The problem of Research and Design:

Our previous lecture was on the essay of Christopher Frayling, his; ‘RCA Research papers 1993/4’, “Research in art and design”, which describe the practices of art and how it can be defined. He creates three completely new categories of research in/ through/of the arts.

He concentrates namely on the stereotypes of the art world; mostly what the common ‘nobodies’ opinion seems to mean: “Recently the opposing tendency has emerged – largely as the pragmatic result of decisions about government funding of higher education – where the word has come to be associated with; what artists, ‘craftspeople’ and designers do all the time anyway”

Frayling comments on the artistic clichés of ‘artistic’ people being presented as expressive and non cognitive people, claiming that “there could never be a popular movie made about a non-expressive artist.”

There are distinct categories that are separated, as he notes; Designers, Research Scientists and Artistic Practice. Designers are split into ‘Pre 1980’s’ – the “Boffin” who has a strong presence in sci-fi and is known for ‘pragmatic doing’, and the ‘80’s onward’ – “TV” style obsessed people who are always in search of the latest big thing. The Research Scientists are split into the ‘sinners’ – fictional scientists who are deranged diabolical overreaches, and the ‘saints’ the actual true-life scientists presented as humanitarians. Then, finally the Artistic Practice where the artist is known for neglecting the cognitive dimension of artistic practice.

The phrases “into/through/of” are also as similarly easily ‘defined’. Research ‘into’ is a legitimate form of standard research of aesthetic surveys, ‘through’ is the applied aspect: the finding of new materials, modern technology and investigation through testing. And Research ‘for’ art and design is the works that are to “speak for themselves.”


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