For Designers: Personal Notes and Essays for Designers’ Emancipation. Complexity

Gauthier Roussilhe

Complexity often defines the density of the interactions between the elements of one or more systems. The more interaction there is, the more the complexity increases in some way. However, we must be careful not to confuse what is complex with what is complicated. Where the complex is a density of interactions, the complicated is just an accumulation of simple elements.

The world in which we evolve leads us to have a simple vision: we “analyze” a phenomenon in its instantaneity without invoking all the interactions that are linked to it. We live and see in the short term; we flee the long-term, and we end up stacking and never connect. Because it generally favors the short term, design for industry (design, production, communication, consumption) is a tool that promotes this simplification of the world. The current designer creates experiences, products and services that, at best, hide the complexity or, at worst, show disgust. Yet it seems more than necessary today not to be disgusted by the complexity of our world but rather to embrace it as best we can. It is through the personal attempt to understand the complex that we move away from the frenzied ignorance of those who think they know, and we leave behind the shores of superficiality. In short, to embrace the complex is to invite oneself to the journey. In this perspective, the practice of design can become an incredible tool for mediating complexity, because it naturally embeds one of the most complex (and thus most disturbing) elements of our world within its reflection: humanity.

 

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