Silent or loud, raised and planned long beforehand or erupting spontaneously, it can change something or fail miserably: such is the nature of protest. However, irrespective of the form resistance takes, it is always a subject of design. In form 273, we look at how protests are designed and how design itself can protest.
The collections of museums and archives are testament to the long history of protest. In an interview with Martin Roth, previously director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and who died last Sunday in Berlin, he tells us about a lady’s handbag with a secret pocket for leaflets against slavery – showing us that “peaceful protest, too, contains a great deal of creative potential”. But we are also interested in the kinds of artefacts used today for protesting. In “Welcome to the Protest Archive”, Anja Neidhardt reports on the initiative of various institutions to document current protest movements and to make them available to the general public.
If the design world itself wants to resist, it can use a range of methods and one of them is subversion. In a piece called “Hack the System!” Sarah Dorkenwald looks at examples of subversive design. According to Max Borka in his manifesto-like article, a prerequisite for protest in design is that the designers themselves critically question their own discipline, so as to “transform [from] the most individualist author of yore into an agent of change in the service of the community, an activist and catalyst”. Finally, in “Vom Protest zur Revolte – And Other Transformations”, Hans Ulrich Reck sets out how protesting design is akin to bricolage.
In the current issue, we also have an overview of Canada’s design history and in the Discourse section, we discuss the complex relationship between design and politics. Further, in a world increasingly permeated by technology, you can learn all about Next Nature Network’s understanding of nature; and in the Materials section, you can get an idea of how the Materiability platform disseminates knowledge and research about materials.
In the penultimate part of our anniversary series “Revisiting the Past”, we ask about the consequences of the Internet, which, since the 1990s, has become a universally available technology with a massive reach. We asked two authors for their opinions: while Jonathan Taplin criticises the almost unlimited power of Internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, Daniel Moßbrucker warns that excessive government regulation will actually endanger our civil rights.
As always, you can read three articles online: “Transparency” presents projects which look at this feature both explicitly and metaphorically, the above-mentioned piece “Hack the System!” is available and lastly, impressions from this year’s Jerusalem Design Week.