237.130 Independent Study Session #2

Session 2: Curious Instances

Task 1: The Making Of: ‘Explore’ – Work in Progress.

(captured on the ‘Explore” page of the site)

Task 2: Tikanga Māori.

Approximately 150-200 words”

  • What does Hirini Moko Mead say to make us aware of the importance and reach of tikanga?

Defining Tikanga Māori

Tikanga is a Māori concept incorporating practices and values from mātauranga Māori, Māori knowledge.[1] Tikanga is translated into the English language with a wide range of meanings — culture, custom, ethic, etiquette, fashion, formality, lore, manner, meaning, mechanism, method, protocol, style, customary law.[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikanga_M%C4%81ori

Words and expressions like this are probably common in every language, i.e. words that have no direct translation. I can probably translate this into Japanese, as 伝統的 “dentou teki”, which can be translated as “traditional”, but also comes with a “has cultural significance” meaning.

I could easily see Tikanga Māori written as マオリ道 (Māori-dou) or “the way of Māori”. The 道 is the Chinese character for “Tao”, meaning the “way”, “path”, “route”, “road” or sometimes more loosely “doctrine”, “principle” or “holistic beliefs”.

So, I would say that Hirini Moko Mead’s key point on this is:

A culture that sets aside its pool of tikanga is depriving itself of a valuable segment of knowledge and is limiting its cultural options.

Tikanga Māori, Hirini Moko Mead
  • How might tikanga apply in your and/or other people’s lives you know? How might tikanga and ideas of ‘tika, correctness’ be valuable for the Consequences of Making, and assist in resolving issues?

I’m thinking of Tikanga Māori in a similar way to a “Frame of Reference” in Physics. That can be defined as, “an abstract coordinate system and the set of physical reference points that uniquely fix (locate and orient) the coordinate system and standardize measurements within that frame.”

That feels quite appropriate. I think “orient” is the key word here. An understanding and appreciation of Tikanga Māori is a way of knowing where you are with respect to Māori culture; sensing what your are options for appropriate interaction and movement (not just in a physical sense, but also in a cultural sense); developing a feeling for the constraints or boundaries in which you are operating; and so on.

Task 3: Ways of thinking about creative relationships (allow 2 hours)

Watching this, the designers were almost entirely driven by the specific, and in some cases unique, needs of their “clients”.

There appear to be two goals in mind here. One was to help the individuals in overcoming some of the key constraints under which they are operating, for example Alzheimer’s Disease. To that extent, these projects appear quite successful.

As a further benefit, it appeared that in a couple of cases the designers were considering wider use of their creations, perhaps by other people with similar needs. In some cases this aim appeared to have been achieved, albeit perhaps less successfully than for the individuals.

This can be thought of as natural stages in a design and product lifecycle. Solving individual needs proved the concepts, and continuing on to look at wider applicability can be seen as a pilot phase.

The designers were, to varying extents, wrestling with ongoing adjustments to their designs prompted by feedback from their clients. The vision of the designers had to be “compromised”, although that feels like too harsh a word given that the designers would not have been involved at all without the needs of their clients.

It’s interesting to contrast this with some of the terms used when describing noteworthy artists and designers: uncompromising, visionary, singularly focused, unique, controversial, etc.

Perhaps a key difference between Art and Design is that Art is based on a highly internal set of drives and desires, whereas Design is more motivated by the need to fulfil an external set of requirements or needs. Then again:

Real artists ship

Steve Jobs, speech to Apple staff (no specific reference), 1983


1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikanga_M%C4%81ori