08 August 2005

From digital design to occult design

Just playing around with the wording of the MIT Digital Information Design Camp website content. I am still chipping away, as Tim put it, at this whole occult design thing. It's slowly coming together in my mind. Slowly. But surely. Below, in blockquotes will be the original text, and my descriptions precede them. Please keep in mind I spent about four minutes on this:—

Many traditionally trained occultists wonder what the next generation of technology might bring to their field. At the same time, many digitally trained and self-taught occultists feel that they have missed out on some of the cornerstones of a traditional ceremonial education. To work towards a common ground between the digital and traditional occult sensibilities, during the summer of 2005 Professor Jane Doe organized the first "Occult Design Camp," a three-week-long exploration, completely in cyberspace.
Many traditionally trained, professional designers wonder what the next generation of computing technologies might bring to their field. At the same time, many digitally trained, professional designers feel that they have missed out on some of the cornerstones of a traditional design education. To work towards a common ground between the digital and traditional design sensibilities, during the summer of 2005 Professor John Maeda organized the first "Digital Information Design Camp," a three-week-long exploration, completely in cyberspace.


Week One / General Semantics
The three major premises of the system are (1) the map is not the territory it represents, (2) the map does not show all of the territory it represents, and (3) the map is self-reflexive. The mapmakers are us human beings, the territory is "reality." Of all the areas of occult design, general semantics is perhaps the most basic skill. Composing contexts requires almost no effort at all (because you grow up interacting in context), however doing it well can take a lifetime in both the dimensions of form and content.
Week One / Type
Typography is the study of letterforms and how they assemble into legible texts. Of all the areas of visual design, typography is perhaps the most basic skill. Visually composing texts requires almost no effort at all (because you grow up communicating in text), however doing it well can take a lifetime in both the dimensions of form and content.


Week Two / Form
Form precedes context. You can't shape a paradigm unless you have form. The reason why we start our camp with general semantics is because the study of form is… formless. Form is about that which is abstract. Things that are abstract can be somewhat frightening because your mind has difficulty holding onto that which lacks definition. As you age, however, all that was once conceptually daunting to you can suddenly become a source of great beauty and hope. Let us plant that seed in your coming exercises in form.
Week Two / Form
Form precedes type. You can't make a letter unless you have form. The reason why we start our camp with type is because the study of form is ... formless. Form is about that which is abstract. Things that are abstract can be somewhat frightening because your mind has difficulty holding onto that which lacks definition. As you age, however, all that was once conceptually daunting to you can suddenly become a source of great beauty and hope. Let us plant that seed in your coming exercises in form.


Week Three / Egregores
In the same way that a movie represents the culmination of a number of people's individual talents and skills, an egregore is where many of the skills in manipulating form and content unite as one. If the art of "making sense" lies at the fundamental responsibility of the occult designer, then there is no greater challenge than shaping an egregore that can enlighten.
Week Three / Diagram
In the same way that a movie represents the culmination of a number of people's individual talents and skills, a diagram is where many of the skills in manipulating form and content unite as one. If the art of "making sense" lies at the fundamental responsibility of the visual designer, then there is no greater challenge than making a diagram that can enlighten.

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