mai 68

Atelier Populaire: The 1968 Atelier Populaire was a fleeting moment in design history, but an important one nonetheless. We have no intention of repeating it, and we couldn't even if we wanted. Social parameters have changed, and with them the channels used to articulate counter-publicity, as you call it. Actually, we're less interested in the 'counter' aspect (although we do hold critical opinions on economic and social issues) than in the design, in the sense of Beuy's social sculpture. And there are links to 68 in that then as now, people were in ongoing dialogue with each other, and the creative powers of normal citizens came to the surface, at least briefly. But either it was too one-sided in terms of its objectives, or the starting point was too restrictive. Again, the focus was mainly on politics, as opposed to any notion of freedom. As far as we can see in retrospect, they expected change to be driven by politics, not individual creativity. To put it diplomatically, what they ultimately lacked was an integrative concept of form. Everything we create and pass on to others (in this case, political imbalance, dependencies, and social injustice that require change) primarily focus on the 'why'. And that begs the question of form, or of forming. If we take that a step further and ask where the key points for the will to design lie, we enter the territory that precedes all political aspects: the nature of the human soul and how its will is organised. People who only speak about conditions, social or economic products that shape people (and need to be changed) are neglecting the aspect of personal freedom, and hence creativity. Now in 2004, it's not about occupying universities. Metaphorically speaking, hanging out on a designer beach with our friends just isn't enough. Freedom is not a material concept. As a result, we're looking for ways to implement a design concept that shapes things in a way that really suits people. All the more so because, in our opinion, traditional advertising strategies (aka Change Management) are no more than old wine in new vessels. And this despite the fact that values are changing, and with them the challenges we face. Our aim is to create visual and written worlds, and to weave a social fabric at the same time. That's what we try to convey in the work we do. Not because we're political, but because we want to inspire new ideas that will compete with existing institutions.

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