For this research task, we were specifically told not to look at Banksy, which I can understand as by may of those interested in social design, Banksy is considered overrated and is judged for the commercialism of his work. However this commercialism does increase awareness and get his somewhat poignant messages across. It’s important to have a social designer with fame like Banksy to encourage more people’s interest in social movements and creating change, the alternative of having no artists and living in a world where the only famous artwork doesn’t immediately spark consideration, like his does is worse in my opinion. I wanted to go a bit further than just looking at his work directly and therefore started thinking about the installations at his summer exhibition in Weston Super-mare, ‘Dismaland’.
One of the contributors that I was most intrigued by was American artist and creative director, Brock Davis. Davis is known for his rejuvenation of everyday mundane objects, suggesting a new way to observe them.
Focusing on social design, and developing on his reinterpretations of familiar objects, Davis created the series ‘Turnstile’. For this series, he traveled through the Midwest of America, capturing a vintage turnstile in the foreground of natural landscapes. This powerful series of photographs, although not necessarily a protest movement or campaign, speaks a lot about today’s prominent immigration issues; and interestingly does so by acting as a mockery of the strict borders.
At Dismaland, the actual turnstile is exhibited alongside the photos documenting Davis’ journey. Linking to this work, in a book on our reading list, Signs of Change discuses the ‘No Borders Movement’ from the 1990s to present.
The No Borders Movement is part of the counter-globalization movement. It critiques how corporate global capitalism allows the free flow of goods, yet restrict and police the free movement of people. One of their slogans is ‘No One Is Illegal’ and they state “We intend to create a world without repression, without explotation, and without borders”. ‘No Borders Camps’ were strategically placed to work against global capitalism, border militarization and migration controls. This first took place at the German-Polish-Czech border in 1998 (Art, 2010).
Art, E. (2010) Signs of change: Social movement cultures, 1960s to present. Edited by Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee. Oakland, CA: AK Press.