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It has been determined that our genetics play a huge role in what we are as people in terms of our looks and personality as well as our likes and dislikes. It has also been argued that creativity is generic and thus can determine what we individually find aesthetically pleasing. Yet do our upbringing of morals and beliefs play a role in how we view the world in terms of creativity and design? In his chapter on Taste, Clay (2009:13) states that "The particular culture an individual is brought up in has inescapable influence in that person's preferences." I tend to agree as I do believe our preferences when it comes to design, stem from where and how we were brought up and in correlation to this, what we were exposed to in our upbringing.
However, it seems in today's fast passed technological world where we have advances in technology that ten years ago seemed impossible, that we are losing touch of what culture and heritage are. This generation of technology allows for us to interact in what I believe to be an impersonal fashion. With services through the internet such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype we can communicate globally with the click of a button, which in terms of communication has advantages, yet we seem so detached from human interaction and all that comes with it. This is an effect of globilisation, as we are connected around the world, not only through technology such as the internet, but through the ever growing and advancement of travel networks of railways that link continents and aviation links that allow for transcontinental travel. The reality of the 21st century is that one can be in a different continent within a matter of hours and can communicate throughout the world at any point of time. In terms of creative problem solving, today's connected society has advantage as we can collectively gather and share information that can be used for solutions to global problems and therefore have a global interaction that will determine changes.
It is not my argument that this is bad, as we have been allowed a freedom to travel and communicate and therefore experience the world. It is however, my concern that we have been detached from our roots in terms our cultural beliefs and heritage as cross cultural and socio-economic integrations have occurred as a result. Research that has dealt with this topic in particular speaks to how cultures have integrated and mixed and some argue that this is simply a continuation of evolution, yet I feel that as a result we could lose not only cultures that have grown through the ages but the sense of belonging or as Clay (2009;13) terms "an individual's status in society." It is thus my intention to determine how globalisation has affected cultures through design changes.
Preliminary research on globalisation as a general topic has identified the cause of global change and development as a result of technology development that has allowed for the expansion of communication and travel. Cultures have been integrated in the sense that we are all connected through a similar thread that is the internet, where we can share information and discover and solve problems. As a result of this, we are better educated through the extent of knowledge that has been shared through this medium and thus have a better understanding of global issued that are being solved through design. It can be said that every aspect of our lives have been designed as we are constantly looking for ways to simplify our lives, mainly through technology.
However, it is through this ever-growing advancement in technology that we have made our lives and therefore our economies and to some extent of which I intent to determine, our cultures complex and thus integrated. Jarzombek and Hwangbo (Global in a not so Global World.[sa]) base their theory on globalisation through what they see as the integration of 'modern' and 'tradition' and how cultural relevancy has been modernised to the extent that tradition is seemingly extinct. Examples of Eastern and Asian Architecture are used here to explain how politics and global integration can determine what is built and for what purpose a building takes on, regardless of the socio-economic situation or cultural effect that will occur. Although this article shows a bias argument, it is the issue of how cultural relevance has taken the back fall to global change in power and political battles that are of a result of globalisation that is of interest as this can determine how culture in terms of design is at risk.
Therefore, it can be said that our lives are designed according to these changes as Marcus. G. H (What is Design Today.2002) asks the question 'What is Good Design?' which can lead to an infinite array of answers that are determined by the individual. It is however my interest in Marcus' take on how each aspect of design, from industrial to product design, relates to each other and forms a correlation that will affect each other as a result.
Archer. B.L (Design Awareness.1974) similarly discusses creativity and how design is brought about. Elements of design from corporate strategy to consumer demand and conflicting issues in design are explained in a simplified way which break down design into a logical format from creativity and ideas to how and why designs are brought into effect and the global process that either demands or supplies influence on new design. However, it is the effect on society and heritage that is discussed in a business like format, which is of interest as Archer gives perspective on the global effect of design and why consumers are a part of the change.
This leads to the idea of the consumer based society whereby we show demand for new products especially in technology and as a result we are affecting what is designed and produced and how we live our lives. Clay. R.(Beautiful Thing.2009) uses examples of art and design to correlate the relationships in all forms of creativity and therefore delves into the evolution of design and how this has effect on culture. Design in relation to our personal upbringings and where we live in today's society coincides on design decisions we make and why and how the 'human condition' has evolved and changes with technology and global issues that are being discovered and solved through design. Cultural influences are debated through examples of cliché designs and how these design methods have influenced design today and in what direction design is taking in modern society which will further more change culture and society which serves as the underlying issue of this research.
On a similar chord, while dealing with culture of a region or geographic whereby consumers can be influenced through design, symbols and signs play a role in what is attractive or desirable in design. Culture can be described as 'familiarity' and it is that which shows difference in culture and therefore design takes inspiration from this. Saleh M. (The use of historic symbols in contemporary planning and design*. 1998) explains that "The meanings in symbols can be derived from three distinct forms of interaction: first, the ascription of economic and intellectual status to an object as a result of historical discourse; second, through use of an object when mediated by the cultural sphere; and third, when exchange values are transformed to sign values, as citisens, designers or decision makers interfere with the meaning of a landmark under cultural, economic and political relations of production" and therefore introduces the realm of symbolic relation between culture and design and therefore how globally this relationship has been affected, of which the intention is to determine.
Significance of Research
My preliminary research has indicated that this topic is relevant in correlation to what is already known and it is the intention to further my knowledge of both cultures around the world as well as design that relates to culture and heritage. I have always been interested in travel and how other people live and moving to a new country has expanded my interest as I have learnt how people in South Africa live and how different the various cultures are. Language has also been a significant as I have learnt three languages that I would consider to be beneficial to my intended travel plans, and through language I have learnt that there is culture and heritage that is connected to a language; a topic that I could incorporate into my research paper.
As it is my intention to research further into the implications of globalisation in relation to cultural changes and how this has influenced or been influential on design, I see this topic to be relevant to today's society and in relation to South African design.
Though the current literature review, the topic of interest is placed into what is already known and it is my intention to further my research through the following questions and therefore derive a chapter outline for my proposed research paper:
What is globalisation?
How have cultures changed?
What determined these changes?
How has design changed?
What has determined these changes?
Does globalisation determine design change? How?
Does design change determine cultural change? How?