What methods, tactics, and processes can we use to mediate the interaction between design, (cultural) industries, and the civic to actively reshape our visual and material world based on common good principles? To answer these questions, this panel introduces three different approaches from the fields of communication and product design. The presenters share interests in collaborative creation and new formats of design mediation.
Martina Fineder and Luise Reitstätter introduce the experimental method of the exhibition interview walk and explains how it was used to create “Design Patterns for Future Commons” in the sphere of product design.
Elena Caratti and Giovanni Baule present independent social magazines as a territory of multiple translation processes and catalysts for social change as well as spreaders of positive practices for the common good.
Ellen Christensen shares three case study strategies (subject matter, flexible modes of display, and structural logic) for collectivizing the gallery space in relation to Julie Ault’s framework of exhibition-making as political act.
How can the design gallery be collectivized? How can the gallery be activated and reclaimed as a common space (both shared and everyday) contributing to the current and future common good through processes of co-design, co-curation, and co-authorship—with the goal of common ownership? This paper will explore three specific case study strategies for collectivizing the gallery space: 1) the 2019–2020 exhibition “Making Common,” curated by Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) AICAD Post Graduate Teaching Fellow Elaine Lopez; 2) the 2015 re-envisioning of the graphic design gallery at the Rhode Island School of Design as a “design commons”; and 3) Studio Moniker’s Conditional Design manifesto for collaborative artistic co-processes (Maurer et al., n.d.). Julie Ault’s framework of viewing exhibition-making as a political “process of inclusion and exclusion” (Ault, 2003, p. 363) will be applied to analysis of practices of co-authorship, co-design, and collective memory.
This paper introduces the experimental method of the exhibition interview walk and explains how it was used to create “Design Patterns for Future Commons.” Methodologically, the exhibition interview walk references the focused interview, thinking aloud and object elicitation within a mobile research situation. The key argument is that through a thematic confrontation in the form of visual/material artifacts within an exhibition, complex or conflict-laden topics are more easily discussed, even with “newbies” to the research field. The aim of our first use of the exhibition interview walk was to study the social perception of commons good principles from different positions of economic and political thinking. In response to the preconception of commons as being avant-garde or counter-cultural, we focused on their potential to change the dominant capitalist system. From an overarching perspective our findings suggest that commons gain acceptance when their initiatives are considered to be of high societal relevance.
We are living in an epoch in which critical reflection on the meaning of the human condition is impelling. Equally urgent is the creation of artefacts and experiences that can heighten awareness concerning collective challenges within everyday contexts and processes of social and economic life (Julier 2019, 336). As the research commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council about Social Design Futures declared: Society currently faces extensive large-scale complex challenges, which social design is suited to addressing. The challenges of climate change, migration, ageing populations, chronic disease, wealth disparities, and pressures on public sector finances, require smarter and more agile responses to how problems and opportunities are identified and framed, and how new solutions are generated, explored, prototyped, resourced and realised. (Armstrong et al. 2014, 20) In this paper we would like to assert that the sector of independent editorial design for the social can positively contribute to information sharing, reinforcing knowledge and debate, reframing issues, building a memory of good practices, and supporting the importance of social design in different contexts, both civic and academic. More specifically, the paper intends to: 1. Reveal the characteristics and potentialities of social independent magazines as cultural attractors and cultural activators. 2. Describe how they can be conceived and interpreted. 3. Reflect on the design process through multiple translation practices (beyond the interlinguistic translation). 4. Consider the ethical dimension of translation and its implications on education through three projects developed at the Design School of Politecnico di Milano, MA Course in Communication Design. We will refer to ongoing research regarding the relationship between design and translation, focusing our attention on the process of editorial translation. For this purpose, we will consider a series of contributions from the fields of social design and independent magazine design and, in particular, from theories in text, medium, and translation studies.