for so long: it’s reassuring.

Surprisingly, the second I finished the set, I noticed I profound difference with how I would’ve reacted eight years ago: I wanted to give the set (a crane) a personality… Make it speak, or at least grant it a for of expression, perhaps to pull it out of the world of legos into that of unfixable real-life.

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words

seems like we should all have a couple of words we hold dear, we hold sacred, we protect. today so many branding efforts and ad campaigns use “word from the everyday of the ‘people’ ” that they all lose meaning. nothing new indeed, commodification has been around for a while now but it seems a simple form of passive resistance would be to, thus, chose several words that we protect from generalization, that we try to use only when MOST necessary.

mine would be:

play, home, disruptive.

these three i hold dear, and i hear being overused far too much:

“playful design” “kid’s like to play” “serious play”

“home coffee” (where the “baristas”, complete strangers, will tell you “welcome home!”)

“disruptive innovation” “disruptive product” “disruptive idea”

 

the first one to me is meant to be used a lot, but not in a commercial context WHATSOEVER.

the second should never be part of an ad or branding its application should be immense: a shelter, a land, a room, an idea, a group of people can all be homes and it’s important to reserve a word for them

the third one is only to be used in hind sight, in retrospect, “2010 was a disruptive year”, “the internet wasn’t that disruptive”

Scream in the jello

Image

 

two days of cries. different ones. screams of pain and joy. tearing sounds, sounding tears. thrusts, ironically erotic, pathetically dramatic.

1.
throat blown, irritating ideals rip through his flesh. spasms. cries. he rips the air, grasping at things as his lungs and heart puke out his rage. But no one knows where it begins or ends. we are all caught in rapids, begging for respite. from his might. from his plight. fight. fight. we are snorkelers caught in a tsunami of frustration, on a bedrock of gadgets.

as tsunamis do, he will quiet down. rest, it’s soothing and beautiful, torturing also to remember him convulsing two minutes ago. such pain. such maddening pain. until his breathing picks up, his mandibule slaloms, the avalanche is upon us. break, let me break something! FUCK! he cries FUUUUUUUUUUUCK!.

I never saw toys as weapons. I never saw shelves, wheels, tables, vacuum cleaners, as projectiles, then again I had never seen socks dipped in blood either.

It was a night of anger, transformed into terror. He emotional gag reflex had been punched into action, his dam blown, damn blown.

as time went by, particles of fear and anger accumulated the night sky seemed blurrier, our reflexes less willing, our responses less forgiving. the terror had subverted the anger, the outburst turned to “inburst”. what seemed to once be letting go became letting in, letting around, letting into, letting through, caged.

2.
oh my god
she too screamed, but of (forced?) joy. i hadn’t heard (from) her in months. and i wasn’t meant to. the joy was for a friend. another one. the cry crashed into the silence. as a wall might onto a room of jello, unthreatening, “but still.” still. still in silence, still in my silence. so far from the quakes of the previous day. and yet in those cries came similar struggles, thrusts, ironically erotic, pathetically dramatic.

but beautifully chilling none the less. both of them.