9 Oct 2013


Looking through newspaper articles to find related topics to our projects, I liked it. From the off, I was able to raise some key questions that may become important starting points. With the subject of appreciation most fresh in my mind, critic reviews were interesting to read and any news on culture was also worthy of attention. The very idea of people paying more attention to the things they consume – be it music, film, books or anything – suggests a better understanding of the subject in question and greater appreciation, leading then to more opinion and reaction, more questions and discussion, more enthusiasm and passion. The final part of this chain is increased enjoyment. And what's not to enjoy about enjoying more? That's the crux of my hypothesis.

Perhaps this craving for people to pay closer attention and show higher appreciation simply comes down to the fact that I personally just want to have interesting conversations about something I am interested in myself. "I like listening to this artist and I want to talk about it with someone who also likes it and has an opinion.""I like football and I have lots to say about that game the other day and want to converse with somebody who also watched it, has things to say about and is happy to listen to my views too." To that extent, we should all be 'critics' really, certainly about subjects we are interested in. The review in the culture section of The Observer on JAY Z's recent concert (page 3/4 of my work above) actually doesn't include anything special to distinguish it from the views of any other fan who may have attended the show; I could have written that in terms of background knowledge, language fluency and insightful opinion. And just to make clear this isn't an attack on critics but a positive argument for more general people to form valid thoughts and reflection.

Straying to a different issue slightly, it does make me wonder who that JAY Z article was intended for. I would struggle to accept that JAY Z fans would have awoken that morning and rushed to the corner shop to purchase the paper and read the review, no matter how hardcore a fan he or she is. And equally, the regular reader of the paper would likely not be such a fan of JAY Z to care strongly about what this writer had to say. In fact if anything, this would likely be the only thing he/she reads about JAY Z and thus could very possibly form an inaccurate and invalid opinion of the artist. That's a worry for me too. And now, sticking with the subject of 'fans', what makes somebody a worthy fan? The news that the BBC are investing in more coverage of the arts (page 2/4) should be cause for excitement for fans, as I know I do my utmost to expose myself to everything I possibly can for whatever/whomever I am a fan of, and increased coverage increases my access to it – great news. But how many people really make sure to tune into every TV and radio appearance, interview and performance for people they are so-called fans of. I'd be pessimistic about the results of that survey.

And yet there is a big big contrast to all this. The back pages – sport.

I wouldn't hesitate to acknowledge that sport fans are indeed fans. They (we) tend to have extremely good knowledge around our sport and it's very common to have well-informed and interesting conversations with sport fans. Every kick of the ball receives full attention in a football game, and subsequently some sort of critique from everyone in the room. If we can't watch a particular game, it's almost a guarantee that we will be watching the highlights later that day, eager to catch every moment and participate in every debate almost religiously – and that's how it should be. We should feel so interested that our emotions get heated and that we are strict with ourselves to take in as much as there is that is accessible. And our lives are better because of it, I really believe that.

Design's overarching aim is to improve our lives, to make things better. If we're not doing everything we can to enjoy ourselves ourselves, then there must be a role for the designer to step in and change that. That's a fucking big task. I hope I've not just outlined my brief... But it was a workshop that has no doubt developed my thinking further so that's good.

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