October 17, 2008 - Parsons The New School for Design, Vera List Center for Art and Politics - OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding
October 17, 2008

OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding

OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding
October 16, 2008 – February 1, 2009


Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons The New School for Design
66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street,
New York City

www.branding-democracy.org

International and interdisciplinary in scope, this exhibition investigates democracy as a global brand. It examines the desires generated and promoted by democracy as a brand—such as choice, participation, freedom of expression, and the promise of individual success, all embodied in the notion of “liberty”—and looks at how and where these desires find fulfillment or are displaced. The exhibition also investigates both aesthetic and political systems of representation developed in response to these desires, as well as those power structures that run parallel to a democratic government.

The accompanying workshops address issues of (in)visibility and strategies of visualization and take place in the gallery, on the stage-like structure designed for this purpose by Liam Gillick. The workshops are modeled on design charrettes, collaborative efforts that address specific challenges in order to generate immediate practical solutions within limited time. Each charrette is hosted by a class at Parsons, and all are open to the public.

Upcoming events (more information at www.branding-democracy.org)

• Sunday, October 19, 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Yael Bartana, Wild Seeds in America, performance experiment in Union Square South, with 12 students, loudspeakers, and mats.

Based on the first Wild Seeds, and the game “The Evacuation of Gilath’s Colony.”

• Sunday, October 19, 12:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Yael Bartana, Mary Koszmary (2007, 12 mins., screened continuously) at Parsons’ Kellen Gallery, 66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street

• Wednesday, October 22, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Sam Durant, charrette, followed by talk at 6:30 p.m., at Parsons’ Kellen Gallery, 66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street

Claims of advertising and branding intended to generate desire, are severed from their products and turned into political claims. The students will mine advertisements and branding campaigns to create “protest” signs timed to the upcoming elections.

• Thursday, October 23, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Ashley Hunt, charrette, followed by talk at 6:30 p.m., at Parsons’ Kellen Gallery, 66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street

Set up as a temporary classroom, this charrette will yield the newest version of A World Map, an ongoing project which maps structures of power that determine political exclusion and inclusion, using soft pastel and chalk on a large blackboard.

• Sunday, October 26, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Carey Young, Conflict Management in Union Square South
A professional mediator’s services are made available—for free—to anyone who faces conflict and desires to settle it.

• Monday, October 27, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., at Parsons’ Kellen Gallery, 66 Fifth
Avenue at 13th Street
Alexis Bhagat, charrette
Conversations set up both in small and large groups of students will later be incorporated into the live performance piece, Lecture on Democracy as Word and Brand, presented on December 2.

• Monday, October 27, 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Judi Werthein, charrette, followed by talk at 6:30 p.m., at Parsons’ Kellen Gallery, 66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street

Students in a product design class develop “survival kits” for different geographic regions of the world, taking into consideration local adversarial conditions whether of political, environmental, or economic nature. The kits respond to contextual criteria such as poverty, mobility, and belief systems, and must contain 10 items.

OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding is curated by Carin Kuoni, director of the Vera List Center, with Marisa Olson, curator of the exhibition’s Web component. Exhibition and graphic design: Project Projects.

For more information, visit www.branding-democracy.org or www.newschool.edu/johnsondesigncenter.

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