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Occupy Design At The London Design Festival

We’re hosting two events at the V&A as part of the London Design Festival, please come along and add your voice to the debate!

Exposing the 1% and De-branding the City

Sun 16 September 2012 14:00

Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, V&A

The will look at the work submitted for our Debrand The City and Expose The 1% projects and also the give an overview of the graphics and art of Occupy and the ethical and aeesthetic issues this raises for Designers.

Jonathan Barnbrook, Jody Boehnert, Noel Douglas, James MeadwayTzortzis Rallis and The Occupied Times.

Book (free):



The Role of Design in an Era of Crises

Wed 19 September 2012 15:00

Seminar Room One, Sackler Centre

Does design practice today work for the common good? Are our cultural institutions serving the interests of common people and the planet? While capitalism imposes harsh austerity on the public – it is also increasing profits for elites, the 1%. This dynamic is a threat to democracy and our collective futures, but these dangers are camouflaged by the design industry and our cultural institutions that fail to take the crises we face
seriously enough as we head toward unprecedented and irreversible ecocide brought on by the logic of profit for profits sake.

Jody Boehnert from Occupy Design UK will describe how the design industry functions to manufacture consumer desire, conceal the impacts of capitalist modes of production and legitimise the current socio-political-economic system through a process of symbolic violence. The values embedded in capitalism are reproduced by the design industry. She will briefly review recently written work on how designs function to perpetuate the *status quo*; how capitalism destroys the capacity of the *design industry* to work for sustainable futures; and how there is no such thing as *apolitical design*. Design that claims not to have any politics serves the interest of the neo-liberal corporate-state.

Disaster capitalism is characterized by a merger of state and corporate power and the privatization of public institutions and property. Cultural
institutions such as the V&A, Tate and the National Gallery serve to camouflage and legitimise these processes. Noel Douglas from Occupy Design UK will examine how highly visible corporate sponsorship and the alignment of the senior management of our cultural institutions with the 0.1% helps reproduce the cultural values that maintain the system presently destroying future possibilities for the rest of us.

Once we have established the role of design and design institutions in perpetuating crisis conditions, this seminar will also make space for an
exploration of strategies for subversion, intervention and resistance. While there is much vague anti-consumerist and anti-corporate rhetoric in design circles – a cynical stance, on its own, will not transform the dysfunctional political systems. What is urgently needed in design is new
form of politically, socially and ecologically engaged design practice. The work of building new social practices, relations and institutions that can
resist, occupy and transform the political and economic institutions of disaster capitalism requires transparent, truthful and participatory
communication systems. Designers must engage with social movements who have a legacy of creating agency and developing means to see through oppressive cultural practices. In this way, design can become a force for emancipation rather than manipulation.

Book (free):


nb. the blurb and title are slightly wrong on the link we’ve asked the V&A to change

Part of the London Design Festival

Image: kennardphillips

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