Everyone is a Designer & Everything is Design

AIGA Think Tank Mark John DeYoung with Brad Reagan

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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¿Despedida? Participatory Cultural Event

Despidida Mark John DeYoung

Participatory Cultural Event | The Downtown Gallery | Clarksville, Tennessee

¿Despedida? cultural event transformed the gallery space into an eclectic participatory environment, a great space for a breadth of cultural events conducive to social exchange and cultural enrichment. This community-based installation of Art + Design celebrated “object” creation, giving the viewer and/or participant the experience of the hand-made/self-made object through the use of local resources and local, reclaimed materials. The event blurred traditional distinctions between maker and viewer, artist and amateur, democratizing and valuing the making-of things. The event set the stage for an participatory experience including craft, a children’s lemonade stand, diverse ethnic food, and diverse alternative music central to the event in a created environment. ¿Despedida?  evolved depending on the participants across the span of time encouraging an inclusive environment of community and creativity.

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Adequately Theorized Painting Installation

ATPI Nothing Immaterial Mark John DeYoung

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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