Is there a Deleuzian way of thinking about design?
How to think at design like a philosopher, and to think at philosophy like a designer.
Deleuze and Design is the first book to interrogate the theory and practice of design throughthe thought of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Beginning with an investigation of how the field ofdesign is currently mutating, this book suggests an open-ended definition of design reflectingdesign’s own entanglement with the practice of ‘making worlds’, thus to create futures. Taken as aforce, a disruption, and a process, design is here taken as the embodiment of possible worlds.
Whether products or scenarios, packaging or experiences, objects or digital platforms,services or territories, organizations or methodologies, design is here taken in its broadest sense asa profoundly innovative and disruptive force, constituted in the multiform entanglement of practices,discourses, industry agendas, lifestyles and behaviours, thus optimally positioned to offer a stringentcritique of how the emergence of complex relationships between human and non human agencieselicit affects, tells stories and ultimately make us think by doing.
To design means always to engage with what is not-yet but could be. To design means toengage with the new, the possible, the potential. Design is not however a mere matter of future-forecasting or problem-solving. Rather, it is about turning imagination into reality. Thus, the presentemerges as the embodiment of a thought. Design possesses an extraordinary quality: it is projectthat keeps on designing, it keeps on giving visible, tangible shape to the material world we inhabit.Every designed object contains in itself the seeds of future practices and future behaviours.
Can we investigate and reconceptualise design’s own prehension into the future withDeleuze’s theoretical corpus? What are the tensions between a creative philosophy intended as thepractice of creating new concepts and the practice, discourse and theory of design as the field notsimply of innovation but of the creation of the future?
Deleuze’s formidable thought can be taken on board by design, not as a fulminous theoreticalfad to be shortly outmoded, but as a slow releasing arsenal of tools to think with, and to inform, theprocess of thing-making. Ideas on the relations between the actual and the virtual, the becomingelse of matter and the affects elicited by the utterly relational kinship of bodies and objects, all canbenefit by a reconceptualization based on Deleuze’s philosophy.
In particular, Deleuze’s idea that philosophy is creative and revolutionary precisely because itis always creating new concepts deeply resonates with the demands and the agenda of design,always engaged with thinking about the not-yet. Even more pertinent to design is Deleuze’saffirmation that new concepts should be both necessary and unfamiliar, as well as being a responseto real problems.
If to design means always to engage with the making of the new, design then is a powerfulperspective on the future, a lens through which we can catch a glimpse of what is not-yet but might,could be. Indeed, for some design theorists we have a future only by design (Fry 2009). But design isnot only a reality-building, world-making project. It is also a vector intersecting a multiplicity of otherforces – political, economical, social, cultural, experiential, institutional – and as a force it participatesto the construction of the future. It is not the future in itself but participates to its creation; it is not anevent in itself but participates to its generation.
A (by no means) exhaustive list of possible topics:
- Designing systems
- Designing experiences
- Design as social innovation/social enterprise
- A Deleuzian take on critical/speculative design
- Relationship with objects/status of object? assemblage
- Deleuze and design research
- Design and the future
- Design and becoming/the becoming of design
- A Deleuzian account of prototypying
- The ethic role of designers
- Design as social practice
- Design and sustainability
- Design and…and…and.. a new paradigm to think at design with
- Design of embodiment
- Design of subjectivity
- Conceptual design. Design thinking
- Design as a political agenda
- Design as posthumanism, a new paradigm to think things with
- Design and circulation, monitoring and capture of affect
- Design and control
- Design pedagogy
- Design and inter/trans/infradisciplinarity
Paper proposals may be submitted to
Betti Marenko firstname.lastname@example.org by March the 23rd.
Proposals should include CV, contact information, and a preliminary abstract of 300 words orless.
Full papers by August the 23rd