In beautiful Bozeman Different Data hosted the workshop "Illegitimate Worlds" at the Design Educators Conference "Frontier"
We started with the premise that “… ‘illegitimate', imprecise, but approximate translation is one of the most important features of any creative thinking. For these 'illegitimate' associations provoke new semantic connections and give rise to texts that are in principle new ones." (Y. Lotman, Universe of the Mind: A Semiotic Theory of Culture, 2000)
And went to suggest that design shapes the world through representation, engagement, and systems. We asked what happens when designers embrace the illegitimate and imprecise? What value lies in engaging the approximate, the absurd, the irreverent, and ephemeral in forming new metaphors and collaborative models for design?
We proposed that design does not always present truth, or solve problems, but can generate questions and wonder, expose the gaps in knowledge, and counter what is oversimplified. And additionally, what if it in designing complexities, the results instead confound? What alternative creative working models can allow for this to happen profoundly and with a degree of legibility?
And how are they to be explored in design education? Since this is at an educator's conference, we were obliged to also ask how can we teach students to handle the illegitimate and imprecise in design? How do we motivate them to develop their own platform for inquiry and making, to challenge what is assumed, and to propose and develop interventions that lead to new realities?
In the end what resulted were some very compelling visual explorations. Instinctual intellectual visual bricolage that was simultaneously beautiful, poetic, surprising, stimulating, and reflective.
We are looking forward to putting the results into a publication, to be self-published sometime mid-2017.