A-Disciplinary Artifacts; Un-Disciplined Bodies

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Ziada, Hazem
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Discourses on (inter)disciplinarity in design usually debate methods of constructing epistemological frameworks and procedures of practice - yet have inadequately extended to qualifying the artifact(s) thereby generated. This paper starts by observing inconsistencies in perceived correspondences between (inter)disciplinarity and artifact complexity. Fundamentally, questioning the design-artifact of (inter)disciplinarity problematizes the relation between design and knowledge-generation. The paper posits that design-artifacts should be emancipated from the limiting confines of our preconceived disciplinary cartographies altogether. It approaches the design act while appreciating the design artifact itself and its mind-independent material, as generative of unpredictable, unclassified knowledge. Exploring a-disciplinary design-artifacts was undertaken in Firstyear design-studio exercises at SPSU. Students were instructed to embed unpredictability in material-constructions and design-procedures, allowing the artifact room for 'form-finding'. Throughout, it became clear that inducing this a-disciplinary artifact into 'existence' warranted an un-disciplined body for its critical appreciation. This is the body emancipated, not only from (Foucauldian) disciplinary techniques, but also from prescriptive Humanist ideals of the self as the center of design-thought. Students were thus asked to re-cast their own bodies as afforded by the created artifact (following literary traditions of 'monstrosity' as emancipatory deformations of our bodies). In effect, they were tasked to re-work conventions of graphic representation as would be enacted by this alternative un-disciplined body: the Identity Drawing. What representation does the artifact demand of the 'monster'? The interface between a-disciplinary artifacts and the un-disciplined body is an act of mutual judgment - an essentially political negotiation, and an indispensable component of (inter)disciplinary design practice.
Southern Polytechnic State University
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