In his recent film, Particle Fever (2014), Mark Levinson documents the first round of experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), investigating the origins of matter. The film opens with the initial firings of the LHC, designed to recreate the conditions associated with the Big Bang. It closes with prehistoric cave paintings, and an intriguing assertion by Savas Dimopoulos on the connection between Art and Science: “The things that are least important for our survival are the very things that make us human.” Both Art and Science can be understood as human needs to express the world around us. Both require suspension of disbelief, offering speculations about our physical and immaterial reality prior to proof. And both—as has been the case since the painting of the Chauvet Cave some 40,000 years ago—have no rules and no boundaries. The artists who produced these paintings did so in order to first face, then make sense of, their reality. We do Science with precisely the same motivation. Similarly nebulous are the boundaries between Design and both Art and Engineering. Design, in its critical embodiment (Critical Design), operates through speculation, devising unforeseen strategies that challenge preconceived assumptions about how we use, and live within, the built environment. In its affirmative embodiment (Affirmative Design), Design operates by offering practical, and often utilitarian, solutions that can be rapidly deployed. The former carries the mentality of Art, while the borders between the latter and Engineering are at best difficult to parse. Similar vagaries exist, too, between Science/Design, Engineering/Art, and Science/Engineering. It is likely to assume that if what you are designing carries meaning and relevance, you are not operating within a single, distinct domain.
It is likely to assume that if what you are designing carries meaning and relevance, you are not operating within a single, distinct domain.