An interpretive method for the analysis of designed artefacts

Konigk, Raymund (2014) An interpretive method for the analysis of designed artefacts. In: Design with the Other 90%: Changing the World by Design, 22-24 Sept 2014, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


his paper addresses the theme ‘respect and responsibility’ and in the context of collaboration and participatory design considers the generation of meaning in cultural artefacts. This is aimed at greater interactivity and responsiveness between artefacts and their users and is presented from a position of reflexivity which considers the reciprocal relationship between culture and the objects it produces. There is an underlying system that controls all cultural forms; this may be studied through analogy with language. I consider the cross-disciplinary application of semiotic theory from a poststructuralist position where emphasis shifts from form to content. This erodes the primacy of the physical and considers advances in representation. Artefacts are considered as open texts supporting multiple interpretations. In this milieu the interpreter does not have to trace the original intention of the author, neither does the text have to provide a unique and final meaning. The research process itself informs and constructs the phenomenon; this has links with constructivist grounded theory. An interpretive method is proposed which allows for the critical analysis of designed artefacts that go beyond mere semantic description while avoiding the banality of describing intertextual references. Critical interpretation is a meta-linguistic activity which describes and explains the formal reasons a text produces a response. Every text (and by extension every artefact) can be interpreted semiotically and critically. In future this analysis can contribute to the generative processes of new artefacts through the interpretation of existing artefacts. The description of designed artefacts becomes a social reality whereby design has impact through the documentation and dissemination of its artefacts. This method will allow for the critical assessment of these ‘texts’.

Keywords:artefact, cultural gestures, interdisciplinarity, interpretation
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W250 Interior Design
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Design)
ID Code:24046
Deposited On:09 Sep 2016 15:20

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