Crisis design?

The classic design disciplines as we know them – industrial, graphic, interior, fashion and furniture design – are under increasing pressure from contemporary societal issues. Climate changes, disproportionate distribution of wealth, lack of faith in political institutions, and ethnic animosities throughout the world are increasingly forcing us to think differently about design’s role in society. The overwhelming scale and complexity of these issues cannot be adequately addressed by any single discipline, let alone any discipline that insists on staying within a singular medium, scale or mode of production.

Then what? Could it be that design holds a potentially more able role, despite the daunting global challenges? If we dare to teach the new generation of designers, not only solid craftsmanship and technology skills, but also to collaborate, empathize and bring design methods to the margins of society, may they take on roles of responsible designers with the power to shape the conditions for human existence? If we encourage design students to work across a wide range of media and scales, and transcend conventional boundaries between disciplines, will they take on roles as designers who engage critically with possible futures? Perhaps. But we need to rethink design’s role in society.

In the words of the curatorial team behind Climactic: Post Normal Design, this current exhibition aims to “present alternative models for design that broaden human capacity to understand and intervene in accelerated social and environmental crises”.

We are both proud and humbled to see the Design Anthropological Innovation Model exhibited among such inspiring and thought-provoking projects by leading designers and thinkers.

Climactic: Post Normal Design is on view until Dec 11, 2016 at The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

See more about the exhibition and events

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About Joachim Halse

I work as an associate professor and enjoy teaching, supervising and researching co-design issues.
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