The importance of context can be viewed by a push and pull system between the new and the old. New and different experiences changing the shape of paradigms facilitate valuable deviations of everyday life – while the old framework keeps the momentum and stability going which maintains the foundation of the narrative to begin with. Designing can be a very isolated or applied action depending on your intentions, when designing for a particular context one’s intentions are far more direct and targeted to that particular framework’s wants and needs. Understanding the very fabric you are designing for is fundamental to the significance of said designs – an example of which is found when examining the response to the declining forests and landscapes in Indonesia.
Dr. Budi Brahmantyo, geologist and artist calls attention to the significance of preservation in Java with his hand drawn geological sketches. Belonging to a small production space in Indonesia, Brahmantyo harnesses the current environmental context of West Java with the traditional practice of hand rendering geological landscapes. With the art of preservation becoming wildly concerning to the Javanese, Budi Brahmantyo’s artworks and teachings have reared the concept of ‘Geotourism’. Budi and his colleges at the University have designed ‘Geotreks’ for students, journalists and other patrons to visit places of geological issues, and they are encouraged to capture the phenomenon through drawing. With this – artist and doctor Brahmantyo has reacted to the pressing environmental concern within Indonesian context and designed not only visually beautiful artworks but raised awareness landslides, volcanic eruptions, foresting, mining and many more.
“Geotourism is a way to convey geological issues to general public. It is actually intended to make people aware of environmental conditions in Bandung. People need to know and care about the problems that are arising and will arise” In this sense this individual has emerged from his context and facilitated the narrative in a valuable way through his designs – supplying something of designerly substance to framework that was demanding it.
Context is the way in which we are born and raised, it affects every decision we make and informs why we care about certain issues, whether environmental, social, economical, spiritual or political. AbdouMaliq discusses the value in introducing new ideas to contextual framework “bringing differences into some kind of relationship produces unforeseen capacities and experiences that are valuable-valuable because they extend what we think is possible.” While those who have been surrounded by the mountainous landscapes of West Java find its deterioration a pressing issue – the paradigm of Jakarta and its citizens is unalike and calls for a different design consideration. Immersed in its absolutely saturated ‘cityness’ – Jakarta faces problems with movement and consumption, and this is portrayed in their ‘cut and paste’ like artworks and clothing. The citizens of Central Java, being bombarded by consumerist culture and dense populations struggle to find economic autonomy and identity – as a result have taken to grasping at western logo’s and fusing them with other logos or motifs. This form of design can seem like a blind capitalist collage but with understanding of Jakarta’s youth – trying to navigate city life and globalisation – it is an attempt at entrepreneurship and urban politics.
Jakarta is a jungle of urban politics where the poor are picked at by local officials and must band together in Kampungs for social stability. Designer Dendy Darman discusses fashion label Unkl347 and image theft for means of creation. “What matters is whether a designer is ‘conscious’ of what they are doing. Consciousness, Dendy claims, is what separates the pirates – the low-level capitalists popping up in city streets and dimly-lit warehouses throughout the archipelago – from the cut ’n’ pasters like him.”
In this sense, as individuals navigate different communities and circumstances – the very things they try to comprehend and hold value to are fundamental to designing for context. Designing for different contexts means examining the unique concerns and details of a circumstance and producing something that resonates with these values. If you contrast these values often this can be a significant comment as well – but ignoring the details of a context often results in a redundant design that doesn’t permeate any viable need to anyone.
– Bdg, J. (2011). Geotrek Indonesia ~ Kawah Cibuni (2/2). [image] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNGrREqDL1Y [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].
– Hawe Setiawan, H. (2013). Preserving landscapes – Inside Indonesia. [online] Inside Indonesia. Available at: http://www.insideindonesia.org/preserving-landscapes-3 [Accessed 26 Apr. 2015].
– Luvaas, B. (2008). Global fashion, remixed – Inside Indonesia. [online] Inside Indonesia. Available at: http://www.insideindonesia.org/global-fashion-remixed-2 [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].
– Simone, A. (2010). City life from Jakarta to Dakar. New York: Routledge.
– Theunis, R. (2012). Agora in Mall Taman Anggrek, Jakarta, Indonesia. [image] Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rudi_theunis/7832650126/ [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].
-Unkl347, (2011). [image] Available at: – http://hubnride.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/bike-chair-by-unkl347.html [Accessed 27 Apr. 2015].