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February 23, 2012 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-02-23

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
From Page 1B
the 20th century - it has shaped
the world we know. But we're in
the 21st century now, and design
has expanded beyond the indus-
trial and into newer disciplines.
Designing the future
Marshall outlined three of
these new forms of design that
students are beginning to work
with. There is "user-centered
design," which analyzes and tests
the behavior of use in product
design. There is also "experience
design," which considers group
or individual needs across a wide
range of disciplines. And there
is "emotionally durable design,"
which answers questions of obso-
leteness, such as "why do users
discard products that still work?"
Marshall described that the
term "industrial design" cannot Robert
adequately encompass these new
elements of design. Instead, Mar- lines s
shall explained, we need a new system
way of talking about designers. As
Marshall and many of his col- import
leagues call this discipline "inter- examp
action design." with a
Studying and solving prob- to any
lems of interaction, this new form intensi
of design aims to highlight the tion h
interdisciplinary possibilities of seismo
design. a more
"I believe interaction design is earthq
to the 21st century what industri- Wht
al design was to the 20th," Mar- edge o
shall said. " 'Interaction' is not his wor
the same thing as 'interactivity' - al appi
we're not just talking about point- - by s
ing and clicking. It has as much to tangibi
*do with behavioral psychology, "I'm
software and system design as how c
it does with form, texture, color interac
and whether or not (a product) not jus
can be injection molded in vast ing ov
quantities from carcinogenic, is expr
non-biodegradable plastic." That it
A growing number of students before
at the University are utilizing thingu
these ideas. Alex
Rackham student Robert true w
Alexander is working toward by mr
a Ph.D. in Design Science. tion re
Through the program, a group of 44,100
highly skilled Ph.D. candidates, of aud.
all trained in different fields, ferent
come together to solve issues hear e
across diverse disciplines. As a the sut
fellow for NASA, Alexander's and wi
work with solar-heliospheric traditi(
research applies concepts of solar e
interaction design. the sta
Unlike a traditional design- solar d
er, Alexander's background is
in music and multimedia. He Fr
received his undergraduate
degree and masters at the Uni- Wit
versity, the former in the School design,
of Music, Theatre & Dance and currict
the latter in the School of Art & all the
Design. However, what truly sets and flui
him apart is that he doesn't work atively
with physical materials, but rath- ing mo
er designs sound through a pro- Desi
cess known as audification. traces
Audification is the process of guilds.I
taking large data sets, rendering ditiona
them into audible frequencies design
and then manipulating those files Bauhat
- much in the way a producer centur

would - to tease new patterns popula
and results out of samples. Alex- and the
ander designs the programs that alent i
translate this data and the inter- school
faces that allow him to explore Walt
those files. the Bar
"The way I usually explain 1919 m
what I do is to relate back to model
old-school recording studios," energy
Alexander said. "Back in the day, reunite
audio data was stored on mag- - scut
netic tape as variations in mag- crafts,
netic intensity. Currently, there To
are satellites out in space that are the Ba
equipped with magnetometers, with
which similarly pick up changes class t
in magnetic intensity. If we lis- emotio
ten to the data stream, then we're 2-D di
essentially able to turn these sat- perspe
ellites into fancy recording stu- studen
dios, where the sun becomes our three-y
performer with its magnetic field in glas

Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 3B

Ufumous on

Alexander uses design to analyze sound waves in order to more accurately measure them.

wirling through the solar
Alexander explained, the
ant difference between his
le and audification is that
udification, you can listen
data - not just magnetic
ty. For example, audifica-
as been utilized in both
logy and brain surgery as
accurate measurement of
wakes and tumors.
at places Alexander at the
f interaction design is how
rk changes the convention-
roach to interpreting data
earching for a tactile and
le way to explore it.
interested in redefining
reativity and technology
t," Alexander said. "You're
it with a mouse and pour-
er data, since data simply
ansive for those methods.
tteraction needs to change
you can extrapolate any-
ander proved this to be
hen he demonstrated that
anipulating his audifica-
search - which utilized
data samples in a second
io - and listening to dif-
sample atoms, he could
ruptions of the surface of
n faster, more precisely
th more accuracy than any
onal methods of mapping
vents. His process now sets
ndard for measuring that
rom Bauhaus to BFA
h such new frontiers for
, the 'U' has developed a
lum rigid enough to teach
necessary design methods
rid enough to expand cre-
alongside the ever-chang-
dern design world.
ign as a trainable method
back to medieval craft
However, we owe the "tra-
l" approach to art-and-
education to the German
us School of the early 20th
y. It was their model that
rized industrial design,
eir principles are still prev-
n the majority of design
ter Gropius, founder of
uhaus School, wrote in his
anifesto that the Bauhaus
strove to focus creative
into a single form and to
the different techniques
lpture, painting, handi-
etc. - into a single model.
facilitate this unification,
ruhaus curriculum began
a six-month preparatory
hat "trained" the senses,
ms and the mind first in
sciplines and then in 3-D
ctives. Following this,
its of the Bauhaus began a
year track of specialization
ss, stone, textiles, wood,

