fictim design

The normal method of academic design projects is comparable to the film idea of "diagesis." The designer must research, analyze, compile, invent, and revise the project following the model of scientific investigation, whose subject is the investigator and whose reality is "out there." Diagetic reality requires the designer to assume all responsibilities and produce architectural ideas along the line of "theories" about the "reality" of the program, context, and design precedents. The designer is "inside" the "story" of the project, a character without any authorial control.

Fictim design moves the designer to the author's position, and refashions the designer as a fictional character (fictim). The designer is able to manipulate and control elements in the 'non-diagetic reality' outside the narrative to control the point of view of both the fictional narrative and the project as a whole.

The fictim is an imaginary character, invented by the primary designer, whose point of view is constructed to limit and control the assimilation of information about the program and context. The fictim is a device for selecting, filtering, and controlling the relationship between the design and the authoritarian demands of context, client, studio director, discipline, etc. The purpose is the development of a 'poetic' program narrative that works from within the main programs to re-frame the design process.

The principal advantage of 'fictim design' is that it allows the designer to escape the limited points-of-view mandated by the pseudo-scientific model. The POV may involve subject and objective elements simultaneously; may invent other fictional characters, or make leaps between unrelated domains justified on the narrative program of the fictim.

The fictim follows the general dynamics of the bolagram, as a fantasia (ø) of the putative designer who, bound by the conventions of the academic studio, must respond in a 'scientific' manner to the program and requirements of the director and school. The required response follows the model of scientific theory development and requires a projective model of knowledge paralleling the linear relationship between program/site/etc., appearances, and the subject ($).

The lack/surplus of the scientific model of discovery is the 'essence' or residual of theory, its inability to combine, within the model of reality, the 'Real' relationship to the subject. This derives from Gödel's incompleteness hypothesis, which posits that a theory cannot include itself as an object of specified behaviors. It is this surplus/lack that the 'fictim design' approach makes as the object of the 'anamorphic' POV of the fictim.

The creation of the fictionalized character who controls the 'anamorphic' point of view shifts the fictim into the position of the designer, and replaces the real designers limitations with the fictional limitations of the narrative. The f position (the fictim position) can be occupied by another fictional character (who discovers some aspect of appearance invisible to the fictim-subject) or it can be reached by the fictim-subject as he/she moves through the narrative from a position of limitation to one that opens up the point of view.


By fictionalizing the complete process of design, including the 'enthymemic' element of reception/audience, the real designer is able to isolate, invert, reverse, segment, and recombine any element of the design process.

A few advantages of using the 'fictim method' . . .





© 2012, Donald Kunze, all rights reserved