Design doesn’t have to care entirely. Often times, according to a paper by Barab et al., designers often are not critical ethnographers but as instructional designers interested in the research and development of designed structures that facilitate learning and empowerment. (2004). At this point, I think about my own personal practice and the assignment brief that had been brought down onto me for this assignment. What do I care about? What do I need to care about? Is it about what I care about or is it about what other people care about? What does the word ‘care’ even pertain to.
the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.
“the care of the elderly”
I took to the idea of the first definition and tried applying it to the issue that I found dear to me, non-linear relationships.
However, is it always about me? What about people who are in non-linear/ conventional relationships, what do they want?
I went to ask a friend of mine who works in a cafe that is known to be a safe space to people of all gender identities, ethnicities, or other minority understandings. As a heterosexual/possibly asexual woman, she asserts that such relationships are not for her. Even the language that she used depicts her non-aversion to such possibilities.
In hindsight, when I asked her if she’d want people to understand these relationships more, she maintained that she would want people to know more about these relationships, and even for people to consider them for themselves.
So, why not?
Furthering this, I decided to ask a homosexual man on his take on his own relationship.
While not explicit, this inference shows that his thought of a monogamous relationship between him and his male partner constitutes as a linear progression.
Based on letters by Noah Smith, Penelope Swales, and Jacques Attali, their article – The Benefits of Free Love, illustrates their own romantic and sexual relationships. In Smith’s letter, he mentioned that AIDS was an incentive for monogamy, ‘selecting’ the most monogamous people for survival. He also mentioned that experiments with ‘Free Love’ had led controversies since 1960s till now. Penelope Swales then brings in her own polyamorous / non-monogamous relationships as an example and states that illicit affairs are not polyamorous relationships especially since they are not honest. Attali was much simpler in representing his thoughts. While the two aforementioned writers had critiqued his essay, he clearly states “In my essay, I was not forecasting that polygamy will replace monogamy, but rather that the two will exist simultaneously. Therefore, both Noah Smith and Penelope Swales agree with me – if not with each other.”
After a conversation with a friend of mine who is interested in critical design, I decided to think of my findings and what I wanted to show in an infographic and who I wanted to target.
Based on my conversation with Jenjira and Coke, I realised that what people between the age of 25 to 35 want to learn more about different relationship types instead of the mainstream and linear. From this, I can understand that my target audience would be 25 to 35 men and women and my infographic should aim to present various forms of non-linear relationships and that tagline should encourage youths to try various forms of relationships.
In terms of products that I want to look at making, 1 would probably be a zine/website to serve the purpose of allowing people to understand and be more accepting of non-linear relationships. That is phase 1 – promotion and awareness. For phase 2, I would want to try condom packaging to promote safe sex. This is in-line with Smith’s comment on how 1960s sexual revolution and experiment in free love had led to controversy till now. The idea of free love and empowering the body would require sexual / romantic exploration. As Smith had mentioned, HIV/AIDS would seem like an incentive for monogamy. Thus, safe sex would for both men and women would allow for such exploration.
So in terms of care, why do we have to care about people with different relationship philosophies?