Recently, I've come down with some strange affliction. I've had panic attacks before. I've had depression. But now, I've got something a little more peculiar.
One thing I ask students in my third year course every now and then is whether they're enjoying their time in University. It's not a loaded question. I honestly want to know if they’re getting something they want from the program. I phrase it a little differently than that, actually. I ask them if they are feeling fulfilled. Why do I ask?
The same reason people ask these existential questions: because I want to know what other people feel regarding certain topics. I want to know if others are feeling fulfilled at the current time of their lives. I want to know if I'm just a weird guy for thinking these thing. Well, I'm not feeling fulfilled. And I'm frustrated. No amount of complaining or breakdowns can alleviate my feelings of apprehension. This is further exasperated every time I consume something that is fulfilling. It's toxic. But I must consume it, because nothing I'm doing in the real life is at all fulfilling. It leaves a pit in my stomach, my chest aches, but I still consume, because I cannot create.
Every time I make something, whether it be a new product design or concept, I ask myself: ‘do I feel fulfilled?’. I'm constantly searching for something that makes me excited for the next day, for the days where I finish it and share it to the world.
Does industrial design fit that criteria? Do I feel fulfilled doing industrial design-y things?
No. Not really.
I've realized that I don't fully embrace industrial design as I used to. It is trash. Garbage. Antiquated way of thinking and only groom to the vices of human nature. But admitting this is actually painful. I've done it for more than 6 years of life. 4 years in school left me disheartened, disillusioned, and demolished my creative spirit. I feel duller than I was before. I feel so boxed in. I feel like I conformed too much. Doing 2 courses on intense reading and writing is killing me. I feel no fulfillment doing these things. It's not creative.
This is why I'm hesitant to advertise the MDes program as much as the professors want me to. As much as I like the people and the way it broadens my view on the world, it really leaves me bitter. I refuse to coax people in the program that would like to join the MDes program with half-hearted intentions. Until they figure out their raison d'etre for the MDes, I will do all that I can to plant doubt until they are either dissuaded or find a strong will. I definitely don't want to see other people suffer the same way I have. Even if I'm heavily reprimanded -- doubtful, because there're already tons of people willing to go through with it despite my warnings. I guess those are the type of people that’ll pull through or do something great anyways. The least I can do is cheer them on.
I think I've realized it from before, but haven't put it into words. My hesitance on doing things with my life, the way I choose to stagnate, it's all because there’s a misalignment on what I believe in and what I practice. I don't fully embrace industrial design. Despite my struggle to tell myself that I'm a designer, I'm frankly not. I'm afraid of actual designers with aligned philosophies and actions, and how it reflects on the degree of failure I am in comparison. Hence, my lack of confidence in my design. Because I'm unsure if my design is actually good or not. Because I don't fully comprehend my designs.
But I've digressed. I don't feel fulfilled because these things I've done is meaningless. The hanger I made? Pointless. An object with no real use because of prohibitive cost. The fact that I'm not pouring blood and tears to bring it to market (even if I have to make them by my own hands) show how much I care about it. Frankly, I don't like the wasteful nature of industrial design. I don't buy into the whole sustainable design, because it's not sustainable at all. It's a hypocrisy. Even the most environmentally friendly product will end up in the landfill. Not to mention the production waste that'll go into making it. It's not worth the trouble to create it in the first place. This is probably why I've stopped following industrial design trends. I'm completely clueless on what's going on in the industry.
So, what does fulfill me?
This is an important thing. A huge thing for me. Industrial design is not worth crying about. There's no real emotion, it's a dry husk of consumerism and conformity.
Then, look at this, a video by Porter Robinson. He is a prolific musician -- same age as me, 25. Look how much he accomplished. He made music that topped the charts, he wrote animations with heart, and now, he's probably developing a game to do the same. This is because he found something to pour his life into. He made music the container for his stories he want to tell.
I too, have stories I want to tell. There are characters and stories I want to share, but I need an ideal medium for it. Industrial design can't do it. There's not enough room to convey a story. Tragic, complex narratives. You can't do it. And that's frustrating. Industrial design is the most inhibitive creative field (if you can even call it that) on this planet. Not even stories, there's too much obstacles to be truly creative in the field. Why can't I simply make things without having my legs pulled back by obstacles and naysayers? Why the hell do I have to listen to people with opinions I give two-shits about? I want to create something true to myself, without it being sullied by things others want.
Gaming is a good example. I actually like the minimal waste nature of it. There's no manufacture cost, manufacture waste, no need to worry about product end-life, no transportation cost/pollution, etc. You can tell stories that touches the hearts of many, you can make something truly fantastic. Something engaging, something worth writing articles about; it can influence people, inspire changes, make anything come to life.
This is what I want to strive for. I want to be able to tell stories that can move people. That would be very fulfilling.