Building an anthropological approach to understand narratives and beliefs about the “design-whatever” trend, aimed to challenge and redefine definitions and practices.
At some point of the modern history “design” stopped being just about chairs and flatirons and started to be something else. As soon as it did escape from its cage, “design” spread out as a virus and became a polysemic blob covering several meanings, swallowing a variety of different work processes and practices.
Today, as the “design thing” territory is getting wider and wider, it seems like there are no issues in the universe that can be preserved from its magnetic attraction. Like stem cells, “design” is associated to everything and it’s praised like the ultimate solution to any kind of problem.
Like in a ancestral religion, its set of rituals and processes seems to be unquestionable and unavoidable – but in the real life, linguistic misunderstandings and local organizational models create an extraordinary kaleidoscope of variations laying underneath the illusion of a universal set of practices.
We would like to step aside and observe the actual practices that stands behind the discourse about “design”, analyzing beliefs, assumptions and buzz-words – as “Try & Error”, “Human Focus”, “Co-Design”, “Agile”… – that implicitly frame and shape what is actually delivered.
We are curious about the tautologies currently used to build and strengthen the “big narrative” of “design” as a sacred path to solve problems, and we want to explore the knowledge paradigm where “design” takes its life, in order to foresee the boundaries of its meaning.
In a co-operative investigation format we would like to invite the international Intersection audience to share their experiences and learnings in order to build an alternative snapshot revealing how “design” acts in truth in different cultures, hopefully providing some hints about how we can challenge its semantic landscape and mental representations, using meaningful and unambiguous categories. Giuseppe Attoma Pepe, CEO and Senior design strategist at international service and UX design firm attoma (Paris, Milan, Berlin), and Ilaria Monteverdi, Social Psychologist and UX Researcher, will present the audience with their questioning, illustrated by field insights.
Then, they will try to identify new possible ways to talk about “so-called-design” and its related practices: where a vocabulary shift is appropriate? Where it is not? An initial explorative phase in small groups will be followed by a wrap-up where each group will picture out and share a different semantic and linguistic scenario.