depatriarchise design *!Lab!*: Whose “Real World?” Papanek and the Politics of Display
by Anja Neidhardt and Maya Ober

with depatriarchise design – Anja Neidhardt and Maya Ober
9 March 2019, 10—17h, at Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, and SP!T – Raum für queerfeministische Anliegen und Praxen, Basel

Photos: Alena Selina Halmes

As part of the second depatriarchise design *!Lab!* we did a field trip to Vitra Design Museum to visit and analyse the exhibition “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design”. We referred to Papanek’s famous book title “Design for the Real World” and asked: Whose “real world” is represented at this exhibition and how? Since, we were not able to intervene into the space of Vitra Design Museum, we decided to create a digital display, to make the research public and to diffuse the contents using the social media channels of depatriarchise design. After visiting the exhibition we went to SPI!T – Raum für queerfeministische Anliegen und Praxen, in Basel, to continue over lunch and coffee. While we were travelling we had the possibility to get to know each other in various constellations. Also sitting together around a table, sharing food and having discussions is a central aspect of feminism.


Today we are at Vitra Design Museum, critically analysing the exhibition “Victor Papanek: the Politics of Design”. Looking at the exhibition referring to Papanek’s famous book title “Design for the Real World” we pose the question: “Whose Real World?!” is represented at this exhibition and how? Whose voices are present and dominant, and whose are missing or marginalised? Which implications does this have? How do the exhibition’s content, form and display work together? What is missing? What language(s) is (are) used? To what extent is this exhibition accessible? What types of designs are represented?

Research is never neutral or objective, it is very much rooted in our different positionalities. Please analyse the content and design of the exhibition to answer these questions from your personal perspective, using your different positionalities as women*, people of colour, mothers, parents, immigrants, lesbians, cisgender, men, white, Swiss, foreigners, designers, architects, students, abled bodied, disabled bodied etc. Focusing on your positionalities we will ask you to present your research in a digital form, using social media platforms and the website of depatriarchise design, you will create a digital display, it can be texts, it can be videos, it can be illustrations, photographs, or a combination of those – the form depends on you. We will be working on the display in SP!T, so please document your research during our stay at the museum, taking pictures, videos and notes.

Please work in groups of two.

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