Scyborg Designer: the Ghost in the Machine
Design has been contributing to Western modernity logic of oppression, productivity, and extractivism. Main design practices remain based on productive and economic processes that left the planet damaged, taking us to a horizon of collapse. Trying to get out of the position of the executor of a harmful cycle of production and consumption, I think of possible ways to create room for maneuver, using the pedagogical insights of La Paperson. It is common to hear that capitalism co-opts all kinds of resistance, turning them into commodities that are quickly discarded and turned into garbage, but is it possible to reverse this logic? Here I try to understand how designers can take advantage of the total insertion and knowledge of market practices to challenge, diversify and hack them. Colonial structures, especially the university, can and should be dismantled, retooled, and reassembled in decolonization contraptions. For La Paperson the ‘scyborg’ is a structural agency of persons who have picked up colonial technologies and reassembled them to decolonizing purposes by creating a mess in their apparatus. I suggest that designers can strategically take on this role, being the ghost in the machine, to decolonize not just the university but also the profession.
decoloniality; scyborg; design pedagogy; design theory
Clara Meliande is a Brazillian graphic designer, researcher and educator living in Rio de Janeiro. She is interested in working in design from a curatorial perspective, whether proposing exhibitions, publications, or educational projects. After working for several years on cultural and editorial sectors, went back to academy to dig into the political dimensions of exhibition design looking to thematic museums of futebol and portuguese language. She believes that design, design research and teaching are complementary practices, that inform one another. She has been a design lecturer at the Architecture and Urbanism Undergraduate program of Santa Ursula University since 2017. She is a Ph.D. candidate at School of Industrial Design – Rio de Janeiro State University (ESDI/UERJ), where she is a fellow researcher at the Design and Anthropology Lab (LADA). Clara researches the political dimensions of contemporary design practices and discourses.