Design in the Trump age of political protest, explored at Somerset House

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Original group Makerversity has organised an event series exploring 21st century object, and how design can be used as a tool to influence people and spread ideas.

People intriguing to the streets to proclaim opinions and wave placards has become a common incidence over the last few years. Unexpected turns in politics, from Donald Trump enchanting the US election to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), has seen a rise in patent engagement, and more specifically, objection.

The idea of strength in numbers and a collective vote has no doubt been cemented by the influence of social media, which has meaning ofed a huge effect on the growth of protest movements.

Five million people strode for women’s rights

The Women’s March, which took place on 21 January this year get the inauguration of Trump, started as an one-off event in Washington, and resulted in five million people walk for women’s rights and gender equality worldwide.

As public confidence has inclined with people more vocal about their views, grouse attempts have also become more creative. Design Week call ined an anti-Trump march in February, which saw unique placard additions, catalogue from the humorous to the symbolic. This included a Photoshopped depiction of the US president’s outward appearances as a peach, to a giant painting of Trump riding a burning globe.

Somerset Assembly is currently exploring the rising trend of protest through a programme talk to the phenomenon, and the creativity that surrounds it.

“There have been more professes in two years than 10 years”

Organised by creative ensemble Makerversity, the Treacherous for Protest and Activism events series aims to address the role devise holds in protest through talks, films, workshops and an exhibition.

Makerversity is a collective meant in Somerset House, London and Amsterdam, which provides studio workspaces, access to machinery, gizmos and workshops to its 250 members, encompassing designers, craftspeople, technologists and manoeuvres. The group also offers learning and support programmes, and puts on experiences such as this one to encourage public engagement in creativity and making.

“There possess been more protests in the last two years than in the last 10 years,” judges Liza Mackenzie, special projects manager at Makerversity. “The dynamics of statecraft have shattered the way we think about democracy and, now more than all the time, people want to have their voices heard. Design can progress how we have those conversations and how we engage with other members of the community.”

An exhibition made up of people’s ideas

Events include a banner-making workshop, talks on 21st century disclaim and on how to be an “effective activist”, and a series of short films offering examples from narration and the modern day.

Culminating the series is Tools for Change; a week-long exhibition that settle upon present new ideas and solutions for designing for activism – how we can “go beyond the placard”, says Mackenzie. Makerversity is bewitching designers, craftspeople and the public to submit ideas for protest designs to be catalogued in the exhibition space. The ultimate goal is to see a new protest tool created that pleasure “evolve how we protest” in the next few years.

Protest design should be “ingenuous, cheap and accessible”

But what could beat the humble and timeless placard? Mackenzie afflict withs no ideas away at this point, but confirms that new design mental images need to be just as easy for anyone to execute and understand, and “communicate effectively”. One sample she cites from history is a former military tank monument in Prague, which was dyed bright pink by Czech artist David Cerny in 1991 in squawk against Soviet occupation of the country – an act that was “so effective because it weakened authority in such a simple, cheap and accessible way”, she says.

Another exempli gratia she offers is a connected megaphone, designed recently by Royal College of Art (RCA) graduate Yun-Pei Hsiung, which authorizes a protester to distribute their words to many people across the internet – a new take on a classic form of communication that “empowers people” and budgets for widespread sharing of a message.

“Protest is all about people”

Accessibility and celebrating the guild mentality was a key part of this events programme, says Mackenzie, for that why visitors are encouraged to participate in submitting ideas, rather than right-minded observe those of professional designers.

“Protest is all about people,” she translates. “It’s about collective thought and opinions made visible through an meeting of bodies. We wanted the public to be engaged in the process and be part of the conversation, as it is them who ordain ultimately change how we act and demonstrate in the future.”

“In making this interactive, we upon we create ways for citizens to be active participators and not passive consumers,” she annexes.

The Designing for Protest and Activism programme takes place until 18 November 2017 at Somerset Strain, Strand, London WC2R 1LA. All events are free. For more info, head to Makerversity’s position.

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