7 years, 12 days ago

Lessons from Critical Making: Thingking

Link: https://brendamichelson.com/2017/04/lessons-from-critical-making-thingking/

As technology and data increasingly pervade our everyday, technologists and teams are incorporating new practices, especially design thinking, as a means to deliver digital products, services and experience that fit. The person. The situation. The system.

Teams responsible for these new digital endeavors and transformations often model their practices on elite technology companies, fast moving startups, and digital pioneers. Perfectly logical way to build organizational capability.

But, for individual capability, it’s important to look wider, at practice origins and adjacencies.

An excellent resource is The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice.

I particularly enjoyed John Dunnigan’s essay on Thingking. From the opening:

Artists and designers are form givers who bring ideas into the material world. In the studio we think about things. We think around things and through things. Yes, you could say we are engaged in thingking. Thingking expresses the symbiotic relationship between making and thinking in art and design, between object and idea. It connects critical making and critical thinking and relies on embodied knowledge, practice and research. It integrates multiple ways of knowing and promotes holistic reflection and learning. Thingking is situated in contemporary and historical frames of reference. It includes the making of new artifacts that reflect the effects of the creative act on the maker, user and system.

Thingking also involves engagement as it takes into account the consequences of those processes, phenomena, and artifacts. The presentation and critique of one’s work is a key moment in the process of understanding what we really think. To stand beside an object that represents one’s effort and growth and to get feedback on that performance can be a profound experience. This is often the point at which we compare what we thought we were doing and what actually happened, what discoveries were made along the way and what new doors opened. Though these artifacts may be idiosyncratic, they all tend to be material expressions of the complex interdependent relationships among culture, technology and identity. We brought forth a thing and it shaped us as we shaped it. Thingking.

— John Dunnigan, Professor and Department Head, Furniture Design, RISD in The Art of Critical Making

Thingk about it.