It has been a fascinating journey over the past twelve weeks. I have gone from being a very visual student who rarely finds himself with the time to read, to being given a piece of text each week to digest and respond to and it has been really rather enjoyable. I have a new found love for both reading regularly and also for writing my thoughts. The exercise has become less about fulfilling a brief and more about reflecting on a subject and seeing what it can offer me. I have also further developed my interest in politics, social matters and even satirical writing which can only be a good thing for the development of my personality.
Starting my journey with the rather comical Patrick Shumacher (the ‘king of Capitalism’ within our industry) was an eye opener; I found a new respect for Zaha Hadid and her work realising perhaps that I, like many, had been sucked in by the influential smog of media surrounding the late architect. The text also planted the seed of what I can only describe as a pity for ‘the left’ media, this despite my wildly differing views from Schumacher and his ideals.
From here, things escalated rather quickly as I used Paul Mason’s summary of the world’s challenges and the ‘rational case for panic’, to discuss Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s recently published plans to eradicate disease in the immediate future, a chilling proposition having been so heavily influenced by Mason’s compelling argument in the days previous to the statement.
Matthew Crawford followed and initially attracted by the mention of the automobile industry, I became enthralled by the ideas and challenges of Capitalism, an ‘every worker for his or herself’ proposition which appears to have pulled the blanket over thousands of innocent workers during the history of our industry. I left this week feeling cold, asking myself whether the education of my future career was being taught by a big corporation of technicians; creating robots that couldn’t possibly maintain any design flair, having lost the crucial naivety required to excel in their field. This was not helped during the following week having digested Jane Rendell only to find, it seems the best way to detach yourself from this education and live free of constraint, is to make several mistakes and await a ‘Eureka moment’.
My thinking process was disrupted for a couple of weeks at this point, when I joked at the possibility of the openly misogynistic, bankrupt and wildly racist Donald ‘the faust’ Trump becoming US president. Like an extended inappropriate laugh at a joke told mid funeral service, just under Sixty Three million Americans sank to a historic low, (one can only assume because of a mistake on their ballot papers) making Trump their president elect.
Happily I live this side of the Atlantic Ocean and so was able to pretend nothing had happened and move back onto cars for a break after an intense couple of weeks, this time discussing the difference between a product and a work, of which this writing is obviously a work, written by a product. (see robot references earlier in text).
One text I did not however manage to embrace and celebrate was the challenging extract from Colin Rowe, despite its obvious ingenious technicalities and clever comparative stance; I could not help but feel hard done by, having disagreed with most of what was written. I finished this exploration truly hoping that if I ever build a ‘product’ which could be considered a ‘work’, it would not be assumed post my involvement, that my ideas were conceived any more meaningfully than for trivial reasons such as my love for the surrounding context, or maybe even for client aesthetic for example.
Following a light dip into political satire with Evelyn Waugh, which I very much enjoyed, it was back to business with the subject of industrialism in America and despite an obvious scale difference, I found at least part of the stories read rather relatable. I am yet to play with the idea that these stories perhaps in some way also predict the future end to my career, but that will maybe feature in a future blog. This theme continued into what has always been one of my favourite productions ‘The Fountainhead’, which although this time around meant I had to be more critical of the storyline, actually led to me casting aspersions about the character of various people within Ayn Rand’s narrative and what they may stand for which if anything added to my experience.
I think overall in reflection of the past Twelve weeks, I could be critical and say that as in a couple of my readings, I have indeed been blinded by my education and that this module has in fact led me down a path of thought which I do not necessarily agree with, or wish to respond to. As such maybe some of the views I have expressed are heavily influenced by the order in which I have digested said texts. I do not wish to be critical however, as I have found the whole process very enjoyable and have decided to continue my regular blogging in the new year, I have also vowed to myself that subject matter and influence will be as mutual as I can possibly create, so that this journey can continue.
All that remains to be said is thank you, to all that have joined me so far!