geert lovink on 8 Jan 2001 13:23:30 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Disassociate Webdesign from Usability

[forwarded with permission, geert]

From: "Anita Mage" <>
To: "geert lovink" <>
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2001 3:06 AM
Subject: Re: <nettime> Disassociate Webdesign from Usability

> Hi geert -
> what occured to me on perusal of this text is the famous bauhaus dictum,
> "form follows function", in particular the following implication:  that
> it's possible to derive an aesthetic from pragmatic considerations (contra
> german idealist aesthetic: beauty first arises/becomes concrete category
> where the telos (zweckmässigkeit) of object in question is sublated
> (aufgehoben) - beauty/pleasure is for it's own sake or not at all.)
> remember, bauhaus and modernist movements emerged as reactions to the
> formalization and conventionalization of design and trivial
> verschnoerkelung in for ex. jugendstil (stichwort Adolf Loos, Ornament als
> Verbrechen). they were at the same time integrative, holistic mvts.
> anyway, it seems that your conclusion that web design should distance
> itself from the usability talk - which seems both ignorant of and in fact
> antagonistic to such traditional design considerations - will have to
> reclaim/redefine *usability*, drawing upon those traditions that subvert
> economisitic determinations of usability and concommitattant sequestering
> and depotentialization of aesthetic practices. That is the historical and
> contingent situation in which consciousness arises of the fact that, as
> quite felicitously put it,
> >Window dressing in a social and cultural
> >vacuum, the immanent problem of all design, has always been around - and
> >will always be.
> greetings,
> Anita

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