What has been happening in the world of design for several decades and can be formulated as a critical reflection of design, is coming, albeit very slowly, into the Slovak context. These are ideas and directions that question the role of design in society and look for new possibilities for its application.
Under the influence of critical theories, important and inspiring approaches and ideas have formed, which stand out against traditionally understood design and seek to redefine it into a more sustainable and socially beneficial profession.
They are driven by the urgency of social, environmental and political crises, that push them to look for new answers to questions in the planet-society-design relationship. What does it mean to make design socially and environmentally responsible? What does it mean for design that (according to Arturo Escobar) it is a central element of the unsustainable structures of the modern world? What paradigms and ideologies do we reproduce by design? For whom and for what purposes do we design? What is the relationship between design, politics and ideology? How do we educate design and what narratives do we tell?
Reflecting on contemporary social phenomena and problems in the context of design, or reflecting on the knowledge of critical theories in the social sciences, has so far almost completely bypassed Slovak design discourse. Without knowledge of these important topics, however, we will not be able to find answers to the questions asked, which not only fundamentally shape the form of design production but challenge the very paradigm of design, models of thinking, evaluating and doing it.
author of the text: Barbora Krejčová
The Parallel Studio (Paralelný ateliér) project was created as an effort to begin to expand the Slovak design discourse with these views and topics that consider design in the context of current social, environmental and political challenges. In the sense of the statement "Design is not everything, but it concerns everything," we look for and create overlaps of various areas with design and examine the interrelationships. We want to talk and think about design differently.
Parallel Studio (Paralelný ateliér) is published in the form of podcasts, which you can find on the website www.paralelnyatelier.sk and on podcast platforms (spotify, podbean, apple podcasts...). The project was created as a diploma thesis at the Department of Visual Communication AFAD and currently has finished the first phase of 10 podcasts. With interesting guests we opened the topics of speculative design, the relationship between design, advertising and capitalism, ideologies in design, digital revolution, climate crisis, critical design and many more. We are currently working on the second stage of the project, which should take place in the first half of 2021.
For now, we invite you to listen to our published podcasts on your favourite platforms or directly on the web, where you can also find additional information and resources on topics and guests.