Good Interventions ’22: An Economic And Strategic Design Exhibition

June 13, 2022

 

About Good Interventions ’22

Koray Caliskan

What does it mean to make to think? In what ways can design be used as a tool to make sense of the world? How can we describe or reimage our worlds by using design interventions? Good Interventions Exhibition aims at addressing these questions by bringing together the powers of design and social sciences to address questions of power. 

Social sciences think with concepts. They are intangible, descriptive, relational. Regardless of their methodological, ontological and epistemological assumptions and preferences, social scientists observe and describe, perhaps use visualization a bit, then move on. What if social sciences also deploy design competences in their frameworks of study? How to think with things?

Designers have already begun working with/like scientists in transdisciplinary, speculative, service, intangible, systems and strategic design. Social scientists are beginning to explore design to think about the world. This exhibition is a contribution to this collaborative and experimental space that uses design, art, and sciences together to make (sense of) worlds, an early good example of which was Latour and Weibel’s Making Things Public, the book and the exhibition.

Design, fiction and economics have always worked together. Supply and Demand Graph, originally buried in a footnote in Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Political Economy (1890) proved to be the most popular design intervention in history. Everyday, millions of students are taught to approach markets by looking at it, drawing it, enacting it. The study of contemporary economics starts with a drawing class.

Karl Polanyi called money, land and labor as fictitious commodities, things that were not produced to be exchanged in the first place. Michel Callon showed that modern sciences such as economics have been making markets and economies with designerly and scientific interventions. Tim Mitchell has described how designed enframings lied at the heart of colonizing. Donald MacKenzie has proven that perfarmatity of formulas like Black and Scholes contributed to the making of markets. These interventions, be they scientific, design or fiction, are performative of the realities they claim to describe. And performativity fails too. Judith Butler asked “where and how do we find and promote conditions of its undoing.”

We don’t know. Yet, like others such as Will Davies’s Economic Design Fictions, we explore the place of encounter between science, design and fiction. Good Interventions is an economic and strategic design exhibition that aims at bringing together new and exciting work of designers who approach economies, societies and politics in new ways. 

Selected from 70 design projects created by more than 85 designers, the exhibition’s 15 projects that display Good Interventions have one thing in common: Deploying design, arts, and social sciences together to address pressing problems of our times. 

From a dance choreography to perform the everyday life of a platform economic worker, to a feminist speculative design in money making; from metaverse financial space-making to attention deficit economies, from taqueria banks to macrame accounting, the 15 winning projects give a hand to the hands that open a door to new thinking about economies. 

The 70 projects were evaluated by Noopur Ambre, Koray Caliskan, Joana Chang, Ishaanee Pandey, Madhura Redij, Anwesha Sengupta and the winning 15 were curated by the same team. Jonathan Yubi Gomez, digitally installed and coordinated the exhibition process. In the next five years, a rotating group of curators will continue to select and bring together 15 new projects, and in 2027 a concluding exhibition will be held by the finalist 15 of the 65 Good Interventions, all brought together by an edited book and exhibition at large.

 

References

Judith Butler. 2010.  Performative Agency. Journal of Cultural Economy, 3:2, 147-161.

Michel Callon. (Ed.) 1998. The Laws of the Markets. London: Blackwell.

Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel. (Ed.) 2005. Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy. 

Cambridge: MIT Press.

Donald MacKenzie. 2006. An engine, not a camera: Financial models shape markets. 

Cambridge: MIT Press.

Alfred Marshall. [1890] 1982. Principles of Economics: An Introductory Volume. Philadelphia:

Porcupine Press.

Timothy Mitchel. 1988. Colonizing Egypt. Berkeley: University of California Press.

William Davies. 2018. Economic Science Fictions. London: Goldsmiths Press.

 

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