At this year’s conference of the German Foundation for Design Theory and Research I was invited to speak about the projects I conducted with the University of Arts Berlin in Nairobi, Kenya. In my talk I presented theses and conclusions I draw from the experience of the collaborative work we did there to address a more contemporary, just and realistic approach towards international development and how design could actually contribute towards this change.
Two days of various insights into design research methods and reflections on how design should and could position itself within the context of global challenges as a discipline embracing innovation and solution oriented quest were followed by a colloquium of one of the society’s themes “design promoviert”, where PhD-students and aspirants can present their topics and questions for high quality feedback. I did so and with my still very basic state of research and ideas actually initiated a new format to invite novices with the urge to do research into the arena of the academic research community. It was great to talk about my thoughts and receive very empathic and dedicated feedback. Definitely coming around again!
Planning to go at least one day, since it’s overlapping with the Politics for Tomorrow Conference…
“In a growing state of omnipresent connectivity, it seems that anything can be potentially connected – anytime, anywhere. We are embedded in a myriad of mundane socio-technical alliances, as humans and non-humans ceaselessly correspond and perform. Therefore, the urgency arises to raise the question: What relationships do we enter in to with our fellow agents, what new positions
do we find ourselves in?
From utopian to dystopian visions and realities: We invite perspectives on the role of design in all of this, on new forms of negotiation with and through things, and on what new analytical frameworks this calls for as we further embark in to these technically mediated futures.
The conference will take place on 16. and 17. of October at the University of Applied Sciences. Potsdam. More information on fees and accomodations will follow:
Sehr gespannt auf den Input im HKW am 18./19. September!
Kann Gestaltung Gesellschaft verändern? Wie können wir in die sich stets fortschreitende Modernisierung emanzipative Ideen einschreiben? Hat sich der Anspruch des Bauhauses und der klassischen Avantgarden, durch Gestaltung Gesellschaft positiv zu verändern, eingelöst? Wie können wir uns heute in neuer Weise vorstellen, Wandel und Zukunft zu gestalten? Was sind gezielte, aber doch ergebnisoffene Arbeitsformen? Welche Rolle spielt Co-Produktion? Wie kann man sein eigenes Dasein gestalten? Welche Rolle kommt dem Gestalter zu? Oder hätte heute eher die Abwesenheit von Gestaltung ein befreiendes Moment?
As the title already assumes there where three topics and their speakers of which for the the third part, discipline, was the most interesting. I was surprised how intensely theoreticised the talks were that dealt mostly with product semantics and the research tradition of the HfG Offenbach, where it was developed. My favourite talk however was given by Gui Bonsiepe, who questioned the efforts of design to step into the traditional academic approach towards becoming a discipline and reminded the auditorium that already in times of the first methodology conferences back at HfG Ulm they had come to the conclusion that design has to be practical.
It was a pleasure to see the projects of my MA&MAID class “RE_Hybrids & Identity” all nicely presented on the Dessau campus amongst the main semester project “Fear” by my colleague Prof. Susanna Hertrich and the expertise posters about bionics by Prof. Dieter Raffler. In the main building of the design department a colorful and manifoldly show of 2D, 3D and 4D projects as well as some results of the design theory classes were displayed. I very much enjoyed my collaboration with the new professor for design theory in Dessau, Prof. Michael Hohl. We composed a very interesting and critical collection of texts for our class “ethics & aesthetics in design”. I am very much looking forward to the next semester where I will teach another design theory class and substitute Prof. Katja Thoring in the 2D/3D foundation course during her research semester.
After one year of writing, translation, editing and great layout the collaborative book was finally published. I am very grateful to having been asked to contribute. My essay “digital culture: from open design to creating your own future” is one of 47 texts by contemporary artists and designers active in the digital world.
I am very happy to have received the offer to teach the class “Ethics & Aesthetics in Design” in the design department of the University of Applied Sciences Dessau. It is a great chance to plant good seeds in the minds of the designers of the future. “Designers are dangerous” Otl Aicher says in his book “the world as a design”. Because they are critical, they want to improve things and they investigate, research, dig to the ground. I hope to make them even more dangerous in terms of a critical approach to the world of production and cosumption as it is and to make them understand the responsibility they have in shaping a future we all want to live in.
With deep gratitude to Walter Scheiffele, who continuously pushed to project and supported us all we finally made it to edit our texts and get the book finished. Don’t miss to read what we think about professionals and amateurs in design and how the design world is shifting due to the evolving open and participatory approaches and the amazing possibilities the new technologies can offer.
Texts by Florian A. Schmidt, Peter Lasch, Susanne Stauch, Friedrich Kautz, Fritz Gobbesso
Illustration and Layout by Andreas Töpfer