The accepted brief for designers and makers has always been to produce well made goods, fit for practical use. However, many have also employed shape and decoration to ask questions about political and social issues of their times, or about form and function. This is the subject of Subversive Design, currently showing at the Brighton Museum – a unique exhibition gathered from pieces from its historical collection, alongside new works cleverly curated to fit this fascinating theme including furniture, fashion, ceramics and more. Designers shown include Campana Brothers, Dupenny, Grayson Perry, Timorous Beasties, David Shrigley, Philippe Starck, Leigh Bowery, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. Within this larger theme the exhibition looks at a number of sub-themes such as Big Issues, Form Vs Function and Subverting the body.
In October & November of 2013 I was invited by Brighton Museum to work with the Museum Collective – a group of young people aged 16 to 21 years old who organise and run events at the Royal Pavilion & Museums. Over a series of workshops we responded to the Subversive Design exhibition by producing our own zine which took inspiration from the art and issues embraced by the show.
The collective used collage, original drawing and painting, writing and journalistic skills to explore the works and quotations highlighted from the exhibition signage. Our main limitation was that we relied on analogue techniques and only used computers for research. The results were serious, fun, quirky and spontaneous…
The final result – Subverzine, is soon to be reproduced as a limited edition zine to be sold in the museum shop as the exhibition continues. Thanks again for the invitation and congratulations on the energy and commitment shown by all those who took part!