Last month I realised that I had less than a week to submit a ‘design manifesto’ proposal for the 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial themed The Future is Not What it Used to Be. I challenged myself not to use any of my recurrent keywords (design, postcapitalism, commoning, climate, etc). I also wanted to avoid debilitating catastrophism as much as bright green fantasies. The result is a —perhaps too simplistic— ‘us and them’ polarisation, and yet I am quite satisfied with the ending; the couplings made with the making/sharing/loving triad are meant to imply emancipated labour, stewardship of the commons and the production of commons. If selected for the second round, I will be expected to develop my proposal further. Any thought so far?
As I start my four-year-long journey of researching and writing about postcapitalist design cultures, perhaps it is time to reflect on what has brought me here. Let’s return four years backwards; I had just graduated from my design studies in Strasbourg. Having done two internships, intentionally in market-driven sectors (marketing/advertisement and luxury architecture/decoration), I had zero interest in a commercial design job. Being a freelancer would still be acceptable, but it would not satisfy my —yet undefined— social/political interest in design. I decided to take a year off and try figuring out the politics that would drive my practice.