Critical Material Culture: Week 2.

In today’s session we have learnt about the importance of the washing machine in design as it has given people freedom. It allows people to dictate when they would like their clothes to be washed. however it explains to us how your social freedom can be taken away with these technical advances: Freedom = freedom from social relationships = isolation. The more things you own, the more you may feel ‘free’ to do what you want – but, you are isolated from something else.

In places like llevinton town, they give the town washing machines for this exact reason of stopping people coming together. By doing this they believed that it would stop communism groups and prevent things such as the McCarthy witch hunts. Laundrettes allowed the opportunity for people to become radicalised. Another example of this would be the racist bridges that were introduced to stop public transport from going over bridges, because people of colour frequently used public transport, so these bridges isolated them from white people. From his we can see how things become designed to push the world in a specific direction, designing how we behave.

In a group task we were told to map the ways in which an object has changed social relationships.

on demand tv task

Redirective Practice 

Redirective practise means directing your design so it is more sustainable – within the designing process. Sometimes being sustainable results in unstustainabilty. e.g reduction to environmental impact than the increase the production on a larger scale because its seen as sustainable creating a volume of the unsustainable aspect: same amount/rising impact.bThe idea is to seek ways in which we can re-think our ideas as practitioners to make them have a better impact on our society and our future.

In a corporation market growth is seen more important than sustainability the term green increases sales, corporations study anthropology to seek new areas/situations that prompt new products- discloses brand loyalty. this elevates the seriousness importance and the future potential of design.

Redirectve practice should happen in the process of design and not after, we should try to redesign our ideas at the development stage to achieve a stainable outcome, this would then cut out the unsustainable aspect we may have factored into our design, unintentionally, before production. This means we don’t have to go back to find a solution for our design to counter act the fault. redirective design should be always on going. to do this we will need to apply new knowledge and new understanding to all our designs. To achieve redirective design, we need to apply the current knowledge and understanding of sustainability to our ideas. It brings together economy, political and cultural divides.

Tony Fry (2008) explains that we need to work within a “meta-discipline” which allows us to exchange knowledge with other practitioners, other professions and the society resulting in the richest form of knowledge about ways to make designing sustainable. By working with other in this way, what we  “…enable is a practical transformations of knowledge in action”. Fry (2008) also claims  “Redirective practice elevates the seriousness, importance and future potential of design.” therefore taking this approach without our work will only benefit us personally as designers.

When thinking about our future, all designer must decide whether to embrace redirective design or not and sacrifice the future. Fry (2008) claims “We humans constantly de-future our future being by design and in so doing we sustain the present and sacrifice the future.”

As a graphic communicator the process of my design is not very sustainable and often redirective practise is not normally considered. This is due to the use of power that is normally used to run designer programs such as photoshop, indesign etc. even when producing commodities for graphic design, this can also be very unsustainable as a lot of power can go into printing and a lot of paper can be wasted during this. when thinking about how I can make my practice follow redirective design, things such as digital posters could be made to therefore reduce paper waste and allow the posters to be reusable. Its hard to link graphic design directly to redirective practice as we primarily focus on designing to produce and not actually producing it.


  • new design greater authority- support from others
  • acceptance of continual process everything designed goes on designing
  • understanding design is political is required as prior consideration for redirect design to happen
  • sustainment has to dictate design. asking what is unstustanible? to determine It and how design can contribute to selection.
  • all practitioners must choose to embrace redirective design
  • change in community
  • designing in time – examining what is likely to or could shape the future
  • then what should / should not be factored into design
  • how we act in making a place for ourselves in the material world we live

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