Design and the Challenges of Contemporary Times – Conference
24-25 September 2015, the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw is organizing an international conference Fair Design – the first in a planned series on the challenges facing the modern world and design. This coming edition will be devoted to the issue of activity.
In connection with the development of civilization, we are currently facing problems that neither theory nor practice have prepared us to solve. The disappearance of grand narratives, the crisis of values, multiculturalism, technological acceleration, and the transition to the information age all raise new situations and problems for which we have not yet developed solutions. Increasingly we become helpless against the problems of the contemporary world. Can design practices applied to economic, social, and cultural problems be helpful? The Fair Design Conference is an opportunity for discussion and a closer look at how design can cope with challenges facing the world today.
The first edition of the conference, scheduled for September 2015, will be devoted to the issue of activity in postmodern society. It is activity, to a much greater extent than in the past, which shapes our consciousness. Traditional methods of learning about the world based on the passive absorption of knowledge, acquired and processed by others, are increasingly being supplanted by active and interactive forms of cognition. These new forms of activity overlap and intertwine with the traditional. The relatively uniform model of life common a few decades ago is increasingly replaced by a mosaic of attitudes, behaviors, ways of doing things, objectives, etc. Design should therefor redefine its tools and methods, as well as the tasks it faces. The Fair Design Conference will be a forum for debate on these topics.
A number of prominent experts will speak, including Professor Maria Benktzon of Ergonomidesign (winner of Ronald Mace “Design for the 21st Century” Award); Alison J. Clarke, a lecturer in history and theory of design and director of the Victor Papanek Foundation at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna; Lars Dencik, professor of social psychology, affiliated with the Danish Roskilde University; Zoë Ryan, a British curator and writer, who in 2012 was listed among the fifty most influential people in the future of design by Fast Magazine; Gianni Vattimo, a philosopher and one of the leading European thinkers on the turn of the century; and Susan Yelavich, Directory of the Master’s Program (design and development) in the Department of Art History and Theory at Parsons The New School for Design.
The organization of the conference on design theory and criticism as a forum for discussion on the state of modern design is the work of the Department of History and Theory of Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. The aim of the “Fair Design” Conference on Design Theory and Criticism is to initiate a debate on the changes taking place in contemporary design and facilitate a better understanding of the objectives, methods, and strategies of design as the changing condition of society ever accelerates. The meetings will allow for the exchange of ideas between academics from different disciplines and designers. Invited attendees include figures associated not only with design, but also art, philosophy, anthropology, and economics, as their work relates to the rapidly changing relations between culture, politics, society, and design.