In the sixth issue of Other Worlds, Ana Isabel Carvalho and Ricardo Lafuente, founders of the F/LOSS-oriented design studio Manufactura Independente, rigorously dissect Stayaway, the contact tracing app launched in Portugal during the Covid pandemic. By analysing both the technical limitations of the app and its misleading visual metaphors, they prove that a grounded criticism of public health monitoring systems is possible.
Reconsidering the app after its demise, they warn us against a novelty bias in the public discourse, which is too focused on promotion and expectations rather than consequences and effects.
We’re happy to introduce the renewed course of ‘Design/ Non Design’ at @dellilusofona, and welcome @paimnina of @futuress_org and @tiagopatatas as tutors for a semester under the curation of COW.
What starts when the design act ends? What acts allow to maintain, sustain, conserve, shape and perhaps change, deteriorate or adjust design to daily-life? And who is behind these continuous actions of great influence, but frequently invisible?
Through situated research and methods familiar to design, this course maps and makes visible the different fluxes and practices of care and maintenance distributed through the Botanical Gardens of Lisbon at @muhnac.
In the same way that the focus of this course is to explore interventions that operate outside of design’s lexicon, it is then appropriate that the class itself takes place entirely outside a classroom. Therefore, both the Botanical Gardens of Lisbon and Porto are then spaces and institutions that are fundamental to this pedagogical experience, for their richness, complexity and diversity.
Other Worlds #5 is out. In this issue, Pernilla Manjula Philip reflects on the various practices of care revolving around her illness. A complex scenario emerges: the safety procedures regulated by the official healthcare system limit the well-being provided by do-it-yourself technologies developed by independent communities of makers. Their approach is, in turn, often too technical and masculine to include most users. With her artistic work, Pernilla mobilizes empathy to counterbalance this state of affairs.
In the context of the the Science and Technology Week, hosted by Ciência Viva, COW organises a public conversation on the 26 November at 12h GMT, by researchers Luiza Prado, Patrícia Cativo and Rita Carvalho, titled ‘Design and Research of Alternative Histories’. This conversation and presentations debates the development and research of alternative histories ignored and marginalised by design history and theory, exposing methods, challenges and opportunities that design research offers.
Zoom link, Free (in Portuguese): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82308710144?pwd=Q0J5R014N0pPK1lGSnM4cjZvUVZnUT09
Public talk by @entreprecariat , titled ‘The Design and The Plan: On Power’, in partnership with @maatmuseum, 27 September 2021 at 17h30.
Many theorists, critics and designers agree: “Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives”. But does this statement tell us enough about the power held (or not) by designers? Why do many of them demand a “seat at the table”? In this presentation, Silvio Lorusso will examine several ways in which designers have conceptualized, expressed and exerted their power. Furthermore, he will look at how such power overlaps notions of authority, hierarchy, prestige, responsibility and ethics. The goal is to provide a specific set of categories to realistically map the power relationships in which the field of design operates.
Silvio Lorusso is an Assistant Professor and Vice-director of the Centre for Other Worlds at the Lusófona University in Lisbon, a creative coding tutor at the Royal Academy of Art in Den Haag and a lecturer at the Design Department of the @sandberginstituut. He is a member of Varia, the Centre for Everyday Technology, as well as part of the editorial board of Italian graphic design magazine Progetto Grafico. Lorusso has written for several magazines and publications, including Volume, Real Life Magazine, Not, and Modes of Criticism. In 2018, he published his first book entitled Entreprecariat (@onomatopeenet).
A pre-summer special issue of OW is out! Silvio Lorusso (@entreprecariat) interviews the admin of @wdka.teachermemes, a meme page unofficially linked to the Willem De Kooning Academie of Rotterdam. They talk about the Dutch art and design scene, the role of extra-institutional amplification, the relationship between design and meme culture, as well as decentralized loyalty, bloodletting, cultural remittance and much more.
The second issue of Other Worlds is out. Here, French designer @anaelle_bei tackles the notion of obsolescence, showing how it is not an “essential” feature of a device, but a relational quality involving societal and technical expectations.
The COW team is thrilled to launch Other Worlds, a shapeshifting journal for design research, criticism and transformation. Other Worlds (OW) aims at making the social, political, cultural and technical complexities surrounding design practices legible and, thus, mutable.
What other worlds, exactly? Those that have been traditionally ignored, neglected or silenced in the past, as well as those that are overlooked today: non-Western communities negotiating their own set of values through practice; alternative rationalities emerged in the West but overshadowed by the instrumental reason; technosocial environments blossoming at the periphery of platform empires, semi-visible modes of organization that oppose or sustain official institutions.
OW hosts articles, interviews, short essays and all the cultural production that doesn’t fit neither the fast-paced, volatile design media promotional machine nor the necessarily slow and lengthy process of scholarly publishing. In this way, we hope to address urgent issues, without sacrificing rigor and depth.
Partnership established between The Center for Other Worlds/ Lusófona University and the Municipality of Óbidos, focused on a multi-year interdisciplinary project using design and culture for systemic intervention in the village and region, implementing a variety of participatory, collaborative and pedagogical programmes across various municipal infrastructures. Projects to be announced soon.
COW is contributing to the programming of the upcoming conference on the New European Bauhaus building upon the vision of the ‘Bauhaus of the Seas’, with Vice-director @m.pestana taking part in 2 panels. The conference will take place at @maatmuseum, on the 20 May. Info: https://bauhaus-seas.eu/en/conference/
In the context of the @2021portugaleu, COW’s Vice-director @m.pestana and researcher Mafalda Dâmaso will participate in the conference ‘Culture, Cohesion and Social Impact’, to be held at the @fundacao_serralves, Porto, Portugal, on the 5–6 May 2021. Info and registration: https://360digital.pt/eventos/conference_culturesocialcohesion_pt/
The Center for Other Worlds (COW) is an interdisciplinary research centre for design and art, based at Lusófona University. It focuses on the development of perspectives that are not dominant nor imposed by the design discipline—through criticism, speculation and collaboration with various disciplines such as curating, architecture, visual arts, ecology and political theory—having in design an unifying element but rejecting hierarchies between them. The centre’s name makes a reference to the concept of otherness, thereby aiming at challenging universal visions of design and art. The centre’s core mission is therefore inscribed in its name.