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Critical design in JapanMaterial culture, luxury, and the avant-garde$
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Ory Bartal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526139979

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526139986

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Digital design as social and critical design in the twenty-first century

Digital design as social and critical design in the twenty-first century

(p.184) 6 Digital design as social and critical design in the twenty-first century
Critical design in Japan

Ory Bartal

Manchester University Press

This chapter focuses on the digital revolution and virtual reality, which overtook material reality in the 1990s. These developments offered new critical possibilities while challenging the organisation of visual perception, the structure of information, and the traditional sociopolitical role of objects and opening up a new range of possibilities between virtual representations and actual artefacts. This new popular culture cast a critical gaze at traditional economic perceptions by producing open design platforms that enabled participation in a collaborative economy as an alternative to capitalistic competition and rivalry. At the same time, it blurred oppositional categories such as human/machine or nature/culture – vestiges of the pre-digital age that had been perceived as unshakeable truths. This chapter centres on contemporary designers such as Wakita Akira and Sputniko! and design studios such as Nosigner and Takram Design Engineering, which are concerned with post-human design, open design, IoT (Internet of Things), and human–machine interfaces. These new technologies and their realisation by means of digital images – and sometimes also in material form – offer their users new insights and perspectives, doing away with traditional categories of thought and constructing a new reality.

Keywords:   Digital design, Open design, Social design, Sharing economy, Post-human design, Sputniko, Azuma Makoto, Nosigner, Takram design engineering, Cyborg design

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