Research Focus III

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    Research Focus III

    research focus III


    Key Words: Design, Design Theory, Art and Design History, Visual Communication, Conceptual History, History of Ideas, Industrial Production, Artifacts, Art, Design

    Participating researchers: Prof. Dr. med. Ekkehart Baumgartner, Prof. Stephan Exsternbrink, Prof. Dr. Petra Leutner, Prof. Dr. Ingo Rollwagen, Prof. Dr. med. Michael Schlese, Prof. Dr. Elke-Katharina Wittich, Prof. Eberhard Wolf, Prof. Dr. med. Philipp Zitzlsperger

    The term “design” is so ambiguous that defining it seems impossible today. Its dissolution leads to a loss of orientation. The Design Department‘s research tries to put this conceptuality to the test, against a background of the inflationary concept of design, and readjust it. This subject area flows directly into the area of teaching if, for example, the concept of design is to be questioned by the students as a central problem in theoretical subjects, or if the concept is discussed as an important part of design during two sessions and then analyzed as a problem in teaching. Design, as a field, relies on a clearly historical approach, which brings the conceptual and intellectual history into alignment with the present. A look into the premodern is apt to change perspectives on the present and future of design.

    A hitherto logocentric design science assumes that the term precedes the phenomenon. That is, that the term “design” first enabled the era of design and its artifacts. From this perspective, design began around the mid-19th century and is closely related to industrialization. In contrast, a change of perspective from logocentric to iconocentric interpretation provides an opportunity to readjust epoch thresholds. Consequently, design does not have to begin with its conceptual introduction. The possibility that, at around 1850, the term “design” described a long-advanced development for which there was no name, must be discussed. Whether the further development of “design” as a concept in the 20th century, and the related cementation of the design-art dichotomy are really appropriate or possibly misguided, must also be discussed. Above all these questions, however, lies the historical approach, which allows a retrospective look even into the Middle Ages or antiquity, in order to better understand or make relative the difference in meaning between design and art during the different creative epochs.


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