Zachary Kaiser
Tangible Criticality (2014)
(a two-person exhibition with Gabriel Schaffzin)

Tangible Criticality was a show that sought to present the perspectives of two design educators, myself and my colleague, Gabriel Schaffzin, working to inspire a critical discourse around systems with which our students interact everyday. Simultaneously a “piece” and an exhibition, Tangible Criticality included works created by both of us, works on which we collaborated with others (namely, Daniel Buckley and John Howrey), and works created by our students. In navigating the space, visitors were guided through the three fundamental levels of any system: elements, relationships, and ideologies. [1]

Through the works in the show, we argued that “the dialectic between speculative design as a teaching method and as a means for developing new teaching tools presents a fertile ground for exploring innovative design pedagogy—providing the unexpected opportunities so cherished by designers. Without a design education that fosters a tangible, reflective practice of criticality, we allow the ideologies embedded in systems to achieve hegemonic status. We therefore not only encourage students to become designers of systems, but to become critics of systems.”