etc., before being apprenticed
to a set of masters. After train-
ing, a Bauhaus student often had
considerable exposure but only
a single technical craft, and the
era of the specialized industrial
designer was born.
According to Marshall, the
School of Art & Design mimics
these Bauhaus principles to an
extent. This, he suggests, can be
seen in the early undergradu-
ate requirements and in the
school's single Bachelor of Fine
Arts degree. However, Marshall
explains that because the pro-
gram becomes increasingly fluid
and open in the later years of the
curriculum, the structure is actu-
ally a hybrid model that takes the
most important components of
the Bauhaus model and adjusts
them for the 21st-century class-
In the School of Art & Design,
the core classes break down into
four major programs distributed
over the first two years of under-
graduate work. Students begin
with Fundamentals of Drawing,
which covers the mechanics of
the craft - technical drawing,
design drawing, illustration and
life-drawing - in a manner very
similar to the Bauhaus model.
Next, students take Digital Stu-
dio, in which they learn about
2-D and 3-D computer design and
manipulation by following a simi-
lar program of drafting and pro-
"The effect of all this core
work is to teach students to think
visually across different tech-
niques," said Joann McDaniel,
assistant dean for undergradu-
ate programs. "The core material
teaches a language of technique
that aims to change a designer's
perspective through a range of
materials and processes."
But some professors at the
School of Art & Design think this
curriculum is not enough for new
Their ideas stem from Don-
ald Norman, whose work with
design theory is respected as
some of the most progressive
around. The company he co-
founded, the Nielsen Norman
Group, has done design consult-
ing for BMW, UICO and Ness
Computer (the latter two com-
panies work with smartphones
and touchscreens). In addition to
his work at the corporate level,
Norman also travels around
the world, studying design pro-
grams at the collegiate level.
Though he is not connected to
the 'U,' his writing and work has
had an effect on how the School
of Art & Design perceives the
role of the designer.
One of the key issues Norman
cites is the abundance of tech-
nique being taught to students.
His argument is that students
need to be taught technique, but

only to a point.
Instead of mastering a tech-
nique, students need to learn how
to use their technical skills to
solve problems over diverse rang-
es of materials and disciplines,
McDaniel explained.
"It's important that our stu-
dents get a fuller foundation out-
side of just technique," McDaniel
said. "Technique is vital, but it
is not driving design. Design is
driven by solving problems, so
we need to fuel the creativity and
inquiries of our students instead
of bogging them down in material
Focusing on this creative
inquiry then, the School of Art &
Design's students transition from
answering questions of form to
solving questions of function.
This shift is paramount to the
future of design, but it comes
with a new set of challenges.
"As the aim of design becomes
more and more about interac-
tions and problem solving, stu-
dents need new ways to view
their work," McDaniel said.
"Assumptions need to be checked
and designers need to consider a
larger picture than just aesthetics
of design."
Marshall explained that these
skills are vital to the development
and organization of students'
own projects. The core studios
that focus on concept, form and
context provide students with
opportunities to develop curios-
ity and rigor, create responses
to open-ended assignments and
develop appropriate criteria for
assessing their own projects. Stu-
dents learn how to make the most
of their studio time, to practice
new skills and, above all, to ask
probing questions.
"We actively encourage stu-
dents to pursue interests out-
side the School of Art & Design,"
McDaniel said. "It just doesn't
make sense to isolate a designer
and artist. We have some of the
best schools all across the board
- music, engineering, science,
literature, sociology, psychol-
ogy - and they all intersect with
industrial design."
The design world of today is
very different from the design
world of the past. As it contin-
ues to change, schools may break
away more and more from the
traditional methodologies that
dictated industrial design in the
now past industrial era. At the
University, the School of Art &
Design has already developed an
important curriculum focused on
the intersection of art and design,
where it both teaches traditional
technique and encourages the
future exploration of form and
function. Industrial design may
become obsolete in the 21st cen-
tury, but the School of Art &
Design may stay ahead of the

