3rd Study of Design Fundamentals Seminar: Design as Critique

Mon. July 9, 2018

At Kyushu University’s Faculty of Design, we are tackling the fundamental theory of design studies with the objective of systematizing design.

We invited Shintaro Miyazaki, the senior researcher of the Critical Media Lab at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, and listened as he discussed design as critique with Professor Kazuhiro Jo from our university’s Faculty of Design. There were about 20 members in the audience. Professor Toru Koga of our university’s Faculty of Design talks about the discussion.

Mr. Miyazaki defines design as the act of organizing various elements around him and freeing himself. Beyond that, he defines critique by going all the way back to the two Ancient Greek words from which it derives: ‘kriticos,’ an adjective meaning to accurately judge, and ‘krinion,’ a verb meaning to distinguish, and saying that it is to divide at a proper moment, to differentiate something at a critical moment.

He began with defining the word by going all the way back to Ancient Greek, and I thought this way of thinking was quintessential of someone from a German-speaking country. Design and critique – if we were to combine these two concepts, I believe design as critique would hold the following meaning.

When I feel that my way of life is inconvenient, at a certain decisive moment in time, I will make room for the possibility of something different and re-establish the potential for my own freedom.

Mr. Miyazaki says that with the advancement of technology not only expands the potential of people’s freedom, but that it in fact is re-modeling humans. The fact that humans are being re-modeled due to the advancement of technology does not necessarily mean the re-establishment of human freedom. If that is the case, it is necessary to redefine what it is and make accurate decisions about technology.

Design as critique, as far as criticism toward neoliberalism or colonialism, feminism, Marxism,
and Science and Technology Studies (STS) goes, makes us living in the real world reflect on ourselves and do something to expand our freedom.

Moreover, Mr. Miyazaki developed a theoretical background to design by bringing up three people he himself has been influenced by as a researcher: Hans-Joerg Rheinberger known for his study of epistemology, media theorist Friedrich Kittler, and design studies specialist Claudia Mareis. As a practical example of design, he also brought up “speculative design” which Dunne & Raby advocate.

Where is the point in which critique of modern art and design as critique diverge? Are normal functional designs and designs as critique completely opposite? With these and other questions being raised, together with Mr. Miyazaki’s work, we had a very fruitful discussion.

Date and Time: Mon. July 9, 2018 3:00-5:00 pm

Venue: Kyushu University Ohashi Campus Acoustic Recording Studio (4-9-1 Shiobaru, Minami-ku, Fukuoka City)

Shintaro Miyazaki
Born in Berlin in 1980, Shintaro Miyazaki is the senior researcher at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. He is also the curator of the university’s Institute of Experimental Design and Media Culture’s Critical Media Lab (IXDM). His work involves investigating the fields of cybernetics, ecosystem thinking, counter culture, and Marxism, and he is also working on projects that deepen the understanding of how these “problem systems” relate to design, media, and art. He received his doctorate degree in Media Studies from Humboldt University in Berlin in 2012.
IXDM (Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures) 
Shintaro Miyazaki’s website

[Contact] Toru Koga (Faculty of Design, Kyushu University) toru(a)

Toru Koga
(right) Shintaro Miyazaki (left) Kazuhiro Jo
At the seminar


Mon. July 9, 2018 3:00-5:00 pm


This is an archive of images, videos and documents recording our activities up until now.
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Design for LGBTs and an Inclusive Society
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