A decolonising view on design research and mapping.
Impossible Methods is our current pedagogical research and framework for design education.
The act of designing produces other designs into the world, and does so by intervening in an entanglement of processes, performances, interactions, narratives, and relations that are all context-dependent and socio-culturally informed. In other words, we understand the act of designing as one of producing material discourse; notwithstanding, we argue that the discourses produced by designed things cannot be anything but provisional and performative. In “Impossible Methods”, participants start out from a designed artifact they are asked to bring to the session – responding to a set of keywords or a statement given by us beforehand – and slowly unpack the networks that inform the existence of that object in the world, as well as its implications in-use. This unpacking can take the form of narrative, performance, mapping, or anything available and/or desired; what matters is not the hows, but the whats and the whys.
Photo credit: Boris Miletic
This pedagogical research project is driven by a dissatisfaction with how design research methods overlook the role of the researcher subject in relation to the object of research by subscribing to models of knowledge in which the researcher occupies a position of authority over the researched, and which assume that knowledge may be generated from a ‘neutral’ standpoint.
Inspired by the radical pedagogical strategies outlined by Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal, as well as those implemented in Zapatista communities, we have developed a series of projects and workshops that explore ideas within the realm of design education. In this broad project, our aim is work together with participants to unpack our positions as simultaneous observers and actors, situating ourselves and our research tools within the world we study. We explore the politics of artifacts, examine the power imbalances triggered by design decisions and suggest novel strategies for conducting research. In these experiments, we look into methodologies and strategies stemming from feminist, queer and decolonial studies, and assess how they might translate to a design context.
“Sound as Violence, Sound as Dissidence” is an introductory workshop on the theme of violences performed with and through sound and listening. The session presents a series of two-minute soundscapes assembled from several sources (internet, archives, or personal recordings), mixed and composed specifically to highlight certain aspects of sounds that have been, still are, or might be deployed as instruments of political, social, and physical oppression.
Workshop for the CTM Festival 2017 in Berlin; held in collaboration with Leil Zahra-Mortada and Gabi Sobliye from Tactical Tech Collective.
A Yarn Session is a pedagogical endeavour we developed in the course of our PhD researches as a way to fostering a decentralised dialogue within and around designed objects and systems. To develop this format we looked primarily at Paulo Freire’s proposal for a Pedagogy of the Oppressed and its iteration in Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.
Speculations on Birth Control was a project developed between 2015 and 2016. The idea was to collectively untangle the complex terrain of birth control devices and artefacts, discussing the role of design in the establishment of discriminatory regimes of birth control, and speculating on how might these regimes change in a near future – and for whom.
A Yarn Session is a pedagogical endeavour we developed in the course of our PhD researches as a way to fostering a decentralised dialogue within and around designed objects and systems. “Auditory Governances” is an umbrella name for a series of Yarn Sessions developed within the context of the “Algerinha Vive” project.
These Yarn Sessions aimed at using the Algerinha story as a platform upon which conversations, stories, propositions, and debates in and around the themes tackled by the story – racism, classism, migration, violence – all having sound and listening practices as the main threads of the narratives.
Block Seminar at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen: 2SWS/3 ECTS –Winter Semester 2014/2015
Public spaces are systems constructed for things and people to fit in. Whenever these systems are upset by glitches that expose faults in its structures, reveal the fragility of its foundations, crack its thin, protective walls, said glitches are immediately alienated, excluded or confined to the farthest corners of society. Within those glitches, combinations of nationality, gender, race, class, language fluency and economic power form an unsettling recipe for the interplay of social friction. Who is welcome and who is undesirable? Who and what belongs to certain social spaces, and who and what do not?
Photo Credits: Luiz Gustavo F. Zanotello
Inspired by the tense political and social ordeal happening in Brazil as of 2013-14, we decided to develop a Workshop specifically aimed at brazilian designers. We were given the opportunity to make this workshop happen in three different settings (at a University, a NGO and at a design studio) and in two different formats (twice as a hands-on workshop and once as a round table). This diversity of formats and places surely made the discussions very different from one another and provided several perspectives on the subject. We think that this exchange of opinions, and, most of all, the possibility to talk openly about politics in different contexts in which the social role of design is often taken for granted is the most powerful outcome we could expect from this firs installment of our research.