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Announcement
June 10, 2008

Jan van Eyck Academie presents Design Negation

Jan van Eyck Academie
Design Negation

This research project seeks to establish new vocabularies and aesthetic possibilities for design to formulate a political negation. It aspires to formulate a response to the current wave of populist views in public opinion and politics in the Netherlands. It departs from the point of view that these emergent movements cannot be addressed by traditional vocabularies and strategies; research is needed.

Currently, many design gestures fulfil, even if they are ‘dressed in dissent’, an affirmative role in relation to their social and political surroundings. ‘Critical design’ has increasingly become a matter of armchair debates among experts, its history linked to the slow transformation of emancipatory movements of the past that have transformed into consensual partners of the welfare state. Design has withdrawn its potential to intervene from everyday reality – that requires not only judgment, but also decisions – in order to concentrate on goals associated with universal ‘good’ and ‘social values’. It turns out that many of these goals are now served by the principles of marketing and advertising, and as such fail to grasp the particularities of situations. The emergence of right-wing populism presents a possibility for designers to update their social and political priorities.

Design Negation will consist of intellectual, creative and practical research and production regarding the rightist politicians that have come to the fore in the Netherlands in the post-Fortuyn years. These politicians claim that they have simple and effective answers to the social, political and cultural implications of immigration and globalization, and count among their supporters many people who do not identify with the existing party elites. Design Negation believes that a potential answer does not only lie in creating a counter language, but also in studying and investigating the socio-political mechanisms of these movements.

What role does the Internet and in particular the social networking platform play in the construction of Rita Verdonk’s ‘politics 2.0’?

How is the anonymity of the Internet used to ‘confront’ the other and ‘express one’s opinion’?

Do hate speeches and ‘freedom of expression’ work together to ensure privileged forms of
public opinion?

Which companies, brands and other private players align themselves with the politics of right-wing populism by advertising on its web platforms?

What kinds of new hegemonies and power relations are created in the self-declared abolition of
party politics?

In what ways are corporate interests represented in these movements?

How does right-wing populism provide symbols and images which on the one hand dissociate it from social-democratic practices, and on the other hand from the permanent threat of being identified with the extreme right?

In the meantime, by means of a series of public discussions and lectures, Design Negation will set up a discourse about these core topics with artists, designers, theoreticians, politicians, researchers, activists and the public. Design Negation will start as of Fall 2008.

Advice
Design Negation is an initiative of Daniël van der Velden, advising researcher in the Design department of the Jan van Eyck Academie.

Application
Candidates interested in this project can apply with a research proposal. Selected candidates gain the position of researcher at the Design department of the Jan van Eyck Academie. For more information on the practical part of your application, financial questions, and other matters, please consult the website or contact the academy via Leon Westenberg, [email protected], telephone 31 (0)43 350 37 24.

For more information go to: http://www.janvaneyck.nl

Thank you!

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