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Subversive design

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DESIGN Documentation - design subversive Summer term 2012 Prof. Dr. Michael Erlhoff Short term project Maria del Mar Agudelo Torres, Katharina Ait Haddi, Miroslav Azis, Jan Buckenmayer, Mike Phi- lip, Adolf Burion, Magdalena Cattan Lavin, Julia Dick, Clara Sofia Fernandez, Mario Frank, Pa- trik Frauzem, Yuki Fukuda, Johanna Maria Kotz, Maximilian Kuwertz, Laura Longerich, Gianna Maier-Quadt, Vladimir Petrovic, Ingrid Walter
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D E S I G N

Documentation - design subversive Summer term 2012Prof. Dr. Michael ErlhoffShort term project

Maria del Mar Agudelo Torres, Katharina Ait Haddi, Miroslav Azis, Jan Buckenmayer, Mike Phi-lip, Adolf Burion, Magdalena Cattan Lavin, Julia Dick, Clara Sofia Fernandez, Mario Frank, Pa-trik Frauzem, Yuki Fukuda, Johanna Maria Kotz, Maximilian Kuwertz, Laura Longerich, Gianna Maier-Quadt, Vladimir Petrovic, Ingrid Walter

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C O N T E N T

Subversive SurveyJohanna Kotz Mike Burion

Friendly StickersKatharina Ait HaddiMagdalena Cattan Vladimir Petrovic

Ingrid Walter

Narcissus posterMiroslav AzisMario Frank

The Virginity of Objects Sofía Fernández

Yuki FukudaJan Buckenmayer

Maria del Mar Agudelo.

Great expectationsJulia Dick

Gianna Meier-Quadt

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What is subversive? Can be design subversive? When it comes to think about the concept of subversive and its relation with design, one of the questions is related to the tendency to counter subversi-on with what is considered “normal”. As a point of view to think about is that what is subversive is not necessarily something outside the boundaries of normality; actually, a subversive discourse can be inside those limits and what is considered normal can be subversive at the same time. Bearing in mind different ideas and concepcions about the concept of subversive and its relation with design, we came out with seven topics; seven different points of view for a quick glance at an interesting a provocative topic.

Some ‘breaking-the-ice’ words

The SD Team

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Johanna Kotz Mike Burion

S U B V E R S I V E S U R V E Y

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Umfragen können nicht nur manipuliert werden, sondern können auch manipulierend sein. Sie sind demgemäß subversiv. Die Fragen wecken trotz ihrer formalen Erscheinung in uns bestimmte Klischees und Assoziationen, die uns unbewusst beeinflussen.Dabei kann der äußere Schein einer Umfrage derartig blenden, dass der eigentliche Inhalt an Bedeutung verliert oder sich ändert. Wir nutzen dieses Wissen für ein Experiment, das diesen Sachverhalt auf radikalste Weise ausnutzt. Polls cannot only be manipulated, but they also can manipulate the res-pondant. Accordingly, they are subversive. Despite their formal appearance the questions cause certain clichees and associations in us, which influence us in-consciously. The illusiveness of a survey can divert us, so that it becomes unim-portant or changes. We misuse this knowledge in an experiment, that radically plays with the manipulative features of a such a survey in a way, that its virtual content becomes unimportant or changes. We misuse this knowledge in an expe-riment, that radically plays with the manipulative features of a survey.

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Diese Umfrage gibt keinen repräsentativen Überblick über die Meinungen der Be-fragten. Indem wir professionell klingende Fragen stellen - die jedoch vollkommen sinnlos und grammatikalisch falsch sind - stellen wir die Absicht einer objektiven Umfrage auf den Kopf. Unsere Absicht war es zunächst, Irritation und Verunsicherung zu erzeu-gen. Ein überraschendes Ergebnis ist, dass die Angerufenen zwar perplex sind, jedoch das Missverständnis nicht in der Fragestellung, sondern bei sich selbst su-chen.

