“Design has to work. Art does not.” – Donald Judd
Judd’s famous design quote was brought up in critique which made me feel all sorts of ways. Today’s critique and final presentations made me feel similarly exhausted. Seeing all the amazing work that was made is one thing, but questioning the boundary between art and design and if it needs to be defined. I don’t think Judd’s quote is all encompassing or always true. Obviously things like this are open for interpretation.
Today I presented the final collaborative installation and we had final critique in section. Our guest critic was Emily Rye from the Design Agency; my Type I teacher last fall and where I had interned over the summer last year. It was great to have her see my work now and, with her knowing my background before, she was able to give in-depth feedback. The installation was fun; or it seems like they had fun making it.
Critique was very constructive. The hard-work was recognized, the integration of Japanese and English in the zine was commended and pleasing, but there was a lot of criticism, confusion and contention over different elements of the project. I had too many concepts going on and the use of Japanese was confusing. I don’t think I did the best job explaining everything, I didn’t really know how to introduce this project to be honest. It has been a crazy ride with a ton of learning and iterative making; I definitely struggled pulling it all together into a final conclusive form or statement in the end.
Of course the common, “where’s your voice” was brought up and also the “this isn’t engaging with the public enough.” “What are you trying to say?” “What did you learn about community?” “Why Japanese?” “I don’t understand everything you are going for here.”
I don’t think design needs to be so explicit. I think depending on the context, having multiple reads and confusion can be compelling. With my project, I didn’t want it to be something that was so easily-digestible in one read (of less than five minutes). I wanted it to communicate and bring people to question. I wanted there to be deeper meaning and thinking, but I understand not everything can be conveyed in the first read. I don’t think it has to be.
Of course I have many thoughts and feelings about the feedback today and my project in general. I wish I could have done more, pushed myself more and made more and been more conclusive, but I honestly worked my butt off on this project every week and had no spare time to do anything more. Wishing for more is nice; I understand and accept the criticism on different aspects of my project, and I don’t need to be commended for everything or at all, I just hope it was understood that to me this project is over for now. But not something that I invisioned as being a topic that can be quickly resolved or a process of design or design product that is finished.