Its one of those moments when you feel like something is changing, the wind is cleaning the air with giant gusts and taking all the surface dirt and leaves with it, and I sit inside winding down from the day ready to contemplate the next with a nice hot tea. As I drift of into the uncertain space and crevices unknown within my minds and putting down my borrowed copy Elements of design, so far only into the first chapter about setting up Rowena Reed Kostellow’s philosophies about teaching industrial designers which was fairly new at the time, it made me think of all the changes I have been through at RMIT starting of in first year with a new curriculum running only in its second year aka guinea pigs, and talking to others out there seems to always be the case as I think RMIT has enjoyment in experimenting on our younger brains.
University is a different way of learning than one ever encounters as they don’t really lead you through any path at all its more of a suggestive phase where they sit down and briefly introduce you to something that may be of some benefit to you, which you become obsessed about or even mildly intrigued close the door and wait for the pieces to unravel or fall into place. I am not say that you are abandoned or anything like that as I have often been known to walk through the open office doors sit down with a giant puzzle pieces of things I don’t know and they somehow slowly nudge it into a place that fits.
It more of a self discovery mode where know one quite knows who has the answers and where they are coming from, every now and then you are nudge towards the direction with the guidance of a lecture. When looking back at my old CAD work in soildworks this is clearly evident, as I was given the basic skills of construct the geometry required and then given set projects to implement them. I have ended doing a model solar car that contains a giant diamond, and the front of a tram that looks like a happy bear than any vehicle. As after I am using these skills merely as tools and it’s easier to work on a similar themed project to get help when needed by fellow class mates who some how ended up in the Computer room at odd times of the day and are handy for quick advice. My design could end up looking like anything as long as I considered the requirements listed at the top of the sheets.
Sometimes I need a few step by step guides to visually see what’s happening but most was left up to experimenting and practicing. It’s a very self learning process as you network yourself into a group of people who you can turn to for advice, feed back and criticism (and if needed can help to create the last minute miracle needed) and to really on your own growing and expanding knowledge of design.
At times it really felt you where thrown in the deep end and where floating on success or about to drown in failure but there where so many life lines around to turn to. This continual evolution of discovery and learning is necessary in a creative environment as it’s easy to get caught into a circle and go around finding yourself back to where you started from not bring anything new in and once you have gone around a few times you can get really stuck stale and old. So where are the new discoveries and creations?
Though as we go along we are like magnets and some bits and pieces stick to us for a bit drop off, return, get modified this I like to call a personal style as that changes with experience and knowledge and your ability to create and reinvent. This helps to make sure we are somewhat attached to our surroundings and keeps us from running around aimlessly which is just as bad as running in circles. Industrial Design like all other creative practices follows trends and fashions, but that’s really just a whole lot of culture as to what is the social norm at the time, just follow any history related to the creative practices.
It always intrigues me as to how much a creative mind is or isn’t valued, at high school it wasn’t valued at all unless you where in the top elitist category, other wise its seen as hobby so how are you going to live then should drop it and do something practical. In primary school it was the opposite wow look what my child can create how beautiful. Then it goes to the ‘real world’ where companies want to find out about your personalities and you sit down answering questions on how creative you are, and do you day dream, do you like poetry, I am guessing that its valued. I mean if you have one type of personality working together you would all go insane.
I have gone through stages and progressions of creativeness where I look back and see some of it as madness and some of it had some good critical thinking it. I have seen it as a total waste of time hindering your progression and a huge distraction, and at times ridden with its freedom and uncertainty as to what it would bring. It has been more love than hate, but you can’t really be passionate about something unless you have a good fight with it now and then, otherwise it’s just biased and blinding. If there is no critical thinking going on I think RMIT would feel at a loss, or there would be constant fights with no one backing down, as you can never really listen to another view unless you can understand it.
As RMIT have always given me enough freedom (as we all know there needs to be rules to guide you) I have been able to develop as an individual not just a set of skills. I think that’s what high school education is as it’s a set of skills to go into and exam for a few hours, or a set of skills that are practical and generic that most people also know. I could have easily ended up in another course where a different learning strategy is aimed at training you into a mould/cog that fits into an existing framework and that’s what you do is work.
What happens if there are no other cogs around you that fit, how do you know the shape of your individual cog? If someone has trained you to look like that, you turn around and say no I am more of a green cog than this blue one I thought I was. The main point that I am trying to say is I hardly know what I want to get out of this course yet as I can only start collecting my pension at 67 (probably when I am nearing pension age it will have changed to 75) so I am thinking I have a vast and long career ahead, I don’t want to start it out with someone telling me I should be wanting to work design kettles first as they don’t know me at all I know myself a lot better. I chose to do this course and eventual carrier to make me happy, enjoy life and feel like I an contributing towards more goals then lining my pockets for eventual retirement in a good job. I am young only once sometimes and I can’t be over serious and future planning all the time who knows what lies in the road ahead?
Having the ability to properly know and understand yourself accept your flaws and weaknesses moving ahead with the skills and abilities that you have got is the best thing any one can learn. People are quick to judge others so you often may not receive the truth from them, knowing how to trust yourself through the unknown, when its time to call in the troops to lend you a hand. Success lies in knowing how you can always grow as a person and help others to grow as individuals too. Otherwise you would have taken the easy job of no thinking and no fuss, with a big safety net, and not industrial design.