Change of address: redefining the boundaries of the contemporary 'design museum'

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Subjected to the arts methods of criticism and similarly exhibited in the style of the 'white cube' gallery, design has yet to develop its own discursive language of criticism. This is exemplified by the phenomenon of the contemporary design museum. Design within the museum offers the visitor a partial, and inadequate, experience due to the fact that a functional artifact is presented solely as an object of aesthetic, and especially visual, interest. The emphasis is placed on very specific (i.e. exterior/form) elements of design. The visitor is given little or no opportunity to appreciate the artifact in a more comprehensive way - appreciating the setting for which it was originally intended or the function it was designed to fulfill. As a result, a more meaningful dialogue with the products on display is denied. An opportunity exists to explore new ideas and new possibilities for design museums in order to generate a better understanding of the design disciplines among the general public. This paper puts forward a possible solution in the form of a systematic web based design platform. The platform offers a basis for enabling the creation of a discursive space, as well as a participatory discourse, for design. What is presented is a new take on the traditional communication media employed by the design museum and an exploration into the relationship between design, communication and emerging mobile technologies. The project is supported by the newfound potential of ubiquitous technologies to alter the ways in which we relate to objects and spaces. It aims to offer a first hand experiential approach to design education and visitor experience, enabling members of the general public to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of contemporary product design. It presents design as a seamlessly integrated element in our lives while placing emphasis on the significance of first hand experiential engagement as well as on the importance of context as it relates to formulating an appreciation and understanding of design.
Bibliography: p. 159-164
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Russell, G. (2007). Change of address: redefining the boundaries of the contemporary 'design museum' (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/1536