Wednesday, 12:02pm
18 August 2010

Up the ante

Should we take the Anti Design Festival as seriously as the LDF?

It’s not entirely clear whether the manifesto for the Anti Design Festival should be taken as a work of satirical mischief or a genuine rant about the state of design, writes John Ridpath.

It all begins with a lament about the dangers of conventional thought: ‘We are living in an age where millions of colours became 256. Difference is the enemy. Generic culture hypnotises us all into generic patterns, where control is visibly invisible. Danger is replaced by fear.’

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate? Not quite: ‘New means upgrade. Risk is obsolete. Art made money stupid, and money made us fools.’ The anarchistic rhetoric continues, complete with silly rhyming (‘From Learning to Earning, and now to Yearning...’), anti-bank sloganeering (‘the house of credit cards has now collapsed’) and even some opium-awareness for the masses: ‘religion has been largely subsumed by globalisation.’

pounding_outside_poundland

Above: ‘A Pounding Outside Poundland (or how my nose got its wonk)’, Stuart Semple Industries (2010).

Below: ‘Quilted Dollar’, Ed Vince (2010)

Ed Vince, Quilted Dollar', 2010

You can download the full Anti Design Festival manifesto as a pdf.

ldf2_logo

The official London Design Festival (logo above) is billed as ‘a nine-day celebration of design in the world’s creative capital … a platform for the widest spectrum of design disciplines, brought together as a unique and accessible programme’.

So what’s the alternative? ‘WHAT IT COULD BE: AN EXHIBITION OF ANTI-DESIGN, ANTI-ART, ANTI-PRODUCT, ANTI-FASHION ... DIGITAL / ANTI-DIGITAL; AD PUBLICATION; TEXT/DISCUSS/DEBATE/WRITE/PROMISE; PERFORMANCE RITES’. ‘WHERE IT COULD BE’? Various venues in Redchurch Street (Shoreditch, London). (See antidesignfestival.com for more of this.)

The comments here (and here) on the CR Blog indicate some tensions in the design community about the festival (and one organiser / curator in particular). But should we really be taking the festival’s (anti-) branding all that seriously?

Look past the anti-establishment veneer, and the website promises that ‘the festival will be curated by a select group of leading practitioners in various fields’. The RCA and the LCC are involved. It’s easy enough to see through the festival’s own design, but here’s hoping that the anarchic energy of the curators finds some convincing space in their very own anti-festival.

Below: L'extrème n'est pas impossible, Engin Explosif Improvisé , page 22, Kiki et Loulou Picasso (2009). See ‘Shock tactics’ about Bazooka in Eye 61.

L'extrème n'est pas impossible, Engin Explosif Improvisé (page 22), Kiki et loulou picasso - 2009

18 > 26 September 2010
The Anti Design Festival
Various venues
Redchurch Street
Shoreditch, London
www.antidesignfestival.com

ldf2_logo

18 > 26 September 2010
London Design Festival
Various venues, London
londondesignfestival.com
londondesignfestival.com/blog

Eye magazine is available from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop, where you can order subscriptions, single issues and back issues.

The summer issue, 76, out now, is a music special – full contents here, and you can see a selection of visual details on Eye Before You Buy on Issuu.

Student subscriptions are half price, see bit.ly/EyeStudentOffer.

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