Research Perspectives at Konstfack

10 October, 2009 - 12:31

Ramia Mazé is currently participating in the Research Perspectives course at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. The course introduces all incoming MA/MFA students at Konstfack to new research-related concepts and modes of intellectual inquiry and develops critical, methodological and communication skills. It is led by Rolf Hughes, Guest Professor in Theory and Practice-Based Research; Ramia has been on the faculty of the course for the last three years.

As part of the course, Ramia gave a lecture on Oct 8:

Material Practice, Critical PracticeThis lecture focused on research in art, crafts and design in terms of 'material' and 'critical' aspects particular to this area of knowledge, theory and practice. The introduction discussed 'practice' in different fields and at different scales, and challenges with respect to the history and contemporary situation of art, craft and design schools, disciplines, and professions, relating to arguments by Christopher Frayling and Richard Buchanan. The 'Material Practice' section of the lecture examined arts&crafts history, activity and communities of practice in relation to embodied/embedded knowledge, pointing to basic concepts in the field and contemporary cases, including the work of Sheila Kennedy and from the Interactive Institute's IT+Textiles project. The 'Critical Practice' section argued for critical thinking in contemporary practice and a history of criticality in related fields such as architecture. In architecture, this traced a shift from the critical- to post-critical (with examples of practice) and, in more recent fields of industrial, graphic, interaction and experience design, the contemporary relevance of criticality with respect to how designers relate to and craft practices around new modes of production/consumption. Examples included Dexter Sinister and Dunne & Raby, with the Interactive Institute's Switch! project as an example of a 'material thesis' involving critical objects to situate a performative and participatory discourse among stakeholders. Underlying the discussion were references to Stan Allens' writings on material versus hermaneutic practices and post/critical notions of theory construction.