Ching-Mei Lin

Design is Design is Not Design
Yin contains parts of Yang and Yang contains parts of Yin. They have equal composition and values related to each other. For example: In conversation Yang talks; Yin listens. Things appear when they’re separated to be compared. There can be an abductive relationship between Yin and Yang, and they are reflexive: 

“It’s when grand way-making is abandoned that authoritative conduct and appropriateness appear. It is when wisdom and erudition arise that great duplicity appears. It is when the six family relationships are disharmonious that felicity and parental affection appear. It is when the state has fallen into troubled times that upright ministers appear.” —Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Forgetting is cleaning the mind, leaving a space for learning new things. Though the sixth sense constructs human cognition, it limits human imagination if we think rigidly. Getting knowledge is like adding water in a vessel: the more we add, the less we can get. When people are too used to thinking limited thoughts rather than thinking flexibly, they kill their own creativity. They are not unbiased like children anymore.

The viewer decides what Tao is / has. People see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe. Hermeneutics claims that the receiver, not the sender determines meaning. It is important to forget “common sense” or cliché precepts in order to contain something new, and more.

The notion of “reality” does not exist, because each person has his or her own sixth sense and limited thoughts by experience. Tao can never be clearly explained. Tao may “fit” in different eras and disciplines. Tao is everywhere, is everything.

Japanese designer Kenya Hara applied emptiness to design in both visual and philosophical ways. Hara relates emptiness to the appreciation of na-ture, and regards it as a way to show how thank-ful we are to the world. Emptiness doesn’t just minimize the number of elements, but offers the proper number of elements based on a respect of nature. When a designer designs for Emptiness, a viewer decides what to see or how to use this design. Viewers perceive and interpret design based on their own memories and knowledge.

Emptiness is a flexible frame for thinking. “Design is not Design is Design” means finding new possibilities in each object for design. “Design thoughts” are the beginning of communication, combining designer’s souls with objects. In other words, Emptiness means putting “our old-stereo-thoughts toward one thing” in another place and seeing what happens. When we do so, we get a variety of answers.

Ching-Mei Lin, 2013