Shape of Things: A Philosophy of Design

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Reaktion Books, Jun 1, 2013 - Art - 192 pages
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This book presents for the first time in English an array of essays on design by the seminal media critic and philosopher Vilém Flusser. It puts forward the view that our future depends on design. In a series of insightful essays on such ordinary "things" as wheels, carpets, pots, umbrellas and tents, Flusser emphasizes the interrelationships between art and science, theology and technology, and archaeology and architecture. Just as formal creativity has produced both weapons of destruction and great works of art, Flusser believed that the shape of things (and the designs behind them) represents both a threat and an opportunity for designers of the future.
 

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Contents

Introduction
7
About the Word Design
17
Form and Material
22
War and the State of Things
30
About Forms and Formulae
35
The Designers Way of Seeing
39
The Factory
43
The Lever Strikes Back
51
Wittgensteins Architecture
76
Bare Walls
78
With As Many Holes As a Swiss Cheese
81
The NonThing 1
85
The NonThing 2
90
Carpets
95
Pots
99
Shamans and Dancers with Masks
104

Shelters Screens and Tents
55
Obstacle forto the Removal of Obstacles
58
Why Do Typewriters Go Click?
62
The Ethics of Industrial Design?
66
Design as Theology
70
The Submarine
108
Wheels
117
Biographical Note
123
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Vilem Flusser was born in Prague in 1920. After emigrating to Brazil and then to France, he embarked on an influential career as a lecturer and writer on language, design, and communication. He died in 1991.

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