Why Design? {Triggering a Public Debate} —- Protest on DDW ’12

In a week where design and designers are celebrated and glorified, very little questions arise, inquiring the relevance of the profession. Hundreds of chairs, tables and objects, thousands of euros spent and tens of thousands of visitors in Eindhoven, and still we feel the urge to ask: what real value is bringing design to society?

We want to question the prevailing structures of design profession, which are built on self-glorification, rather than a true and real legitimization from society. There seems to be a lack of self-critical attitude from designers, which makes design events mere mediatic shows (spectacles, in Debord terms), rather than radiographies of the state of affairs of a certain place and moment of society.

This footage is taken on the last day of the Dutch Design Week of 2012, where a group of students in Eindhoven decided to inquire the exhibitors of the different venues about the relevance of their work, through a protest-like route. The voices are of the people that have participated in the discussion on the Facebook group with their comments, thoughts and quotes.

Special thanks to Zeno, Govert, Julia, Guy, Niels, Eline, Robert, Silvia, Peter, Ben, Eugenie, Lucas, Maurizio, Monica and Giulio for their voices and thoughts 😉

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{Reflection}

In this action, we intended to raise some questions on the relevance of the profession in nowadays society or, better, the image of the profession that is marketed during the DDW. In all the venues in which we entered, we were noticed… we were breaking the normality of the event. This was a first small success, but we could have maybe harnessed the attention we had to trigger some conversation and debate around the topics we were inquiring. Still, I found very interesting to notice the support given by designers themselves, who evidenced their fed-up attitude towards the traditional market-led design practice. One big mistake we made, in terms of documentation, was that there was not a unified name or slogan, so the dozens of pictures that were taken to us by the people external to the protest, we have not been able to find.