An Interesting Attitude – Nima Behravan


The idea of this paper is to focus on virtues that are responsive to and reliable for making things public. I want to write about the process of design for the future to see if there are any characteristics that would make an interesting attitude (substance or haptic) to be a responsible help for making things public with the use of media to address a certain space.


So the question of design of technology, that is shaping our study in my program, will bring more thoughts on the notion of this writing. I want to write on two aspects facing me as the points of my understanding of the issue under discussion: the human condition of virtuality and technological gaze. These points will propose questions that I aim to answer and conclude my theory that I studied in the beginning of my design career.


My main course is Tony Fry’s reading, however I had a hard time for understanding Sustainment. In my opinion the important question from this reading is: “the way in which knowledge, learning, and practice have become instrumentalized? “ in which I also can’t understand instrumentalized, and I attempt to offer visions to open up the conversation on this topic. All the other readings that we had throughout semester that I also referenced at the end will help the conversation on parallel. So I bring the attention to my experience in the Design for this Century lecture class by showing my interaction with the lecturer, and points of views regarding the subject matter in the body of this article.


I think I need more understanding on the concept of agency which Fry also talks about it, as it’s important in the way public perceives technology. These indicate ways of acting. What might be interesting is the importance Fry places on embodiment. He says we need to embody these ways of acting–as a constant striving.


Matters of fact with concern

Bruno Latour in the keynote lecture of “A Cautious Prometheus?” issues a new way of thinking toward design while offers the practice of theory for design students. He is basically concerned with the important role of designers to comprehend matters of concern and the path of community of designers for controlling visual machines. As each individual and groups that occupy global into their own practice of modern and function of world, Latour wishes to ask:


Where are the visualization tools that allow the contradictory and controversial nature of matters of concern to be represented? A common mistake (a very post-modernist one) is to believe that this goal will have been reached once the “linear”, “objectified”, and “reified” modernist view has been scattered through multiple view points and heterogeneous make shift assemblages. [Bruno Latour, P: 2]


In this case, total history is playing the role of evidence to magnify our understanding of conscious. The fascination of this play motivates the designers to look up the facts that are shaping heterogeneous shifts in the ongoing changes of modern time. However Latour wants to overthink this process that tickles the fact of present into concern for future. With raising the awareness, finding the mutual grounds for the discourse of design will need to clarify tentatively.


Ultimately, I will see two sides of discussion that faces the infrastructure of media as the common ground for publishing co-op knowledge. I want to interpret my thoughts on the concept of design and forming the act in the ideal scenario of a design concept. In order to look after the function of the life of a Prometheus, I hopefully clarify the nature of facts that generate concern.



      I.         Human condition of virtuality


The theme of the conversation and philosophical thoughts of the age of post-production has been involved with the new thing, the virtuality that is different from real. We consider truth has been transforming by unusual representations in the ongoing time. So the way any human being can perceive the progress of time at this point, will actually depend on the way time will be defined in a frame of space (architecture) and media (tool for communication). I just want to point out that language have been granted so rich to find niches of better communication in this context.


Then Fredrick Jameson claims that all elements of our object world have become instruments of communication—“What has happened to our object-world is neither youth nor age, but their wholesale transformation into instruments of communication” (p. 11). I think this is the valuable part of the virtual condition that actually forms the new culture, technoculture that totally makes technology and design the crucial part of the production.


Anne Balsamo also in designing culture talks about the role of design and designers in creating the infrastructure of sustainability, as one of the key elements of technoculture. The process of technocultural innovation is the stage for the performance of two critical practices: 1) the exercise of the technological imagination; 2) the work of cultural reproduction.

Moreover I want to tell the story of my experiment during the semester and the way I reflected on real stories from media and conceptual thoughts that were being discussed in Design for this Century lecture, this Fall at The New School.
The story goes back to the session Orit Halpern was the guest lecturer talking about Smart Cities, Data and Politics. Here is the description: “The slide between hard and soft infrastructures becomes particularly evident when the city becomes wired for data beyond what we have previously thought or understood as information and distribution.” The lecture shaped my concern for the cities of future as I only saw slides of progress of manufacturing in making smart cities and experience of building these cities in the under-developed countries that residents don’t have options to move in to this cities. I tried to share my concern in class by asking the question of how we think of the smart cities that we as designers are living in them right now. The presentation only showed images of this new innovation however it covered the matter of time briefly for the idea of new smart city, as it assured me of an incomplete stage for the context to be discussed in class, and for students, the designers of future. I wrote an email right after class to the teacher who invited guest lecturer of the class, as he recommended me to follow on this discussion with him.

