Independently or in small groups, develop a visual campaign that promotes post-anthropocentric design/action drawing from the ideas posed around co-emergent life and future commonality by Arturo Escobar in his 2020 video lecture Design/ing Paths towards Post-Covid Transitions.
If you have not yet watched this lecture, please do! Escobar’s 5 trajectories for actions/designs for transition towards a flourishing Pluriverse: 1) re-communication of social life, 2) re-localization of economic, social, cultural activities, 3) fostering [local] autonomies, 4) de-patriarchization, de-racialization, de-colonization 5) re-integrating with Earth, terrestrialization practices, re-Earthing
In our world full of crisis today, what ways can we draw attention to alternative approaches that do not tax the planet and/or put humans at the center of this vulnerable home we call Earth?
How many of Escobar’s 5 trajectories can your visual campaign address?
In proposing more sustainable, inclusive visions of a healthier planetary future, consider what resources your campaign would require if made public. For example, if it was a poster campaign, how many trees are cut down? Where does the ink come from? If it was a digital campaign through social media, how much energy consumption does it require for server farms to store that digital information? What polluting byproducts would this produce? Does this negate the purpose of your campaign?
A couple a students have written to ask for more clarification on the visual campaign project. Here is some further framing.
A visual campaign is a socially motivated project that usually involves a coordinated effort to share information to the public about a specific issue through various design strategies. For example, we are probably most familiar with the visual campaigns that include all the advertisements that are produced for during times of political elections. These campaigns could appear on billboards, in junk mail found in the mailbox, online ads, television ads, etc. All of these are various formats contribute to the larger visual campaign to help communicate something to the public. In politics, this is usually promoting a specific politician for election or a specific political issue the public will be voting on. Often times I am quite irritated with how much trash political campaigns generate.
A campaign however could also be advocating for a social movement like Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, etc. The visual campaign for our project asks you to bring awareness to a crisis facing the world today. You will need to decide what crisis you would like to dedicate attention towards in your campaign and what material format(s) your campaign would hypothetically utilize. Escobar gives five trajectories that he feels are necessary for the world to move in a healthier direction.
It might be challenging to develop a campaign that touches on all five, but it may be possible to include a few. Escobar provides directions that provide guidance. In the previous email, I gave the example of a poster format. In this hypothetical, I am encouraging you to be mindful about the resources it would take to realize a poster campaign and the excess pollution this would create. If thousands of trees are cut down to produce the posters for a hypothetical campaign, the project is simultaneously participating in deforestation, fuel emissions, and the creation of paper trash: details which continue to tax the sustainability of life on the planet at a certain scale. Is it possible to imagine a visual campaign that gives more than takes? For example, perhaps a poster or a digital flyer acknowledges the very resources and carbon footprint they produce in order to exist.
So the challenge of this project involves finding a creative way to bring attention to crisis without contributing to the systems that aggravate crisis. Can we design for life without abusing life? Can we communicate vital ideas without contradicting ourselves in the processes required to spread the message?