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The Politics of the Artificial

Essays on Design and Design Studies

Emerging from the world of commercial art and product styling, design has now become completely integrated into human life. Its marks are all around us, from the chairs we sit on to the Web sites on our computer screens.

One of the pioneers of design studies and still one of its most distinguished practitioners, Victor Margolin here offers a timely meditation on design and its study at the turn of the millennium and charts new directions for the future development of both fields. Divided into sections on the practice and study of design, the essays in The Politics of the Artificial cover such topics as design history, design research, design as a political tool, sustainable design, and the problems of design’s relation to advanced technologies. Margolin also examines the work of key practitioners such as the matrix designer Ken Isaacs. Throughout the book Margolin demonstrates the underlying connections between the many ways of reflecting on and practicing design. He argues for the creation of an international, interdisciplinary field of design research and proposes a new ethical agenda for designers and researchers that encompasses the responsibility to users, the problems of sustainability, and the complicated questions of how to set boundaries for applying advanced technology to solve the problems of human life.

Opinionated and erudite, Victor Margolin’s The Politics of the Artificial breaks fresh ground in its call for a new approach to design research and practice. Designers, engineers, architects, anthropologists, sociologists, and historians will all benefit from its insights.

284 pages | 71 halftones | 7 x 8-1/2 | © 2002

Art: American Art, Art--General Studies


Table of Contents

Thinking about Design at the End of the Millennium
Design at the Crossroads
The Experience of Products
Ken Isaacs: Matrix Designer
Expansion or Sustainability: Two Models of Development
Design for a Sustainable World
The Politics of the Artificial
Design History in the United States, 1977-2000
Narrative Problems of Graphic Design History
Micky Wolfson’s Cabinet of Wonders
Design History and Design Studies
The Two Herberts
The Multiple Tasks of Design Studies
Illustration Credits

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