Description„GEGEN-STAND“( OBJECT, can also be literally translated: RESISTANCE) consists of four alienation objects which illustrate the paradox of xenophobia and racism. For this purpose I designed objects with absurd functions: Xenophilophone (accent neutralizer, depersonalizer) Videoveritas (glasses for reading between the lines) Rassistektor (Geigercounter for racism) Egoreflektor (neutralizer of political ego)
What is the Topic?
In the center of my work is the question of how design can tackle xenophobia critically. The project GEGEN-STAND confronts xenophobia and racism with satire, sarcasm, irony and nonsense. I was also inspired by the movement of anti-design, chindogu and radical design. Beyond humor, however, arises my way of replying the difficult question of handling these social problems. This way, the title of the work GEGEN-STAND refers to the original sense of the word, thus offering resistance.
Why does it look like this?
Each “object of alienation” looks different, but the four of them have one thing in common: each uses the principle of a mirror and thus serves as a symbol of self-reflection. I also decided to adopt the aesthetics of classical functionality to create the impression of seriousness and counteract the absurdity of the real function of the objects. Depending on the context of the presentation, the objects appear laboratory or performative.
What is special?
GEGEN-STAND provides a solution of handling the problem of xenophobia and racism by special means, taking it exactly as it is: absurd. The Entfremdungsgegenstände (“objects of alienation”) offer room for reflection, observation, self-evaluation, criticism and awareness towards the phenomenon of xenophobia. Since it is not a work of art exposed behind a pane of glass, it animates and provokes the viewer’s interaction, creating confusion at first, and thus ideally resulting in clarity and understanding, as well as encouraging conversations. In addition, the items offer the opportunity to conduct performances with them, which has been done on different occasions. Reactions from passers-by to the objects were speechlessness, laughter, fear, irritation, amazement, inquiry, encouragement and the report of own experiences. Special features are also of technical nature: the use of a color filter and a theremin.
What is new?
New to the project GEGEN-STAND is the attempt to address social pathologies such as xenophobia and racism through product design. The four “objects of alienation” offer irrational, ironical and exaggerated solutions to absurd problems. The interaction with these objects gives the user the opportunity to experience the role of the victim and the perpetrator himself. The intention is that the executing person refrains from subsequent rating or rethinks patterns and categorization through self-awareness.