What's Wrong with Plastic Trees? Artifice and Authenticity in Design

What's Wrong with Plastic Trees? Artifice and Authenticity in Design

What's Wrong with Plastic Trees? Artifice and Authenticity in Design

What's Wrong with Plastic Trees? Artifice and Authenticity in Design

Synopsis

Krieger examines how we design nature, architecture, computer programs, and theologies, and the world itself, so that the designed object would appear to be transcendent, beyond anything we could have made ourselves. He provides an account that designers will respond to, "Yes, that's just the way it is!"

Excerpt

This is a book about how we sacralize what we have made and call it design.

Now, when designers actually make things they are remarkably straightforward about what they are doing, practicing their craft with alacrity and little humbug. They are not alienated voyeurs; they are at work. But when they, and others who take up the cause of design, begin to advocate and argue, they are rather less clear, rather more burdened by ideas that in fact do not apply to their actual designing. "In fact, I don't think artists like myself [Roy Lichtenstein] have the faintest idea what we're doing, but we try to put it in words that sound logical. Actually, I think I do know what I am doing. But no other artist does." Can we cut the humbug without losing the sacred character of design?

Design is about orderliness and authenticity. We deliberately create something that is apparently orderly, purposeful, meaningful--and that works, more or less well. Historically, design has mostly been about sacred structures and sacred cities, the actual designers mostly forgotten. Transhistorically, so to speak . . .

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