Parrēsia is the practice of truth telling. Adopting a Foucauldian approach, this paper questions two things: (1) the meaning of “principles” in design at a time when democracy has lost its resonant truth; and (2) the correlative meaning of “practices” in design at a time when the world is facing unprecedented social and environmental change. The paper will develop Tony Fry’s thesis of design as politics and apply Michel Foucault’s interrogation of truth telling as a “joust” between the “formal condition” of democracy and the “de facto” condition of “ascendancy.” To exemplify these discussions, the paper will draw upon designs of purpose built mental health units in Australia and New Zealand. The aim of the paper is to discover what prevents the telling of whole truths in design. The terms “telling” and “speaking” will be transferred to “practicing” and “using” in design language. In addition this paper will add the notion of “truth listening” to that of “truth telling” in the unraveling of parrēsia in design.
|Keywords:||Parrēsia, Truth, Foucault, Fry, Democracy, Mental Health, Socially Responsible Design|
Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal — Annual Review, Volume 6, 2012, pp.11-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 712.298KB).
Portfolio Leader of Research, School of Art, Architecture and Design, Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia