Approaching design from an intellectual and strategic perspective, Dillon is primarily concerned with the conceptual aspects of design. He aims to create not only aesthetic, but also meaningful solutions. While currently exploring pushing against currently accepted trends in human-centred design, Dillon has done work that has been appropriate to a conservative commercial context, personally reflective and introspective in instances, explored various philosophical questions, and directly rebelled against social convention in other works. The body of work reflects an acknowledgement of the current Metamodernist state of constant oscillation in art and design.
Dillon has explored work in music, noise, graphics, object design, writing, and a range of other mediums. While work may be driven by a certain form, particularly looking at commercial design, conceptually driven work often makes the medium secondary; finding the most appropriate medium to achieve an objective or communicate an idea. Seeking to gain new skills and have challenging experiences, Dillon is currently exploring the mediums of processing and furniture design.
Opinion on contemporary design practices and philosophy
“Man stands face to face with the irrational. He feels within him his longing for happiness and for reason. The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”
—Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
Undoubtedly design practices and philosophies relate to broader philosophies, unable to exist in isolation. Social and historical contexts cannot help but influence people. An Absurdist perspective on life is a key influence. It permeates the interpretation and questioning of all events and constructs.
This results in a move away from doctrine. The well established Marinetti style manifestos, beginning in 1909 and still being formulated presently, are ways to explore history rather than to create and define a view point. The movements viewed with dissociation represent various ideals that often form superficial styles. The freedom of Tzara’s Dada in 1918 is a style opposed to existing conditions, just as Maciunas wrote of in 1963 with Fluxus, or as Childish and Thompson did responding to their time in 1999 with the notion of the Stuckist art.
Heskett (2002) ponders “Will the future pattern of what is produced, and why, continue to be primarily determined by commercial companies, with designers identifying with their values; or by users, with designers and corporations serving their needs?” (p. 194) This would be in tune with Murni (1966), where the designer “responds to the human needs of his time, and helps people to solve certain problems without stylistic preconceptions or false notions of artistic dignity derived from the schism of the arts.” (p.32) This is conveyed by Eindhoven, IDEO, and COFA as a response to the role of a designers job brought back to fundamental principals either as a commercial response or a culturally significant one.
As an Absurdist, and going beyond the aforementioned writings, the current state of design and art is best described as Metamodernsim by Vermeulen and van der Akker (2010), not as a manifesto and doctrine view, but as observation of the times. Moving on from the well defined Modern and Postmodern, we find the notion of oscillation, as “the prefix ‘‘meta’’ refers to such notions as ‘‘with’’, ‘‘between’’, and ‘‘beyond’’” (p. 2), where design doesn’t attempt to be static. This is different from attempts to define new ideas like Post-Postmodern or Altermodern as responses to the times, however could relate to Kuhn’s notion of paradigms. In terms of Kuhn’s understanding, we could view Modernism and Postmodernism coexisting, and designers moving back and forth between the ideas constantly. But rather than having defined ideas and an awareness of this, Danz and Kurland (2010) describe it more accurately as “an unsuccessful negotiation, between two opposite poles”
Turner (2010) (although the source is currently sited as being written by Shia LaBeouf in connection to his emerging art performances) captures Metamodernism and equally Absurdist ideals saying “Existence is enriched if we set about our task as if those limits might be exceeded”. To act as if there is meaning and knowledge in each circumstance is crucial to delivering outcomes despite conceptually being able to see that all decisions are at their core arbitrary and meaningless.
Danz, M. & Kurland, J. (2010). Strategies of the Metamodern. http://www.metamodernism.com/2010/08/01/strategies-of-the-metamodern/
Fallan, K. (2010). Design History; Understanding Theory and Method. Berg.
Heskett, J. (2002). Toothpicks and Logos. Oxford.
Murni, B. (1966). Design as Art. Penguin.
Turner, L. (2010). Metamodernist Manifesto. http://metamodernism.org/
Vermeulen, T. & van den Akker, R. (2010). Notes on Metamodernism. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture Vol. 2
100 Artist Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists. (2011). Penguin.