Papers at 5T Conference 2014: Resistance with/in/to Design

Products of ID 707 Critique of Design I course, we have presented two papers at the 5T Conference on Resistance With/In/To Design, 15-16 May 2014 at Yaşar University, İzmir. Below you can find the abstracts for the papers:

Nagihan Tuna and Harun Kaygan, “Beyond prevention: Exploring the new technologies of graffiti”

The Victorian Government defined graffiti as “any form of writing, drawing, marking, scratching or otherwise defacing property by any means.” (Graffiti Prevention Act, 2007). Modern graffiti art originated in the 1960s and spread globally, while new tools are developed and place- and scale-related constraints have decreased. This can be done in various styles and using various materials, while the motivation can vary from social recognition to political expression. Still, design literature has mainly approached this issue from the perspective of prevention due to its illegal status. Nevertheless, the use of graffiti during the recent protests has gained attention as a type of design activism. The messages in the streets convey what is happening in the society. In spite of the attempts to regularly remove them, with its remains, graffiti may be one of the most lasting techniques of political protest. Moreover, with the advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) communication, collaboration and demonstration techniques of activists have changed (Garret, 2006). Mobile phones for example have become one of the tools used for making and sharing graffiti. The aim of this paper is to discuss the impact of these advances on graffiti art. For this purpose, we explore and compare existing and proposed technological systems for environmental, or legal, graffiti in the literature, and question whether and to what extent their use is compatible with the practices and motivations of graffiti makers.

Yunus Tuncel and Harun Kaygan, “Abstracted objects: Creating the soundscapes of Gezi Park”

During the recent protest rallies (in Gezi Park, Wall Street, and elsewhere) sound assumed a major role by creating unique soundscapes, not only in the squares where the demonstrations took place, but also in neighborhoods. The objects that are supposed to be kept at home, such as pots and pans or whistles, revolted and flowed out onto the streets to join car horns and slogans. One way to learn from these objects is to see them as “abstractions”, to borrow a term from phonography (Simpson, 2003). The sounds of these objects are abstracted from their “normal” uses in the private sphere and appropriated into the public sphere to provide a basis for festivity, which challenged and reshaped the preexisting web of meanings. In this paper, first, the concept of “abstraction” is described and theoretically elaborated. Then by referring to examples from the Gezi and Occupy protests, and from other phonographic practices and tools from the literature, it is questioned how abstraction could be understood, and realized, as a tool of design activism. Interviews are conducted with people who closely followed the protests to have a better understanding of the practices of and motivations behind abstraction. Ultimately, the aim of this paper is to investigate the relationship between designed objects and their abstracted sounds in the context of design activism.