tures a
on sim
their cu
By day,
walk at
us as st
and frie
But bys
are the
rities o
Not act
who ha
ter, any
as their
every n
so we a
ter ace
every n
ers nat
on Facr
ties we
to seer
what tI
act, an.
in our t
them t
like En
the gu
could b
the ser
avoid a
ing the
up on t
ters. Yr
ball ga

hey have 2,000 Face- bongo man, at the bar dressed
book friends, over 100 in head-to-toe spandex, and hey
likes on their profile pic- ... they're crazy enough to do it,
nd get 20-30 comments so naturally we want to see it.
ple statuses regarding the Their latest stunts are our latest
r or 30-minute procrastination ses-
rrrent sions in the UGLi and the pic-
song. tures we gawk at all week.
they Finally, there are people who
nong are just friends with everyone
udents in real life. And on Facebook,
ends. that's taken to the next extreme.
social Facebook shows us who we
k, they HALEY "may know," a.k.a. people every-
celeb- GOLDBERG one else seems to know. Once
f the you friend the popular person
sity with 30 mutual friends, so does
the Facebook celebrities. your friend who now has 31
ual Hollywood stars or mutual friends, and the spiral
s - just typical students continues. Pretty soon, another
ve turned into viral phe- Facebook celebrity is born.
ons. While there are a ton of
ugh Facebook and Twit- other ways to become Face-
student now has the book famous (or infamous), we
to brand themselves and have to wonder how everyday
a following. They work people can turn their lives into
'own paparazzi - mup- something we want to watch
pictures of their most and follow. Maybe it's that with
nights out, tagged in Facebook and Twitter, celebri-
ots documenting their ties and average people are low-
nove at Rick's or Skeeps ered to the same playing field to
an follow them just as demonstrate their popularity.
as any national celebrity. We now have the ability to cre-
networks allow people to ate a following and a fan base
se and display their lives, to show our lives off to every-
a Facebook page or Twit- one like celebrities have done
ount equivalent to a TMZ through the years. And Face-
lens by showingus the book celebrities aren't tucked
rove of these students- away in Hollywood - they're
iral. right in Ann Arbor, walking by
us in the Diag as we pretend to
ignore the fact that we know
[hat does it exactly what they did last night
and what they're trying to hide
e to make it? with that scarf around their
With Facebook celebrities,
we don't have to wait for the
t exactly makes a Face- latest issue of People to find out
elebrity is difficult to who they're dating and what
e. First, there are the type of heels they wore to their
ooking people that oth- latest night out at Rick's. We
orally envy and follow have instant access to a view of
ebook, just like the how they live their lives - and
ive Hollywood celebri- the best part is, they're the ones
all chase. People like giving us the inside look. What
what the beautiful do, makes a celebrity is a following,
hey wear and how they and in today's social networking
d we take these people world, it's easier for the average
environment and raise person to gain followers than
o celebrity status through ever.
'ok. The girl who looks So, has Facebook turned into
nma Watson's sister and the new Hollywood? No. But it's
y in your chem class who crafted its own form of celebrity:
be twins with Ryan Gos- the Facebook celebrity. And
ll obviously be receiving while these people may not make
requests from you after their living off their celebrity
aester ends while you can status, they still gain the same
wkwardly acknowledg- following and recognition in Ann
m in person. They're Arbor as stars will find in Holly-
ful, and thanks to their wood. They're the celebrities that
phones, they let us catch walk, tweet and mupload among
'heir lives like a nightly us, and in the world of Facebook,
e of Entertainment they're the ones we're friending.

t on Facebook.
n there are the charac-
ou see them before foot-
mes dancing with the

Goldberg is Facebook
stalking you. To stop her,
e-mail hsgold@umich.edu.

I I- -

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