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Design and Democracy. A discussion at the Museum Angewandte Kunst Cologne.
© MAKK – Museum für Angewandte Kunst

Design and democracy – a topic that is as complex as it is contentious, especially in times like these (and so soon after the federal elections). Both democracy and design, the announcement says, are permanently entangled in contradictions. Both potentially contain a promise of social, peaceful, sustainable development and emancipatory perspectives. On the other hand, these promises are equally transformed into harsh strategies of domination and marketing. Just as democracy itself is a question of form, so are the activities for and against it. Thus, design is inevitably a political action, either affirmative and opportunistic or critical and subversive.

Rebellious perspectives through design in democracy will be discussed. “They do not despair. Rather, they invite democracy and design to open the parasols, use headscarves as banners – and discover the beach under the pavement” – said the recently deceased design theorist Michael Erhoff, who together with the design researcher and activist Maziar Rezai published the current volume “Design & Democracy. Activist Thoughts and Practical Examples for Sociopolitical Empowerment (Birkhäuser, Basel 202).

After a keynote speech by Maziar Rezai (Tehran/Braunschweig), the following will discuss: Dr. Uta Brandes (author and emeritus professor for Gender & Design, Cologne), Stephan Ott (head of the Institute for Design Research and Appliance – IfDRA, Frankfurt am Main, based at the German Design Council), Dr. phil. Regula Stämpfli (political philosopher and best-selling author, Munich/Vienna) and Prof. Thomas Wagner (critic, essayist and editor, Heppenheim). The discussion will take place on Friday, 15 October, at 6 pm in the Overstolzensaal of the Museum Angewandte Kunst Cologne. 3G rules apply. The number of participants is limited to 100. Registration is not required; reservations are not possible.

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