design °°•


As the role of digital commercial products expand in the (un)conscious mind of 21st century publics we begin to forget we are in a state of becoming autopoietic cyborg-capital. We have mastered the copy + paste method and entered an inescapable state of tautology. We have naturalized our cybernetic implants because we have hidden the wires and analog buttons. We have made code switching between the digital and analog mind untenable. We no longer seek the contiguity of things that have deep connections to a larger multiplicity of entanglements of which lifeworlds are made. We have begun an inward spiral into the ever-minute universe of bits and datatypes that can be severed, quantified, processed, and systematized. We imagine the unterritorialized as a possibility of being. We produce for dominant institutions that render those unlike us invisible and keep them silent. The subaltern is not seen nor heard in “the cloud.” We do not care for translation as theory of the unknowable, but only as method of reifying the known. We design products and in turn they design our subject position. We are born a product and fulfill our function through dominating institutions and learn to embody this domesticating condition as success.


The human production of ideas begins with the craft we employ to represent them. Using design as a site of counterhegemonic intervention, one can begin to make visible the transgressions that have inflicted harm in our most vulnerable populations. Many of these unrecognized, ignored, and ‘un-designed-for’ peoples are indirectly affected by our failures to recognize designer implicit bias, as a form of collateral design damage. As we strive to give our ideas form in artifactual design, we must ask ourselves the following: • Who is the imagined consumer and more importantly who is performing the act of imagining (other than me)? • For whom do I ultimately design and not at all? • How does my design exclude, harm, empower, disable, forget, silence, hide, and consume those beyond my target “user”? • Who is the potentially unimagined user in my design? • What does ethnicity, gender, ableism, construction of race, sexual preference, and ethics have to do with my design? • What ideologies and system of values are inherent in my design process and design thinking? • Can I and how do I design for alterity and the unknown? • What analog solutions are possible without my digital design? • What analog processes, especially human involvement, are connected, related, or entangled with my digital design? • How does my design hide or make the human touchpoints visible or invisible?


• I must document the answers to my design approach along with my background for every project I complete, even if it is just to remind myself of my complicity. • I will keep asking not only if, but when, where, and how I can design for alterity through a critical reflexive approach. • I am aware that I can (only) truly represent myself and others only with a degree of similitude. • I must remain aware that there may be a subaltern group using my artifact in unexpected ways, even when I do not know where or who they are exactly. • I will remain aware that I indirectly design for the subaltern and alterity in general. • I must continually seek out to answer these critical design questions.