Building Blocks

A Cultural History of Codes, Compositions, and Dispositions

Jose Muñoz Alvis

Transcript-Verlag

Building Blocks

Pub Date: January 2020

ISBN: 9783837647815

330 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $55.00

Building Blocks

A Cultural History of Codes, Compositions, and Dispositions

Jose Muñoz Alvis

Transcript-Verlag

Building blocks are practical materials for playing, learning, and working at kindergartens, schools, universities, and companies. How did building blocks, which were primarily established as toys for children, come to be practical materials used in professional and educational settings? This study explores the historical implications of particular sets of building blocks in the interdisciplinary consolidation and transformation of techniques, materials, discourses, and subjects. By mapping the genealogy of building blocks from Fröbel’s gifts to their current systematization as interlocked blocks, this study proposes that building blocks should be understood not exclusively as concrete objects but as the materiality of a combinatorial program, which delineates a modular system characterized by a code of composition, context neutrality, and a semantic component.

About the Author

Jose Muñoz Alvis is an industrial designer and cultural scientist. He completed his PhD at Humboldt University of Berlin in 2018. His research interests include the practices of modeling and transferring of knowledge between the natural sciences and design disciplines. His work in design includes consulting in communication and product design as well as in the application of participatory design strategies. Currently, he is a lecturer at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences/Bauhaus in Dessau. He was a visiting scientist at the Image Knowledge Gestaltung, an Interdisciplinary Laboratory Cluster of Excellence at Humboldt University in Berlin.