Reflective Remediation as Critical Design Strategy: Lessons from László Moholy-Nagy and Olafur Eliasson
Reflective remediation is an important component of contemporary media theory, which emphasises the creative efforts of avant-garde artists and designers to shape the evolution of media in a critical way. However, the critical capacity of reflective remediations may be compromised by commercial dynamics or conventions, such as the celebration of ‘reflec-tivity for reflectivity’s sake’ that aims to construct an auratic experience for viewers. Because reflectivity is a critical media practice, it is vital to investigate reflective remediations in tandem with the critical intensions and creative visions of artists and designers. We investigate the critical media practices of the Bauhaus master, László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) who explored the concept of ‘productive creativity’, according to which creative experimentation should lead to design knowledge, redefining the relationship between what is known and unknown. We then scrutinise the artistic practice of the Icelandic-Danish contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson (b.1967), who contextualises reflectivity as an embodied experience , in terms of what he calls ‘frictional encounters’. When applied together, the two concepts enhance our understanding of reflective remediation as a critical design strategy.