Afonso de Matos
Who Can Afford To Be Critical?
Campaign (4 fanzines, 2 videos, flyers, posters, t-shirts)
Instead of solving market-defined problems, ‘critical designers’ produced by institutions such as Design Academy Eindhoven are prompted to address social, political and environmental issues. Yet, who can afford to continue such a practice after graduation? Why do we tend to ignore the material and socioeconomic constraints that bind us as designers, claiming instead that we are powerful agents of change? Do we really have any political agency through our individual design practices? Could we, instead, focus first on designers’ own working conditions, targeting them as one immediate site for collective action? Could designers ever unionize? These are some of the questions raised through a multiformat campaign that highlights the neglected dimensions of affordability, class and labour among designers who are concerned with having an ‘ethical’ practice.
This project departed from the findings presented in my master thesis “Who Can Afford To Be Critical? What Can Criticality Afford?”, an excerpt of which was published as the issue nº8 of Other Worlds magazine