Politics of Aesthetics

“If you don’t address the politics behind the aesthetics, there will be no real change. Like in “critical design.” So basically, there’s are still people today, who do the stuff Droog designed back in the 1990s. They do it even better than Droog did it. But Droog did it when it was also politically relevant. Of course the politics of those aesthetics have been re-defined in the meantime. So you can’t do the same thing now, and imply the same thing. We perceive it differently now. We’ve all ingested that material and, in the meantime, we’ve seen other things. They don’t produce the same effects they once did.

Now I’m interested in the sort of politics that point to the hidden ideology of critical design itself. If you talk about the ideology of critical design in the late 90s, you could talk about Dunne & Raby, Design Noir and the hidden narratives of consumer objects. What are the secret narratives of electronics?

Its interesting that those were the politics of that time, defined by the information age, a global capitalist society, a post-Wall world, the idea of a risk society and hyper-individualization. But again, critical design from the 90s no longer produces the same effect. We’ve seen other things. And we’ve seen a total breakdown of the free market and social democratic ideology, yet without another model taking over. We fully experience the ‘lack’ or shortage of a new model that Ulrich Beck talked about in his “Risk Society” thesis, written over two decades ago.”

via That New Design Smell.

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