Over the weekend I was revisiting the absurdist play “Rhinoceros” by Jean Ionesco and while searching online for other related writings to broaden my understanding of the piece I came across these interesting posters of the same play by the University of British Columbia.
As designers we are big observers of society the environment around us, where it is and where its heading. Abstract thinkers we join the dots, making connections between cause and effect.
Which makes me wonder about the meaning of the term “thinking outside the box”?
Because much of our human lives are increasingly spent living inside boxes..from the cubicle, to the car, apartment and television. A box that is in many ways not just a symbol of a cultural barrier which designers must think beyond in order to create progress, but also of a tempting conformism (as the book Rhinoceros suggests) that keeps us feeling good, comfortable and sheltered, but at the same time isolated and unaware of the social and environmental decline that ensues.
Now the following may sound very polemic, but in purely dialectic and exploratory spirit; could it be that our collective chase, focusing on living in the most beautiful house, driving the most beautiful car, creating the most beautiful design and why not wearing the most beautiful clothes (all objects which encase us like beautiful boxes), in turn also limits our awareness, preventing us from understanding and doing more important things? Especially now with so much social and environmental crisis on our planet.
As a designer ask yourself, is your design important enough, can it have a profound effect and what would the most important kind of design be like?
Could the box be a metaphor for technology, that although it helps us greatly, too much focus on it can also limit our vision and awareness?
A big fan of the Biophilia hypothesis, I sometimes wonder how our culture would be different if we could spend more time in the outdoors, in a natural environment, away from so many boxes.
P.S. It never occurred to me that so many Boxhead images existed on the web and in popular culture.
And of course when our time on earth ends and we pass away, where do end up? In another box of course ;P