In search for social inclusion.
Numerous researches dedicated to the gross exist in psychology, focusing notably on the sense of otherness behind this reaction of disgust and fascination. Furthermore, many grotesque works of art have been achieved, in particular in the XXth and XXIth centuries, in attempts to challenge prevailing social and moral models. Contemporary design practices, inheriting from a universalist desire of modernism, presuppose a single, unitary identity built according to dominant social constructs. They are nonetheless questioned by the recent emergence of speculative design projects employing materials traditionally deemed disgusting. The present research examines from a material semiotics stand the gross at play in queer & feminist art and in recent speculative design works. As these works show exemplary potential in questioning moral a priori, this research sets them in discussion with a design research program conducted by NGO design studio thr34d5 on kombucha pellicles and their craft. The theoretical and experimental analysis presented in this research form an understanding of the role that material semiotics combined with the gross can endorse to leverage design in matters of social inclusion and impact.
Authors: A. Rigobello, N. Gaudillière-Jami.
Presented at the Cumulus Conference 2021: Design Culture(s).
Picture credit: A. Rigobello.