Michael Fan
Michael Fan
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MDES Thesis: Wanderland

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MDES Thesis: Wanderland

Michael's Masters thesis exploring experimentation in design theory to experience the land of Wonderland beyond the story written by Lewis Carroll. 

The final project uses the narrative elements in Carroll's original story to create a card-based game, similar to games like Cards Against Humanity and Once Upon A Time. In this game, players use the elements of Carroll's story to rearrange, build, and create new stories to explain what has upset the Queen of Hearts this time in Wonderland. 


The Paper

The supporting research paper entitled Wanderland examines the nature of experimentation in graphic design in order to understand how a designer might uncover new ways of working apart from the conventional solution-based approach in everyday work. It has roots in graphic design, animated films, and art. Particular attention is focused on alternative design experimentation. The paper opens up a debate about the relationship of process and professionalism in design.

In contemporary practice, designers learn to embrace the mistakes which occur during the design process. These mistakes or ‘failures’ have guided designers to definite solutions using effective and efficient strategies and techniques, and have also offered spaces for alternative approaches to emerge when a designer emphasizes his own creative purposes.

The research and the artefacts proposes failure and an adaptation of ideas by theorist Judith Halberstam, for designers to consider as  new approaches to creative design that provide not only new methodologie, but also new ways of understanding how experimentation works.  Halberstam’s treatise, The Queer Art of Failure, examines the traditional concept of failure as a way to explore, detour, and ‘lose oneself’ in order to offer more creative ways of being in the world.

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