On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 3:55 PM, Nima Behravan <> wrote:


Dear Clive,

 Thank you for the opportunity of discussing our today topic further.

I apologize if my concern seemed so instant right after the class, but it just involved a little bit of confusion on how we are approaching our discussion in this class. I’ve found the lecture and my recitation class (Barbara is my teacher) very interesting so far and I’m trying my best to involve with the current issues of design world. And just today I thought maybe putting effort on manufacturing new ideas would not be the best way to think about future. Sustainability of our every-day world that would also include all the different aspects of this fantasy (utopia) is something that I expect to listen to in class. And if the topic is over-loaded that it needs more time to cover the whole image, I just don’t listen to it until its ready to comprehend, instead of observing different faces of capital that makes me to interact on my thoughts of either like or hate it. I feel our responsibility is to get engaged with the current issues of the world that is making our life going so far, not introducing new ways of circulating the capital. I don’t put the circle in stand by mode, I just say we had enough, and we need to re-think it if we can see it didn’t work out for us. 

I hope you find this much of honesty clear enough, and please correct me with your constructive critique.


Nima Behravan



By sending this email I thought I could have a better communication with my teacher of lecture and pursue my concern out of the classroom, if it’s a complicated issue that would need more time for discussion out of class. Well I didn’t receive any reply to the email and I didn’t find the right time to discuss this matter with my teacher any further as I found my action poor with the following classes that concluded the issues of the Design for this Century lecture. However I felt myself into the structure that puts the student under supervision of the lecturer and hierarchy that doesn’t necessarily require a reaction. I reflected on the Architecture from Outside as Elizabeth Grosz’s in the last essay of her book “The Thing” raises some provocative points such as her understanding of technology:


Technologies involve the invention of things that make things, of second-order things. It is not that technologies mediate between the human and the natural–for that is to construe technology as somehow outside either the natural or the human (which today is precisely its misrepresented place) instead of seeing it as the indefinite extension of both the human and the natural and as their point of overlap, the point of conversion of the one into the other, the tendency of nature of culture, and the cleaving of culture to the stuff of nature. Rather, the technological is the cultural construction of the thing that controls and regulates other things: the correlate of the natural thing. Pragmatism entails a recognition that the technological is and always has been the condition of human action, as necessary for us as things themselves, the cultural correlate of the thing which is itself the human or living correlate of the world [Elizabeth Grosz, p. 177]


Having an outside view on architecture that is shaping our culture and personality we show for production is now the source of “gizmo” for further research on continuing the technological work.

    II.         Technological gaze


Many people argue that technology is one of the major reasons for us to have a pessimistic view about our future, yet the technological advancement and innovation that has been taking place recently is a factor that could actually inspire our hope for more positive one.


The are many factors that appear to be assisting in the technological advancement which include the tools that are present, the actual making of a subject an action and the manner in which we present it to the world. This is where the actual experience of gaze takes place.


The tools or instruments that made the mechanical age are now living in the design age. This sentience is not supposing distinction between these two ages respectively, however the design studies and matters are now more vivid than before. There might be a lot of tools for communication or implementing a certain concept or action, but the most important of these appears to be that of thinking it through. The designers are also conscious of this growth, practicing the new ways of filling the cores of communication and understanding the issues that might be of need to the world and trying to provide them. Also the common matter of believing in what we build in the life of our time gives us the hope to think of the future of technologies that are up and running since the beginning.


Now can we think of virtues of the design process that could make the near future more productive? Are there going to be rewards, punishment or laws of trying for better ways of publishing our ideas to others? Does the staging for one’s speech undergo similar mechanical steps as when we are designing the issues that are taking place in constructing the media in regards to time and space?


