Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ethics in Design: Istanbul conference and after

Images and Comments: Istanbul conference and after

Prof. M P Ranjan

On the 8th of October 2009 Prof M P Ranjan delivered the keynote address at the 4th National Design Conference at Istanbul Turkey and spent the next day listening to the numerous sessions at the conference on various issues dealing with design that the Turkish scholars found interesting and relevant, all in Turkish, with two student guides whispering the English translation into his ears. The conference was stimulating and the event was conducted in a historic setting of the Istanbul Technical University at Taskisla in Taksim in the heart of Istanbul. The conference was organized by Prof Alpay Er, Head of Department, Industrial Product Design at ITU and the participants came from many of the 24 schools of industrial design in Turkey and included teachers, students and professional designers. The keynote paper and visual presentation titled “Hand-Head-Heart: Ethics in Design” can be downloaded from here from this blog.
Download full paper titled "Hand-Head-Heart: Ethics in Design" here -PDF file 360kb Full Text
Download visual presentationas a pdf file here - PDF file 4.8 mb visual presentation screen resolution

Image1: Prof M P Ranjan delivers keynote lecture titled “Hand-Head-Heart: Ethics in Design” at the ITU Auditorium in Istanbul on 8th October 2009. The theme of the conference is “Design or Crisis”.

Image2: The historic building of the Istanbul Technical University has a mural painted by Abdurrahman Öztoprak from 1950’s while the building itself dates back to the 1850’s.

Cigcem Kaya, one of the researchers at ITU wrote to me that this fresco on one of the walls of Istanbul Techical University, School of Architecture, is one of the major works of Abdurrahman Öztoprak from 1950s. Trained in Academy of Fine Arts (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University) by Nurullah Berk, Öztoprak is one of the first and most reputable social realist painters of the country with some embodiment cubism as well. Although housed in an architecture school not many people know about the legacy of this fresco. It lies silent behind gatherings and conferences: untitled. Further enquiries with Fatma Merve, one of my student guides revealed that, "Abdurrahman Öztoprak (*1927 Istanbul, lives in Akyaka) is one of Turkey’s leading contemporary artist of international stature. His works are represented in the permanent collections of major museums and private collections in Turkey. He draws his inspirations for his abstract compositions primarily from Classical European Music. He created a unique body of abstract works during a fifty year period. On July 1st 2007 Abdurrahman Öztoprak has been eighty years old. Öztoprak was educated at the Art Academies in Istanbul and Rome and worked in Germany between 1960 and 1975. Öztoprak’s abstract paintings are a true archive artistic dialogue between East and West cultures and testimony to the way in which different traditions express their feelings. Their messages are continually universal. The geometrical abstract works of artist demonstrates a unique imaginative form vocabulary. Öztoprak’s paintings have recorded interesting dialogue between Oriental and Occidental Art; through them we witness a fertile symbiosis of Turkish and European Culture."

Image3: The beautiful courtyard at the Istanbul Technical University springs to life in the coffee and cocktail breaks and students stream out to sit in the sun and socialize between classes. Pelin Kazak who picked me up from the airport won the best prize for the student exhibit.

Image4: Experiencing street food views in Istanbul with student volunteers on the day before the ITU conference.

Image5: Entrance to the ITU building with the conference poster and views from the conference venue during the keynote lecture.

Image6: On the sidelines of the conference XXI Design Magazine conducted an interview with Prof M P Ranjan

Image7: On the day after the conference Merve and Saniye, student volunteers showed me the scenes of the Bosphorus, crossed over to the other side of Golden Horn and looked at the covered market and took the ferry ride to end the day.

Image8: Sunday it was street life in Istanbul on both sides of the Bosphorus, teeming with people, dressed in their best and nowhere to go in particular and nothing to do in particular, an interesting day of ambling about on the town.

Image9: Return journey through Doha Airport in Qatar is one big shopping mall and a number of halls full of Eames Tandem Sling Seating just like the original prototype that we have in the NID Prototype Collection back home at Paldi campus.

Prized takeaway from Turkey: A small book, "On Methods of Research by Bruce Archer, published locally by METU Faculty of Architecture Press, Ankara, 1999" was presented to me by Prof. Dr Fatma Korkut and Prof. Dr Gulay Hasdogan, both faculty at the Department of Industrial Design at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara in Turkey. This book is in both English and in Turkish language, front to back, and as a low cost offering it makes available valuable insights into design and research from one of the world thought leaders in the subject. I was wondering if India too could not do this and if some Indian school takes up this challenge they will soon be seen as the design leaders in the region themselves. I have a wish list of a set of books that must be made widely available to Indian audiences from the school level all the way to the level of industry stalwarts and Government officials who should be exposed to ideas in design if we are to see a change in the use of design in India in real sectors of national need. Is anybody listening?

Design Thinking: Is however the Flavour of the Day. Design Thinking Exchange posted a list of thinkers that generated scores of emails and Facebook & Twitter posts that came my way. Thank you all for your mails and Tweets. More about this in my next post, particularly since I am off to Melbourne next month to participate in another conference on Design Thinking organised by the Swinburne University by Prof Ken Friedman, Dean, Swinburne Design.

Prof. M P Ranjan

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