This survey is not supposed to give a representable overview about peoples‘ opini-ons. By asking professional appearing questions - which are completely senseless and grammatically incorrect - we turned the intention of an objective poll around. First of all our intention was to cause irritations and uncertaitinty. One surprising result is, that most of the interviewees do not seek the misunderstan-ding in the questions, but in themselves. In order not to be embarassed, they try to appear well-informed and give answers to the totally senseless questions.

S U B V E R S I V E S U R V E Y

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Vorgehensweise

• Aufnahme von Begrüßung, Fragen und Füllwörtern wie ähm, okay, aha, ähem• Platzierung der einzelnen Aufnahmen auf Tasten in einem Sound Design Programm• Telephonische Druchführung der Umfrage durch Abspielen der Aufnahmen• Aufnahme der Antworten

Procedure

• Recording the greeting, the questions, and filler words like ehm, aha, okay, yeah• Placing the single recordings on buttons in a sound design program• Calling random people and conducting the survey by replaying the recordings• Recording the answers

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F R I E N D L Y S T I C K E R S

Katharina Ait Haddi Magdalena Cattan Vladimir Petrovic

Ingrid Walter

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Subversiv Design should have something to do with problemgroups, minorities, groups who are experiencing discrimination. There is a variety of minorities and literally everybody is part of a minority, be it language, religion, sexual orinta-tion, skin color or music style. We started focussing in discussion on the LGBT people which means lesbian, gay, bi and transgender and found out that many locations in town have a gayfriendly sticker at their door which is nice at first, but than if you think about it, including someone explicidly is also excluding at the same time and anyway, in a city as cologne you would presumably not need a sticker like that. Now there comes our produkt, the Friendly Stickers:Every shop- and clubowner is now able to lable there place precisely by inviting or keeping out the people they like or dislike. They come in issue-sets as Langua-ge Set, Skin Color Set, Sexual Orientation Set, Religion Set and Music Set. You can invite persians and keep out buddhists, invite orange colored and keep out bisexual. You can even show your heart for sado-masochists and for satanists and send away the asexual and the hiphoppers. By over-labeling the places, the absurdity of excluding a certain group becomes clear.

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F R I E N D L Y S T I C K E R S

See for alle labeled places in Colognehttp://cargocollective.com/friendly-stickers

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See for alle labeled places in Colognehttp://cargocollective.com/friendly-stickers

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N A R C I S S U S

Miroslav AzisMario Frank

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narcissus

“I feel so queer. Don’t you ever get taken that way? When I can’t see myself I begin to wonder if I really and truly exist. I pat

myself just to make sure, but it doesn’t help much.”

Estelle, from Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

How do we subvert design? Is design a product? A workflow? Or a paradigm by which to analyse and construct the world?

In Fritjof Capra’s book, The Hidden Connections argues, “Design, in the broadest sense, consists in shaping flows of energy and materials for human purposes.” Design is, by

nature, human-centered. We create the objects we create in order to survive--the plow to feed us, the knife to kill the

tiger. Furthermore, we use the objects (exterior world) in our experience to define and reflect our identities. Likewise, objects

need us (subject) to be conceived and find meaning; they acquire purpose and identity through their utility.

We are merely subjects, unable to objectify ourselves. We know of the Narcissus of Greek mythology who stands transfixed, in love with his own reflection in the mirror of his pool, and we see himself in us. We know of Estelle, who pleads to Inez for

objective judgement. Like them, we seek constant judgement, unable to do so without a mirror into our own selves.

But there is another Narcissus: Narcissus the object, Narcissus of the pool, Narcissus who stands in judgement of his creator.

Todays objects stand in judgement of us, reversing the relation of objects and subjects. Assembly line production makes us a cog in a machine, we drive to work to pay for our cars and

we pay for our cars to drive to work. And throughout all this, we seek constant assurance that we are okay, we are okay, we are worthy of humanity. We turn to objects, giving objects a

sense of value while we begin to feel a sense of worthlessness; in short, we are objectified. In this way, design has already

subverted itself through its proliferation.

