Theme

“It was inevitable:”

Reads the opening of Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s much acclaimed book, Love in The Time of Cholera. “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” And it is inevitable: every news item on wars, revolts and disasters reminds us of the fate of people suffering. It is inevitable for designers not to ponder the place of design in a world in turmoil. Turmoil, as a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty may apply to subjects as well as cultures, societies, and marginalized identities.

What are the potentials and shortcomings of design when people face constant fear, danger, death, hunger and sickness; when they strive to continue their lives in search of new normalcies in unsettling, unhomely and unfriendly environments? Is it possible to talk about an emancipatory position for design under these circumstances? What can be the designer’s capacity and role in anxiety-ridden contexts embedded in uncertainty? How does design respond to turmoil in various scales and define, reinforce, or exacerbate such conditions? Can design resist, preempt, or avert turmoil?

This year’s symposium adresses such questions under specific conditions of displacement, replacement and emplacement. These are highly charged terms, loaded with multiple meanings, some of which are cited below to indicate the span of possible approaches for symposium presentations. Papers are welcome to focus on one of the thematic categories or their intersections at various levels in the context of different design fields including spaces, buildings, industrial products, graphics, clothing and others.