Thursday, April 9, 2009

Individual & Group: The Individual Must Always Be One With The Group

In previous versions of the "individual and the group", most students have developed strongly isolated spaces for individual refuge. I feel individual refuge is important, but not at a collaborative workplace--refuge is for home.

Question: How will removing places of individual refuge in a design studio affect collaboration and creativity?


  1. Isn't it beneficial to break away from the group for a little while, formulate some fresh, individual thought, and reconvene? I don't know if this has been scientifically proven, but it seems to be a common format. -but your right...maybe if it's "all group, all the time" the entire process would move quicker...I'm sceptical though- I think I'd start to doubt the authorship of my ideas...but maybe that shouldn't matter.

  2. The complete primacy of the group is hard to even imagine because our society is so biased toward the individual; plus, individuality is asserted because we're creatures of habit. How many times have you gone to a lecture in AUP 194 and sat in the same seat for the entire semester? The seat doesn't belong to you, but it becomes "your seat" for that hour - a place of individual refuge. How could you design something that discourages individuality through habit? I wonder if it's even possible to remove the possibility of refuge?

    As to Ted's question, removing individual refuge would certainly encourage collaboration through visual and auditory proximity. But it can only encourage to a point. Because we have free will, you can't force people to collaborate or communicate. Like how strangers rarely talk to each other on a bus, which is an example of a place with minimal provisions for refuge.

  3. As far as getting away:

    How many people feel "trapped" in this studio? Does getting some coffee at Grind relieve this? Does this studio actually encourage you to have meaningful events like getting coffee with some friends, taking a walk around SARUP or the street?

    I think I would like to get away at times, but retreating to my own little room seems like an awful way to accomplish that to me.

  4. In response to Christine's comment, if Ted's design is truly successful, there would be no individual authorship. Any idea would instantly be co-opted by the group.

    Whether anybody would feel comfortable or open of even able to design in such a situation is another can o' beans.

  5. I agree that each individual needs a place of refuge. Examining my own process, I find that I need time both at studio and at home (as place of refuge)to work through any design problem. I would argue that there is only psdeudo refuge in our studio; in studio, we can never truly separate ourselves from the group.

  6. If you have an option of individuality and group interaction, then what is the default state? If the default state is group, then going into your own little room could be seen as a retreat or a relief.

    Conversely, if the default state is individual, then going into the group area could be a surfacing for fresh air.

  7. I believe authorship is maintained and a group of individuals comfortable working in this space would be comfortable maintaining ownership of individual ideas even in a group project. The author is the one that sets up the framework(rules), the outcome is variable and based on the group, but within the original intention of the creator.

  8. One thing that makes people uncomfortable is a feeling that big brother is always watching. The presence of a raised center aisle and lowered work floors reminds me of the work-spaces created during Taylorism where the boss could always see every person or "part of the Machine". I wonder if an opposite planer relationship could create an open yet more private space for everyone.


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