Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The New Shopping Mall


What will be the new mall? We didn’t go to the mall to shop, we went to be around people, color, and activity (with some fun shopping along the way.) We wanted to touch clothes and be surprised by displays and new products. We pine for a communal experience and the physicality of the real world. Maybe malls are churches of consumerism, but I think they are much more. We smell perfume and hear laughter with the gentle wash of shuffling feet. We see colors, we feel textures, and peek around displays.

It was a place to be alone together.

We no longer share experiences at the movie theater nor do we watch the same television shows. We share experiences with our tribe, nobly led by influencers and celebrities. We live a brand lifestyle.

Shopping now belongs to the internet, but we still need to get together. We don’t go to coffee shops for coffee – we go to be with people. We go to immerse ourselves in an environment where pleasant aromas are an honored perception and the pseudo-intellectual vibe compels us to write in our journals and have deep conversations.

However, we need a new mall, a destination to escape the heat or the cold and be with other lonely hearts. It was a place to play make believe games with my kids while surrounded by a safe, pleasant environment. The new mall might be a gaming center with unique foods. It will have some infrastructure that justifies our trip. Maybe VR and fresh spices. Maybe live entertainment and interactive games. These will draw us together as we enjoy our wearable technology and play communal games, pausing to nibble on wasabi-infused couscous on a bed of sun-dried kale.

Whatever it is, we need a new shopping mall experience.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Instructor Bias in Higher Education

This has been in my syllabus for a number of years and I try hard to follow it. The lectern should not be used for unfair advantages. Faculty have opinions, but opinions on many topics can be unfairly imputed onto students. 

Instructor Bias

My goal is that you learn how to think and not what to think.  By its nature, design requires creative (and very human) approaches.  These approaches can be influenced by tradition and an experientially rooted bias.  Your educational experience should not include receiving any sort of instructor indoctrination.

Where controversial issues arise, I may present information from sources representing differing views from which you can develop your own opinion.  These writings will be appropriate and professional presentations of the topics.  However, unlike me, you have the right to present your opinions in class, which other students can debate.  As an instructor with an unfair access to the podium, I do not share in that privilege.  Think for yourself!  However, design critiques are an important part of design education and these critiques should not be taken personally, they are intended for your benefit.