Student Work

  • Design Studies (MA)

    Verónica Uribe del Aguila

    An Approach to the Critical Aspect of Design and its Possibilities for Political Agency

    The goal of this thesis is to determine how designs that foster social change can grasp and articulate their political dimensions. With that aim, I present three designs that foster or achieve—or both—the generation of a public space. To do so, I conducted script analyses of three case studies. In the case of the speculative and critical design project “Republic of Salivation” and the socially engaged art project “Conflict Kitchen,” the script analysis provides insight into the designers’ intentions (programs and antiprograms). Moreover, by assessing these projects as agentic assemblages (Bennett 2010), I mapped the unforeseen scenes, political events that emerge, and actants resulting from the designs. My third case study constitutes the assemblage produced by the congregation of assembling instructions, Do It Yourself activities and the community that emerges around this design activity (the maker movement and new technologies). In this case study, besides identifying the script and the emergence of “the political,” I pointed out political features developed by the community. My argument is that by performing this alternative design practice based on instructions, roles are redefined and power structures within the traditional design practice and its model of production are questioned. In that sense, they constitute an alternative: a new subjectivity (Mouffe, 2013) that enacts an agonistic space for the political question to emerge.