Bridges Instead of Walls
Groupings and fraternities are evident within communities. The design community in Malaysia, as in others around the world, is not exempted from this. Most of us as ‘specialist’ designers dwell within our territories, domains, out of both our strengths and insecurities. Minimally venturing out, shyly and often reluctantly, into other disciplines and areas we’re not trained in, even though fundamentally and principally we share the same core or bodies of knowledge. It’s only the skills and applications that puts us apart, although clients and industry sectors may remain the same.
Intangible walls are built to protect occupants and keep others out. Everyday we fortify our positions to earn the ‘specialist’ or ‘expert’ title, unbeknown to us that it’s actually limiting our ability and senses to understand and learn laterally; the other stuff. Phrases like ‘Aku expert grafik, aku tahulah buat’ or ‘You bukan 3D punya orang, you diam-diam lah’ or ‘Have to check with my friend, he’s into wayfinding design’ are common lines we’ve heard before and sadly, still do. Fast forward and we find ourselves walled up in an area which could be redundant or no longer highly valued.
Not today! (read: Chuck Norris). We need to look beyond that and adopt a Transdisciplinary approach, where a specialist designer may acquire and practice knowledge and skills of other areas. And by doing so, able to wear more hats than one. The age of a generalist is here, or some may argue, is back, as in Leonardo Da Vinci or even Benjamin Franklin, P.Ramlee too.
Adopt to adapt to the trying times we’re in now and for the acutely challenging future. Remove the walls and let’s cross on the bridges we should build!
Khairul Hazrin Hashim
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