Tuesday, 28 September 2010

anti design festival: the art was ok, but the free beer was just great.

‘anti’ anything tends to conjure up images of affronted adolescents rebelling against something, anything, and everything. an excuse to squander glorious misguided energies.

the inaugural anti design festival(18th – 26th of September), which was set up by neville brody, in response to the ‘pretty and commercial’ london design festival, smacked of this somewhat. it was a nine day festival, featuring performances, workshops, installations, film, transmedia and publishing, in east london’s redchurch area.

the rather lengthy and windy manifesto written by neville, could equally be a blurb for an armageddon movie using words like ‘ anarchy, crash, burn, enemy, generic cultural hypnosis, control is invisibly visible’. and we are still just discussing design?

the anti design festival intended to be anti -success, and anti- function. to mark the end of success culture. to embrace failure and disappointment. for the ideas to be unfinished and imprecise. for nothing to be polished. and while all this seems like such a freeing, limitless sentiment, it was all a bit too contradictory to be taken in earnest.

the festival was anti- establishment, yet many of the contributors and sponsors were very much establishment, it ran an open programme, but was also curated, and it was anti success, and yet looking to be successful?

i spent much of my time so confused by the celebrated anarchy, that i missed the art. in short i am anti-anti design so that leaves me with just design right? phew. maybe now we can get back to discussing the actual art rather than fear the apocalypse!

[image credit: anti design festival]

[aine herlihy]

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