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High DIY

January 23, 2011

I love this term. I just made it up when I was writing about my thesis and what ANTI can be used for. ANTI can be used for / communicating with the most people possible by working off of standard forms and formats / sneaking high design into more understandable forms / disrupting the everyday/ creating high design with serious economy of means.

I love my thesis for many a reason, but one of my favorites is the economy of means. I strongly believe that most ideas are probably off better doing only one or two “special things.” By working off against accepted forms and formats and doing one thing “wrong” (which becomes the “special things”) these designs, enjoy, by definition, an economy of means. Easy to do. Simple. DIY, almost. But by extremely focused (i.e., only doing ONE or two things wrong), this DIY style becomes high.

I find this turn of events, this realization I’ve made about my thesis, quite powerful and moving, actually. One of my original thesis ideas, way back in the day, was to make some sort of a template to create zines. In essence, I wanted to clean zines up just a wee bit, to take that energy and make them a bit more legible, a bit more inviting for the outside world. I moved away from that idea but now I find I am back where I started: trying to create some guidelines for making DIY projects that invite the outside audience in, rather than being a closed system. High DIY.

Another thing is that when I was applying to grad school, one of my stated goals was to take my creative handmade energy and reconcile it with the computer. And I think it was a real goal of mine–to take my crazy and somehow channel it for the public, to bring a bit of discipline into it.* I really think that’s what ANTI is about, though I only now realize it.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.” TS Eliot


*This is clearly why “to be massively accessible” has been such a strong goal of mine and why it’s been such a sore point in conversations with some teachers. I’m still not sure what being “massively accessible” means for them and why they’ve been so against it, but when one person thinks you’re a creative genius and the rest of the people cannot ENTER/engage with the work you’re making–you realize that accessibility ain’t nothing to trifle with. Indeed, I think that maybe the smartest thing I’ve done all year is to have so clearly and steadfastly held onto this as an outright goal that motivates my work.


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