[Ab] Sense - Revisiting the One That Can Not Get Away From Oneself
Charest, Robert Michel
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Meaning in design work can potentially be implied, attached or altogether disregarded. A condition which may indicate that meaning, even in the loosest of semiotic arguments, amounts to mere arbitrariness. In order to discuss meaning, in a philosophical manner, two concessions must be made. The first, is that design can be interpreted as aesthetic work--potentially as art. The second, is that the work itself can be the vehicle for a sense. The paper will focus primarily on revisiting recent graduate work on signification and significance in product design. The work unfolded between 2002 and 2006 at two Universities and was centered around the "de-specialization of objects". The project oriented theses were basically an inquiry into the fundamentals of the human-object relationship and grounded into philosophical hermeneutics, semiotics as well as post-structuralism. The theses "attacked" the foundation of "type" by underlining the fundamental differences between "multi-functional" and "de-specialized". They also challenged the demiurgic process of generating "de-specialized" objects by stressing the hermeneutical certainty that one cannot get away from oneself. The ontological value of significance is not on trial in this paper; nor are we claiming to reveal overlooked connections between abstract signifiers and their signified. It is the elastic quality of human participation with an that is examined here. The time/place at which an object can engender complacency or stimulate intrigue is what interests us.