Here, we challenges the subject-object relationship by placing you, the subject, in judgement of objects. This is the Narcissus

we’ve created: the object that gives you the impression of making sense to you, develops its “own life” and, more and more, demands things that you not necessarily want to do,

suggesting submission while having an experience for itself.

miroslav azis, mario frankdesign subversive

ss 2012

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N A R C I S S U S

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T H E V I R G I N I T Y O F O B J E C T S

Sofía FernándezYuki Fukuda

Jan BuckenmayerMaria del Mar Agudelo

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Considering the idea of making visible those hidden signs that had be-come normal due to our adaptation to them, we think about everyday life pro-ducts which have a subversive message. Different systems of packaging and even the way we use them can have an implicit subversive content, most of the times ignored.

Bearing in mind the sexual connotation in different objects, we came out with the concept of virginity and the virginity of the products. There are myriads of examples: a new tube of toothpaste, a package of pills, a new bottle of milk. Every product has a specific way to be opened by the user, who is always alert about the importance of the good state of the safety lock, which means it has not been “used” before.

Once defined the conceptual base for our project, we decided to highlight the sexual connotations in everyday life use products, such as a tooth paste tube, tubular items that go into specific tubes or ducts (think about IKEA screws and the plastic anchor in which they should be inserted), or even the holes in plastic cups made to slide a straw. After collecting many objects, we designed our own product: the universal penis; a particular long-lobular object which can be inser-ted in many packages to open them, replacing, in this sense, tools like scissors or knives, and even offering a more wide functionality.

The presentation was divided in two parts: first, a small talk about the project, including the exhibition of different every day use objects with “their own thoughts”, based on their social and/or cultural function, including the in-troduction of our universal penis, and second, a video that highlights the provo-cative contents we can find in different products.

T H E V I R G I N I T Y O FO B J E C T S

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T H E U N I V E R S A L

P E N I SThe tool you have the power to deflower products

T H E V I R G I N I T Y O FO B J E C T S

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T H E V I R G I N I T Y O FO B J E C T S

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G R E A T E X P E C T A T I O N S

Julia DickGianna Maier-Quadt

Laura Longerich

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While reflecting about subversion we noticed, that provocation and criticism al-ways relates to normality. It avail oneself of being outstanding, loud and flashy.In the process of analysing the subversive we came to the conclusion that expec-tations, based on an idea of normality, are very important to criticize grievances.

ideation: how can we play with the expectations?

Subversion is a task of Design. To show this connection in the friday presentation we focused on the behaviour of the guests in the exhibition. Instead of confronting them with subversive products, the visitors expectation itself became exhibited. Considering the efforts of the group being rebellious, provocative and design “the new” one could see, that subverity became somehow normal due to the omnipre-sence of it.The idea of the concept arises from creating an equivalent to the other groups and also to astonish the visitor by acting controversial.

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But how could normality be exhibited?

The concept “great exprectations” mainly consits of a sign with the titel that sy-moblises the unity of the groups. That was important for our concept, because the visitors expectation raised itself just by the titel of the project “Design subversive” and the connection of the groups.

This sign hung next to a door. Visitors got attracted by the sign and walked into the room that looked totally normal. To leave the normality we created in a way the nothing that builts a counterpart to the agressive subversity we expect.While the visitors were searching for the subversive part of our work we asked them to take a second look at the sign that said “great expectations”. Soon they recognized the intention of our project and were amused about their own way of expecting the unexpectable.

G R E A TE X P E C T A T I O N S

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S U B V E R S I V ED E S I G N

Documentation - design subversive Summer term 2012Prof. Dr. Michael ErlhoffShort term project

Maria del Mar Agudelo Torres, Katharina Ait Haddi, Miroslav Azis, Jan Buckenmayer, Mike Phi-lip, Adolf Burion, Magdalena Cattan Lavin, Julia Dick, Clara Sofia Fernandez, Mario Frank, Pa-trik Frauzem, Yuki Fukuda, Johanna Maria Kotz, Maximilian Kuwertz, Laura Longerich, Gianna Maier-Quadt, Vladimir Petrovic, Ingrid Walter

Thanks to Prof. Dr. Erlhoff for this wonderful project!


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