Confrontations

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Confrontations is a semi-monthly discussion group run by Degenerator, Begun in 2015. Confrontations is usually hosted by the Chicago Design Museum. The usual format pits a selection of freely-available readings against each other to examine how design connects to the social, political, and economic. Conversations continue on a public Facebook group.

Confrontations is currently in it's second season, with plans to meet through 2016, roughly every other month.

Season 1[edit]

Confrontations 2, 2015, by Hayashi and Koditschek.
Confrontations 3, 2015, by Hayashi.

First Things[edit]

Graphic Design’s potential to better society is an often discussed topic throughout the history of the discipline. However, these discussions are often disconnected from critical studies of the structural inequity many designers wish to eliminate. This gap in conversation stops a majority of graphic design from presenting any real potential for change. With this text set we will critically look at “design calls to action” as well as a direct critique of these possibly problematic manifestos.

Readings:

Design Crimes[edit]

What motivated modernist design? Might this gleaming new vision contain backwards or oppressive elements? What critical insight might be gained by contrasting early modern design with the work of our century?

Readings:

  • Ornament and Crime by A. Loos
  • Design and Crime by H. Foster

Designed Identity[edit]

Over the past thirty years or so, personal identity and corporate identity have become enmeshed like never before. How can we make sense of this entanglement?

Readings:

Optional:

Season 2[edit]

Confrontations 2.1 graphic, 2016, by Dgenerator.
Confrontations 2.2 graphic, 2016, by Dgenerator.
Confrontations 2.3 graphic, 2016, by Dgenerator.

Lean in, Fall over[edit]

This session examined contemporary feminist currents in design, art, and technology.

Readings:

Critical Stances[edit]

Over the past decade, the term ‘Critical Design’ has arisen to describe alternative and potential radical new approaches to Graphic Design. So just what is Critical Design? In what ways does it represent a break from, or continuation of past traditions? How does it relate to politics? And what are its horizons? Join Dgenerator as we read through some of the key texts in the debate over this contentious label.

Readings:

What’s New?[edit]

As technical skill set, aesthetic discipline, and medium of communication, the practice of graphic design is particularly sensitive to changes in the world. Recently, a host of new possibilities, obligations, and dangers confront those who design. As design becomes ever more central to business, does the discipline become more powerful, or merely consumed by commerce? How might we work outside of traditional client relationships, as producers of research and inquiry? Join Dgenerator as we try to map out some of these conundrums.

Readings: