Participatory Design Installation | Design Gallery | Kalamazoo, Michigan
Tabula Rasa participatory event invited viewers to become participants and to create their own patterns, texts and images through the use of large wall grids. The grids were made of tree-limb slices painted either white, black or left as bare untreated wood. The public interacted with the wall grids by removing, turning and/or moving individual slices to make use of either the white or black sides of the pieces or in some cases the bare, untreated wood.
The organic, informal quality of the grids helps to overcome cultural conventions regarding interacting with creative work. The playful environment lowers the threshold for participation and welcomes viewer involvement. The informal wood slices with their irregular organic shapes create a point of contrast from the more often seen digital media exploration on participatory pieces. It brings participatory design, now common in the digital world, to the analog, physical world. The participants interacted not only with the work but with each other, collaborating and socializing while they removed, flipped and rehung the slices. The installation undermines the traditional distinction between maker and viewer. The public venue undermines the exception of the gallery space, opening the exhibition venue to the entire college community–directly entertaining Enzenburger’s notion of emancipatory media.
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Collaborative DIY Installation | Electron Cultural Foundation | Breda, The Netherlands
Over 300 people participated in this International Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Collaborative Cultural event in Breda, The Netherlands. Joining DeYoung were Gerrit Westerveld, international designer, artist and publisher, and Rotterdam designer Circe Penning-Devries, and Eltine Peterse, Project Manager and Community Organizer. Designers and artists as well as community members created work on-site, over a two-week, “do-it-yourself,” period of installation. The event was open to the public over the two weeks and featured the “making of the work” as the event itself. The installation evolved hourly/daily throughout the two weeks as the participants changed and work in process evolved. Visitors could interact with and/or join the participants. All work was made through sustainable processes and using locally acquired reclaimed materials.
Inside Out revolved around a participatory environment, conducive to social exchange and encouraged cultural enrichment and the exchange of ideas. Inside Out undermined the traditional distinction between maker and viewer, artist and amateur, democratizing and valuing the making of things. The inclusive, culminating “Festival of the Arts”celebration included food from the across the socio-economic and ethnic spectrum of Breda. During the collaborative event, works were created and featured from all levels and ages: from elementary kids, to adults, from troubled teens, folks in reintegration projects as well as professional artists.
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DIY Design Theory | Helsinki Design Week | Helsinki, Finland
The Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Design Theory Helsinki project featured an entertaining event where audience members, come participants, made T-shirts themed on design and design theory.
Existing as a kind of analog as well as digital social media experiment (Twitter, Facebook), responses ranged from amusing and fun, to profound and provocative. The event took place in the International Design Council 2012 designated World Design Capital Helsinki, during the Pecha Kucha night, which was the Helsinki Design Week culminating event.
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DIY Design Theory Event AIGA| AIGA Think Tank Conference | Nashville, Tennessee
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Design Theory project where conference attendees were invited to create a design theory “drawing” and express their opinion on design. The title of the show, Everything is Design & Everyone is a Designer, refers to our societal role in the creation and defense of our societal norms and values. More particularly, it points to our responsibility as designers in creating the future we imagine: a responsibility design has often times eschewed.
The think tank lounge environment consisting of a rural visual vocabularly display, lounge seating area and was site specific. Design theory commentary was created on site by the participants. Participants were asked to first create a “drawing” on design theory at one of the drawing stations and then post this commentary on the the walls of the lounge environment. The collection of drawings served to enable the audience to truly participate in the conference and served, not insignificantly, as a curious kind of reality-check, a polling of concern or lack-thereof outside or in addition to the scheduled speakers. The event connected AIGA national president Doug Powell’s “Design for Good” to the AIGA Nashville Think Tank.
This cultural event was one in a series of DIY Design Theory projects undertaken in collaboration with artist Brad Reagan.
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Art Installation | Pictura Gallery | Groningen, The Netherlands
The Adequately Theorized Painting Installation in full consists of 225 black panels with phrases painted in white. The space is illuminated by an intense, single tungsten light bulb. In the space, the viewer takes in the bric-a-brac collage of the rectangle-ish signs which, lacking square corners and straight edges, create rhythm through alternating size, slight angles and the contrast of white on black on white. The subjects of the text vary touching on philosophy, art, reflection and social commentary.
The installation plays with the idea of debunked universal meaning through the to-and-fro of contradictory texts, e.g. “This painting demonstrates my reluctance to conform” vs. “This painting demonstrates my inability to resist.” The text visuals, relating to hand-painted for sale signs and other rural visual communication are open and without pretension, encouraging the viewer to question, add to, accept or reject. The cacophony of panels is what Jan van Toorn would call “emancipatory,” encouraging exchange and enabling the viewer as opposed to closing down the option of dialogue.
Philosophically, the work imagines a world outside of closed authoritative metaphysics and posits an idea that a “philosophy” could be created through the expression of diverse, and divergent thought made visible. A grounding principle, as in well-grounded, that perhaps progress comes through dialog and an (eventual) level of agreement.
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