Two of the smartest design people I know, MOMA’s Paola Antonelli and Parsons’ Jamer Hunt, have joined to create the first honest discussion of the relationship between design and violence. You just have to get involved because it is so good, so smart and so important.
Design has almost always turned a blind eye to its important role in destruction–even creative destruction. As a profession, it is almost always liberal and optimistic, which is why I am drawn to it. But as a result, Design does two things–First, it ignores whole categories of designed objects and engagements that it defines as “brutal” such as beautifully designed hunting rifles, knives and pistols (such as the Barreta).
And second, it ignores war. In a sense, Design is pacifist, without decline itself as such. Yet we all know that Design plays a critical role in combat and warfare, from objects such as the AK-47, the stealth jet fighter and the drone; to engagements, such as asymmetrical warfare, and the blitz; and to the combination of product and engagement, such as the carrier task force or cyberwar.
When I was covering Design and Innovation at BusinessWeek, I periodically tried to do stories on military design and hunting to no avail. Couldn’t get it through my editors. “That’s not what we mean by Design,” they said.
So I stand in wonder at this new initiative by Paola and Jamer. It will involve dozens of people over many months and produce an exhibition for MOMA and for all of us.
Here’s Paola explaining it: