Expectations as Reality: on the collapse of the Western art and design school
How does the art and design school produce its subjects, namely professional designers? What values, criteria and mechanisms are tacitly or explicitly deployed in education?
A note from Cade: Nearly two years of work between New Design Congress and our collaborators is crystallising into research documents, exhibitions, digital tools and policy interventions, and we’ll be sharing a lot in the second half of 2022. If you aren’t already, please consider supporting our work via a recurring subscription or one-time contribution. Our broad range of support helps us to maintain critical independence.
In this guest essay, Silvio Lorusso weaves together various themes and issues central to 21st century Western art and design school: professional "proprioception", the role of the intellectual, self-design, the problem of access to problems, the persistence of the two cultures, the spectacle of self-aggrandizing ethics, and the ethos of compromise.
How does the art and design school produce its subjects, namely professional designers? What values, criteria and mechanisms are tacitly or explicitly deployed in education? Over the last two years especially, we have seen the effects of these changes to design education play out through the compounding crises of the pandemic, austerity, the erosion of corporate accountability and the exploitation of the artist via extractive digital platforms. While the future is conceived in other parts of the world, the art and design schools of Europe and North America flounder, compromising the futures of the next generation of artists and designers.
Late last year, we streamed a conversation with Silvio, exploring the topics and threads that inform his work and documented in his infamous long-form Twitter thread. The 90 minute stream covered design theorisation, disempowerment, the role of shitposting and bons mots, and what we can do to escape design and its disillusions.
If you aren’t already, please consider supporting our work via a recurring subscription or one-time donation. Our broad range of support from individuals, organisations, companies and other entities helps us to maintain critical independence.