Nº 276
Editorial:

Failure

Text: Stephan Ott

Design

In 2009, Gary Hustwit entitled his film on (industrial) design, “Objectified”. Even then, that didn’t reflect the full extent of the reality of things. For a long time, it has also been – and today frequently solely is – projectified.

That’s not a fundamentally new insight. After all, an entire art form, the film genre, has been based on projection for over a hundred years, and without imaging techniques some parts of the creative industry wouldn’t exist, such as the games industry. Our everyday life is increasingly determined by interactive objects; the Internet of things is predicted to have a glorious future after it is consolidated and focused. Our world of things changes fundamentally when the object, which is thrown towards us, also becomes what is throwing us forward. There is hardly a catalogue or a shopping experience without augmented reality, we encounter cars whose external mirrors are replaced with cameras and monitors as a standard feature, and exhibitions in which only holograms are displayed instead of real products or spaces.

 

Context

So, is the world of classical objects increasingly doomed to failure? Those who read our Focus section will get at least an inkling that the consequences of failure in the analogue world have historically been, and currently are, for example in furniture making, completely different than in the digital world, for example in software development. Any action is threatened by the possibility of failure while the consequences depend on the time or status of the project. A drawback may have a less severe effect than a flop – or depending on the perspective and character, precisely the reverse. In any case, the entire spectrum of failure can oscillate between finality and a creative technique. However, it would be premature to draw the conclusion from this fact that failure is fundamentally an opportunity to be grasped.

 

 

Situation

Projections also change our way of dealing with things. This is nothing new, but remains a challenge, whether in daily contact with our digital devices, in the areas of education and upbringing or when back-translating digital data into the analogue world. The return to traditional techniques may also be helpful here for harmonising our perception. Despite all affinity for projection, we humans remain haptic and olfactory beings or, formulated more drastically: we remain human only as haptic and olfactory beings. Design can and should do more here with its methods than just providing smart concepts for satisfying the urge for exclusively audiovisual stimuli.

In this sense we wish you – and ourselves – not friction-free reading, but, figuratively speaking, noise-free reading.

 

Stephan Ott, Editor-in-Chief

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