Abstract

If, following Rancière, politics revolves around who has power to articulate ‘the sensible’, then designers, as aesthetic practitioners, must be caught up in questions of politics. This is particularly so when design practice becomes part of the way public sector actors negotiate, envision and catalyse change in relation to public ‘problems’. However, this is also typically a form of design practice that eschews any talk of aesthetics — presenting as de-skilled, democratic and ‘de-aestheticised’, in a sense. By analysing and re-describing such design practice in aesthetic terms here — illustrated with an example from practice — we provide an alternative characterisation to the more instrumental account of design as a reliable route to innovation for public sector managers. This opens up a different perspective on what such practices function to achieve, and what is at stake: an effacing of the political nature of design decisions, and an obscuring of the real work of change by the seductive techniques of simulation.

Keywords:

design; public sector; aesthetics; politics

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Share

COinS
 
Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Aestheticising Change: simulations of progress

If, following Rancière, politics revolves around who has power to articulate ‘the sensible’, then designers, as aesthetic practitioners, must be caught up in questions of politics. This is particularly so when design practice becomes part of the way public sector actors negotiate, envision and catalyse change in relation to public ‘problems’. However, this is also typically a form of design practice that eschews any talk of aesthetics — presenting as de-skilled, democratic and ‘de-aestheticised’, in a sense. By analysing and re-describing such design practice in aesthetic terms here — illustrated with an example from practice — we provide an alternative characterisation to the more instrumental account of design as a reliable route to innovation for public sector managers. This opens up a different perspective on what such practices function to achieve, and what is at stake: an effacing of the political nature of design decisions, and an obscuring of the real work of change by the seductive techniques of simulation.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.