How do people interact with the designed products, buildings, and frameworks of everyday life? What barriers stand in our way, for us and for others? And why should we care?
Modern and contemporary design history has often charted an uncritical teleology of "design for the common good" that positively impacts society. And design does do good. When British computer scientist Tim Berners Lee lit up the stadium at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremonies with the tweet "This Is for Everyone" he highlighted the way that the Internet—perhaps the most radical social design experiment of the last quarter century—has created limitless possibilities for the discovery, sharing, and expansion of knowledge and information.
However, while designers often intend no harm, no design is inherently benign or democratic (internet adoption is radically affected by, among other factors, low household income and education level). Design operates as contingently and ambiguously as other forms of expression and endeavor, and this idea lies at the core of a truly holistic history of the field.
This Olio will interrogate contemporary design across multiple genres (including critical design, clothing, and architecture) and types (ranging from data visualizations to bio registry components). Participants will explore the ways in which contemporary design shapes and serves the world around us, for better, for worse, and always selectively in terms of its politics, economies, communities, and critical paradigms.
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.