Swiss Presence at London Design Biennale 2018
‘Body of Us’ is an exercise in and a reflection on different types of friendly relationships – and friendship, understood as the practice of ethical modes of living and acting together, of seeing and orienting within the world for the sake of a common cause. It aims to open up perspectives on ways of living together that can foster greater social, economic and environmental justice. Who are ‘we’ when we talk about ‘us’? And who is excluded from the ‘we’? ‘Body of Us’ is a quest for agency beyond what is commonly understood and conceded to ‘us’ in prevalent modes of political, institutional and economic governance, as well as by career and market conventions; at the same time it is an embodied experiment in the very topic it addresses, and a call for a relational and inherently self-critical way of doing design and of questioning the conditions under which design is produced, displayed and marketed. It will generate an experiential and immersive installation and a publication that provides reflection on the topic. The installation and the publication will be interwoven, entangled and united by a website.
The project was conceived by a large international team, itself composed of collectives and duos: the publishing initiative Continent, the interaction design collective Raeuber & Stehler, the design research duo xgbml project, and the cultural agency common-interest. The participants had never worked with each other before. Brought together by Rebekka Kiesewetter, they set out to generate ‘Body of Us’, whose essence is not to be found in an end product but in the embodied experiment within the very topic it addresses. It is a call for relational and inherently self-critical ways of approaching design by consistently establishing agonistic, symbiotic and authentic conditions for the co-production of meaning.
Initiated by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in collaboration with Presence Switzerland and the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK. Supported by the Swiss Cultural Fund UK