I’m Not Dead
Perhaps there is more room for a diversity of designers to rise to the stage today, and thus a similarly diverse range of products and styles to see the light of day? I believe it’s time that we talk openly about the politics of design, from several perspectives.
As the title says, no, I didn’t die, I’m very much alive and kicking behind the scenes here! I know some of you have been wondering about the lack of updates here, and I feel like I owe you some kind of explanation. After running this blog for 11 years, I needed a break. At first I figured a couple of weeks off would be enough to recharge and get some new inspiration, and then I’d get back to blogging as usual. Instead I felt a huge relief once I got the nagging voice out of my head that’s been telling me that I need to update the blog every day for the last decade. I also felt an urge to do something else. Something new, more hands on, and perhaps a little less superficial. Maybe even something that could merge my two main passions; design and politics, which I always have had trouble combining in a way that felt meaningful from both perspectives.
So I started school. Since August, I’ve been studying full time. The subject? Street art and art in public spaces. It’s great fun, very hands on but with theoretical parts as well, where we get into art history, city planning, architecture, legal/ethics discussions etc etc. Turns out it’s the perfect bridge between my two worlds as it mixes aesthetics with messages. You can go as dark or political as you please, or just make something cute to make people smile, or a combination of the two. My main struggle has been not getting overly pretentious, which, trust me, is easier said than done when dealing with art of any kind. I probably failed terribly in that aspect, but hey, at least I tried…
Money Creates Taste, projection by Jenny Holzer
I’ve always had an interest in street art and graffiti, but growing up, the scene was completely dominated by douchy guys and I never really had the guts to step in and actually do something myself. Now, the scene has changed and is much more diversified, and there is space for everyone to do their own thing without adopting or even having to deal with the macho attitudes of the past. In my class, there is only one man, and the age of the students ranges between 19 and 71, all with very different backgrounds and perspectives on art and life in general. So while many of the biggest names in the field may still be male, they might have to move over soon, as there is a new group of street artists developing, ready take over at any moment.
What does all this have to do with my blog or design in general? Maybe nothing? Or maybe there is a similar movement going on in the design scene? Perhaps there is more room for a diversity of designers to rise to the stage today, and thus a similarly diverse range of products and styles to see the light of day? I believe it’s time that we talk openly about the politics of design, from several perspectives. Design shouldn’t be only for the privileged (read male, white, well-off), made in third world countries in materials and factories that destroy both the environment and the workers. Then there is the rather relevant question of whether we actually need another chair? And who buys that chair, and why?
I have been trying to promote a counterweight to these issues for years, but not really spelling it out very clearly to avoid shoving it in your faces. I don’t know if you even noticed that around 90% of the people I feature here are women? Or that a great majority of the products are made in sustainable ways, from eco friendly materials? Probably not. But maybe it’s time to let the cat out of the bag and start speaking openly about these questions. I’m still looking for a good way to do this, as critique isn’t really something we do in the interior design world and even less so in blogs, so now I’m looking into other forms of art and culture to see how it’s dealt with there.
All this has been keeping me very busy, and still is. My head is buzzing with graffiti styles, painting techniques, materials and project ideas, but also thoughts on representation, traditions, culture and politics, but I promise to try and find some time to update the blog soon!