Top 10 Short Reads
Design My Privacy, Tijmen Schep (2016)
This brilliantly witty book was a gift from a friend in Singapore! It was my first read regarding the issue surrounding privacy design, provoking me to reconstruct my design ethics to consider the safety of the mass. Surveillance is the business model of the internet — we track, and are being tracked. As designers, how can we create environments that are both smart and safe altogether? What a thought worth pondering on.
Group Efforts: Changing Public Space, Gavin Brownin (2015)
I have always been intrigued by the design of public spaces. They are constantly changing, constantly engaging, constantly redesigned with every interaction. They offer relief from the grid and the grind of our concrete jungle. In this book, GSAPP redefines how we read and inhabit these spaces by appropriating, reframing, and renaming its language. The selection of projects presented here reinvigorates the street as vital political and social spheres, transforming culture collaboratively through group efforts.
Fellow Readers: Notes on multiplied language, Robin Kinross (1994)
If you are a Kinross fan, this is an essay not to miss! In this piece of writing, Kinross explores the construction of meaning through words and typography. We know the world only through the medium of language. Meaning is arbitrary. Meaning is unstable and has to be made by the reader. And each reader will read differently! Kinross further deconstructs the field of typography and writing as two essentially different activities, suggesting their association as a form of multiplied language.
Curiouser & Curiouser
Factories of Knowledge, Industries of Creativity, Gerald Raunig (2013)
This collection of essays critiques current forms of knowledge production, and suggest alternative forms of curriculum. Today, knowledge has become a commodity, which is manufactured, fabricated and traded like material commodities. What was once the factory is now the university. Instead of mass-producing students, how can we induce alternative education and allow disobedient modes of knowledge production to emerge?
The Politics of Design, Ruben Pater (2016)
As most books from BIZ Publishers are, this one discusses controversial design issues through its iconic cynical wit. Ultimately, all design is political. Every design either serves or subverts a status quo. Pater shares about the politics of design through communication, typography, diversity, imperialism, and culture. As enlightened as he may be, you will probably find yourself also laughing throughout this read! Have fun.
Modes of Criticism 2: Critique of Method, Anne Bush et al. (2016)
This collection of texts serves as a critique of method. It highlights our overreliance on design methodologies, restraining the flexibility and sensitivity of our processes. The method movement brought about what many coined as 'design toolkits' that cords out alternative voices, suppressing and marginalizing local knowledge. This was further expounded through the context of social design and its political implications.
Make It Green
SuperNormal: Sensations of the Ordinary, Naoto Fukasawa & Jasper Morrison (2007)
During my short work placement with ByAlex, I acquainted myself with the philosophy of Japanese aesthetics. Artists and designers from various disciplines tend to inject individualism into the products they make; as blank canvas for self-expression. The Japanese form of aesthetic instead advocates the reduction of individualism in these objects of desire, resulting in the SuperNormal. This short read exhibits objects of this profund of beauty in its utmost simplicity.
The Internet Does Not Exist, Julieta Aranda (2015)
Sternberg Press never fails to draw me with their quality content, and this book was no exception. The internet, being an epitome of neoliberalism, has not only sparked but fully captured the imagination, attention, and productivity of more people than at any other point before. As a constructed form of otherness, cyberspace has allowed for multiple realms of being in the world. This led me to further explore 'cyberspace' and 'situated space' as a public sphere in our networked lives.
The Unknown Unknown, Mark Forsyth (2014)
This is a really really really tiny book — it fits nicely in the palm of your hands! It was however one of the best £5 I have ever spent in my life! This little print was entirely responsible for my love of reading. It sparked a radical form of curiosity that embarked me on a journey to search out for more unknown unknowns, and I have never been without a book since. Convinced yet? Now, it's your turn!
White, Kenya Hara (2007)
There are many shades of white — there is the shade of white that is whiter than white, that is aggressive, glaring, bleaching and superior to all else. This blinding shade of white conceals what is true, like a big white lie. Its glare causes you to shift your gaze towards something other than itself. But in reality, this shade hardly exist and is impossible to sustain. Kenya Hara explores different ways of seeing through this single shade of #FFFF.