Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Can design reject itself?

This article on Design Observer is about the state of graphic design and illustration, but mentions a book by John Carey called What Good are the Arts? In it, the author contends that literature is the pre-eminent art form because:
it can criticize itself. Pieces of music can parody other pieces, and paintings can caricature paintings. But this does not amount to a total rejection of music and painting. Literature, however, can totally reject literature, and in this it shows itself more powerful and self-aware than any other art.
I have no desire to jump into the 'art or design' fray, but I think it does provoke an interesting question: Can a designed object "totally reject" design? I'm not sure what rejecting design would entail (maybe reading the self-rejection of literature would be helpful?), but it could be a compelling investigation.

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