Magic by Design

Design, Designers, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt., Technology

Magic by Design: Technology Transformed

Southwell, Dr. Mirjam

This paper was presented at the 1997 Third International Conference on Design Education in Developing Countries, Technikon Pretoria, South Africa and published in Image & Text: Journal for Design (1997), Vol. 7, pp.3-8. It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

Brief SketchTechnology is often associated with the "magic and miracles of the glittering industrialized world" (Maathai, 1995). It is often seen as unattainable for the majority living in developing countries and the fact that it impacts directly or indirectly on every ones' lives is rarely acknowledged…. The producers of ethnic 'knick-knacks' in the South are caught in the developed / not developed "dualistic structure"(Plumwood: 43) so beloved by development theorists and practitioners….

This paper discusses the current situation with regard to design, technology and development and the potential role for design of transforming technology from the unattainable and miraculous to the 'everyday'. The paper argues that the creativity of design can be used to perform magic that results in pleasurable and empowering technology.

The status quo has to be challenged because as Plumwood continues to assert "once the process of domination forms culture and constructs identity, the inferiorised group ..[..].. Must internalise this inferiorisation in its identity and collude in t...
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