Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Reflection: Senior Degree Project Directions

When asked to reflect upon a potential direction for degree project my mind was immediately drawn to this unique ability that we as designers have to create human connection and relationships. The most fundamental of these human connections are interactions, more specifically interactions that are informed by design that may have otherwise ceased to exist. The most intriguing aspect of this is having the power to  draw people together based on one simple commonality regardless of their differing opinions, interests, gender, standard of living, etc. Hand in hand with the exploitation of individual commonalities comes grassroots activism; beginning with single individuals and flourishing into a monumental movement. The impact left on a society and the culture built and sustained by a movement such as this evokes my curiosity, and of course the most personally meaningful movement of the sort is the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the LIVESTRONG brand that has captivated the lives of people all over the world that have one thing in common, cancer. It is fascinating to me that so many people can be drawn together, whether taken positively or negatively, through cancer; it is a common link that each one of us has and through design this connection can be embraced. In a broader sense this idea of human connection, whether it be through something serious or fundamental is something that embodies a unique emotion and fosters bonds through uncommon threads that may not have been established in the absence of design.

In establishing these connections there is a sort of interaction or participation that can exist at the grassroots and global levels in which the user defines, to an extent, the solution, and they are a part of this in a way that the outcome would differ completely without their direct input. I see a certain value in this interaction that transforms design into more than a visual aesthetic but rather a platform for enriching lives and instilling inspiration and motivation for change. I see my current project with the Rosedale community as one that holds this value in respect to promoting an active lifestyle in which individuals find empowerment and fulfillment in their pursuit of being active and taking ownership in their community. Utilizing perhaps the above notions of grassroots activism I am interested in the overall advocation of the benefits, known and unknown, of active, athletic lifestyles. And in light of this, searching for the unique commonality that exists within the masses and fostering that relationship; exploiting the connection.

Looking at this reflection as I whole I am aiming to discover and learn how design can facilitate conscious living that is established through fundamental activism putting first and foremost the connection and interaction of individuals within the greater system. Using my design powers as a just cause in weaving uncommon threads and developing unique relationships, bringing people together so that they can ignite change amongst themselves. Essentially creating the skeleton and facilitating the need at hand in a way which gives each individual the opportunity to succeed without limitation.

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