Fine Print

Assumptions and limitations in unification and systemisation


  • We focus on architectural design. We discuss other design disciplines, but the target audience of the project is architectural students. We draw the majority of examples from architecture, and focus on the current architectural debates. As of yet, there is no major subject area not applicable to (at least) architecture, graphic design, narrative design (including drama, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction), computer interface design, music composition, the culinary arts, and fine art (painting, sculpture, metalwork, etceteras). Many of the Treasure-chest sections will need to be expanded to deal with these other art forms, but the cost makes it prohibitive given our currently limited resources.


  • Pursuant to the need not to get sued for discrimination, we hereby officially plan to consider the possibility of implementing some sort of committee for increasing the awareness of, and eventually, eliminating any prejudice towards any art or design discipline which raises a complaint and cannot be satisfied through threats, warnings or bribes. The makeup of said committee will be determined at such time as hell freezes over or two weeks before any legal action taken against the company regarding discrimination reaches the courts, whichever is earlier.


  • Pursuant to the need to finish the project sometime this millennium, we generally limit the body of the project to discussion of the generation and critique of form. Higher-level theoretical debates are left to other projects or later extensions to this project.

Clause 3: Dangers of systemisation

Clause 3.1:

  • It is hereby stated that this project is not to replace other design theories. The purpose of this project is to create a systematised overview of other theories, not to replace those theories.

Clause 3.1.1:

  • This assertion is included to alleviate the fears of those who have vested interest in particular theories.

Clause 3.2:

  • Among the dangers of developing a systematised overview of a diverse artistic phenomenon is the chance that users of the system will fall into surface-oriented eclecticism.

Clause 3.2.1:

  • We see this as a problem with formulaic mind-sets, rather than as a problem with the project []per-se. Bad craftspeople will do damage with any tool.


  • To head off criticism, we have included within the project various platitudinous admonitions to judgement, balance and the like. It is assumed that this will constitute a legal defence if a law-suit is brought against us.

Clause 4: Assumed working patterns in Toolboxes and Treasure-chests

Clause 4.1:

  • It is hereby assumed that the create-critique model of creation is the assumed model which we, being the people creating this project, on the eve of the creation of this project, do hereby assume to be the model of creation which we will assume within our discussions, the sum of which make up this project, that being the project Toolboxes and Treasure-chests, which we are creating, tonight, we assume.

Clause 4.2:

  • By "create-critique" model is meant that model of creation which proposes the existence of a generative period, during which ideas, elements, details and relationships are created with little critical analysis, this being "creation", followed by a period during which critical analysis is brought to bear on the project, and develops plans for the further alteration of the project, this period being "critique."Note#6

Clause 4.2.1:

  • The benefits of the system are the rapid generation of a body of work that can be refined or abandoned after its worth is determined through the critique process.

Clause 4.2.2:

  • It is duly noted that the create-critique process outlined is considerably more complex than outlined. There are many different levels at which the create-critique process occurs, from the moment-by-moment decision of where to put a line, to the societal processes that test experiments in art with formal and informal public critique, and alter the practice of entire professions.


  • It is duly noted that the word "profession" has negative connotations for some constituents of the project. We therefor decree that these constituents are barred from constituency until such time as they lighten up a little, or we receive a single letter of complaint. We have implemented a sub-committee to deal with the possibility of public outcry over this choice of wording. Appointed to this committee are those whom we feel can be trusted with such a delicate and time-consuming operation, mostly those of our relatives who are currently unemployed and looking to get a cushy government job.


  • Strike that, Mimi. Replace it with "trustworthy members of the constituency." And let's head out for the night, okay?
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Copyright (c) 1997 -- Mike Fletcher
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