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DESMA 10 fall 2007
Professor Erkki Huhtamo

TA Andrea Boeck
TA Ted Diehl

TA Andrew Kao

TA Alexandra Loew
TA Aaron Siegel



Design Culture

Design has become a powerful force in contemporary culture and society. It surrounds us wherever we go. It has an impact on us, whether we are aware of it or not. It is becoming increasingly difficult to state where design ends and phenomena like art, architecture and popular media begin. It is not easy to provide a definition for all the things the word “design” is supposed to denote. One thing is certain: design is not just about creating “cool” looking things; it is much more than that. Among other things, it is also an ideology that affects our ways of seeing the world. It is a form of communication - by creating or using certain designs we send messages about ourselves to others. Desma 10 provides a broad overview of the phenomena that make up design culture. It demonstrates that design does not only mean the "high design" of famous star designers and design companies. The most efficient design is often invisible - devices like door knobs and traffic lights help us without drawing attention to themselves as design(ed) objects. To understand design culture we must pay attention to both kinds of objects. We also have to explain the motives that guide their planning, their marketing, their reception and their uses. The lectures will discuss the main movements and trends in design as a cultural and social phenomenon. Particular emphasis will be given to the interconnections between design and technology. The relationship between design and art will also be explored in various contexts from the Victorian era to early 20th century modernism; from the 1960s pop culture to Postmodernism. Demonstration material ranging from classical industrial design to recent postmodern design trends will be presented.

READER: the reader will be available next week at CopyMat, Westwood Village , 925 Westwood Boulevard (cross street Le Conte), tel: 310-824-5276.

TEXT: John Heskett's book is now available for purchase at the LuValle bookstore.

Articles of Interest

About alarm clocks: please check the following webpage for examples about annoying alarm clocks. This link was sent to my by student Anand Sharma (thanks!): http://www.uberreview.com/2006/03/top-ten-most-annoying-alarm-clocks.htm

Loos "Ornament and Crime" readings:
excerpt 1
excerpt 2

Reading for Friday 10/12: "Design Culture and Semiotics"

Erkki Huhtamo: "Slots of Fun, Slots of Trouble: An Archaeology of Arcade Gaming"

Erkki Huhtamo: "From Cybernation to Interaction: A Contribution to an Archeology of Interactivity"