Level 4, Mini Block 3, Contemporary Design Practice

In mini block 1, you were asked to choose a variety of objects to create your own mini exhibition, following one of the themes of the lectures as a point of reference.  In mini block 2 the assignment brief required you to select an object that was on public display in a museum and consider it according to the lectures.
For this mini block we again ask you to focus on an object and once again using the themes of the lectures as a basis for that selection.  However, this assignment, you do not need to choose an object on public display in a museum or gallery, but rather an object that is easily and readily accessible.  It is up to you to choose whether it is in a domestic, urban or commercial setting..  It might be a building, something easily bought in a supermarket, a magazine advertisement or a piece of cloth.
The only requirements are
It should have been designed and manufactured after 1985.
It must be publicly accessible and be seen by you and your lecturers.
It must not be an item you carry on your person.
Please note; you are not being asked to discuss a type, range, brand, genre or group of objects, but rather one particular object.
Whatever the object you choose, you must document, discuss and photograph its environment and it must address one of the themes of this mini block. Whichever theme you choose you should take into account the points raised in that theme, see below.
The themes of this mini block are.
Technique to Technology
Key Words; obsolescence, material, designer, market, price, future.
This theme should explore the issues related to where the designer fits within the manufactured/making process of the object selected.  In understanding the shift from technique to technology is the designer an instrument of technology or the master of it?  How constrained is the designer by the limits of technology and themselves?  In this theme the material both as a commodity and as an object should be examined?  How does the materials used impact on the design of the object, how can the materials selected influence the use of the object, how has the designer determined, which material to utilise?  Finally in your conclusion, you should reflect on how this object will be viewed in the future.  Will the object be seen as a turning point for that genre of object, for the process, material or design?  How will history decide?

Ethics and Sustainability
Key words; disposable, pollution, life cycle, safe, topography, efficiency, obsolescence, price, materials,
Should you choose the theme ‘ethics and sustainability’ you must examine both aspects of this title, which is ethics and sustainability.  The object selected should be viewed in terms of its environmental impact in terms of the design process, manufacturing, materials, packaging and marketing.  The study should also reflect on the cost and benefits to the immediate environment.  Can the production of yet more objects ever be ethical?  Finally in your conclusion, with your chosen object, make an appraisal of its ‘green’ credentials on the balance of evidence you have found.  Provide a compelling argument why you think the object you have selected with be given a positive or negative reception in the annals of design history?
Post Colonialism
Key words; nationhood, identity, racism, imperialism, substitutes
For this theme you should consider how colonialism and post-colonialism has influenced design and the subsequent meaning of the object you have selected.    Depending on your object, this may need to make reference to geography, design, materials, manufacture or market.  Using Roland Barthes from the second mini block, decode your object and undertake a detailed analysis of this object, consider carefully how you use and understand the term post-colonialism.  Finally in your conclusion, view your evidence and consider if this object in the future will carry those overt or subliminal references into the future, or will we or history forget those signifiers?
Global and Digital Economy
Key words; brand, identity, distribution, morality, local, connectivity, communication
Is your chosen object a product of the individual designer, or is it a reflection of their regional, ethnic or national culture?  Can a designer be anything other than a product of their society and culture?  Can and should a designer masquerade?
You should explain the object in this context and then consider the utopia or morality of the global digital economy.  Does the object or its designer or manufacturer break down national borders, stereotypes and prejudices or does it create new ones?  Do you recognise any of these in your object?  Can a product or design be global and local, can this work for the individual designer or the large corporate companies?
Finally in your conclusion, having researched your object and considered the points above, you should consider whether the global and digital economy should be seen as the nail in the coffin of regional, ethnic or national culture or whether it positively enhances regional and ethnic identity and whether your object is an example of this?

Your introduction should introduce your object, indicate where it is located or can be found (with map if necessary) and include a clear photograph of the object (images taken from the internet are not acceptable).  Your essay should centre on this object, this is the main focus of the essay and all the points you have been asked to consider should have this object in mind.
Like the two previous mini block assignments this work should be well researched, referenced and illustrated.  Your essay must include at least 4-6 excellent quality and relevant images to support your essay. They must be considered carefully and referenced correctly.

Your essay should follow this basic format:  Introduction, Main body (which presents your argument, evidenced by your research) Conclusion, Bibliography. It should be easy to read and presented professionally (how to do this is clearly laid out in the CCS guidelines: read this carefully).

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