The sociospatial dialectic then, becomes a heuristic device, a process in locating spaces where architecture and mass media converge—where architecture is mass media. When, in the essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin discusses architecture, he points directly to the instructive nature of considering architecture in the context of mass mediation, “Architecture has always represented the prototype of a work of art the reception of which is consummated by a collectivity in a state of distraction. The laws of its reception are most instructive” [Barbara Adams, p.2]

The Interesting Attitude Theory

The identities that a designer will have in the practice of design will actually form the interaction with others that is crucial part of a design work. The personality that will be shown in a certain time with the use of proper media to address a space with re-presentation of ideas from past and taking place in present will continue in future. The self-image that is customized for different situations need to be “interesting” in order to continue in life of any concept based on the intuitions of needs that demand the progress of production. Electronic mediations and mass migration are the two issues that will prepare this customization and the knowledge that can be understood by human would need the attention in order to be comprehended in classes of economy, politics and design of culture.


I used to be fond of saying that people will always know the difference between media and reality. What I have come to understand is that, while we may know the difference well enough, we are rarely called by representation of choice and action to enact our power more robustly in the real world. No, games are not rehearsals for life. Through fantasies of agency we are entrained to satiate our needs for personal power in a realm where we can create no real disturbance to the web of control that entangles us. [The Game Design Reader, p: 267]


Furthermore, agency has the important role of communicating the subject matter of knowledge that is represented and more thoughts for being aware of the happening the action with the tools implemented to complete the circulation of acts. Gui Bonsiepe introduces this idea of some virtues of design as an unfashionable term that has: lightness, intellectuality, public domain, otherness, visuality and interest in theory. I also can think of three overall characteristics of this attitude:


  • Informing (disturbance)

The manner of publishing based on scholarly thinking or at the least possible a journalistic attend, is informing the reader or viewer who is interacting with the subject matter. In this case there is a disturbance arising from the NEW topic that is trying to inform the distance of drama in between. Media is perceived the instrument that is causing disturbance for viewer that may need to take part in completing the notion of attitude and maybe staying out of concern by having an intellectual thought around the topic.


  • Serving (Appropriate)

The new topic published under discussion will serve a certain community that is fitting into a vivid frame. With the commitment to communication, the writer attempts to design an appropriate show of the narrative that is accomplishing the time of the frame to be shown.


  • Appealing (interesting)

The interesting attitude that actually grabs the attention of audience is going to be interesting for future attempts that any author, designer or activist wishes to continue. Fascination of hope for rethinking this process that will instantly be offered there is the main virtue of design work.


Forgetting “frees the future from tie itself” and carries it “ to the greatest power of lack”. [Thinking of matters of concern in future] proposes that even that which has passed cannot become present to consciousness. [Rhonda Khatab, p:90]


Physical, mental and spiritual forms of our learning in different times and spaces from media are making the sides of this writing. Hence the interesting attitude of personality, presentation and appearance is being discussed under this situation. What are the characteristics of an interesting attitude, which lead into the process of learning and making things public? If we can introduce these characteristics that could be used in the design practice and implemented by agencies that are having a greater role for having a conversation in a certain context, we can have a better understanding of the real future that is our main hope of changing the way we perceive technology and use of design in practice of everyday life.



Latour, Bruno. (2008). A cautious Prometheus? a few steps toward a philosophy of design (with special attention to Peter Sloterdijk). Cornwall: [Design History Society Falmouth].


Fry, Tony. (2011). Redirection, design and things. In Design as politics (English ed.). New York: Berg.


Jameson, Fredrick. (1992). The geopolitical aesthetic: Cinema and space in the world system. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


Balsamo, Anne. (2011). Designing culture: The technological imagination at work. Durham [NC: Duke University Press.


Grosz, E. (2001). Architecture from the outside essays on virtual and real space. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.


Fruin, N. (2003). The NewMediaReader. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.


The game design reader: A Rules of play anthology. (2006). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.


Kang, J. (2014). Walter Benjamin and the media: The spectacle of modernity. Cambridge: Polity.


Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Hayles, K. (1999). How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press.


Mattern, Shannon. (2014). Intellectual furnishing. Retrieved from


Halpern, Orit. (2014). Test-Bed Urbanism. Retrieved from


Khatab, Rhonda. (2014). Timelessness and Negativity in Awaiting Oblivion. Retrieved from