Visual Communication Design Department, Shenkar

Design, Society, Culture: 3rd year seminar

Cultural Guerilla / Exposure Work: Breaking the Silence in the Workplace – with Mati Shmuelof and Tahel Frosh, 2013

 

This project was presented at Performance Studies International Conference 19, Now Then Performance and Temporality, Stanford University, June 2013. Presentation: Action Items: Enablers of Design-Based Social Interventions with Arch. Ayelet Karmon, on the panel: Event Space a Now (& Then): Architectures (in & out) of Time, led by Dr. Dorita Hannah

 

Collaborating with Cultural Guerrilla was an educational experiment that used performance as a way to introduce a participatory, socially-enhanced approach to design teaching. It aimed at destabilizing central practices of an object-centered approach in design by introducing performance as a way to examine the influence of physical participation on design practice.

Our project was done in collaboration with Guerilla Tarbut (Cultural Guerrilla), an activist group of Israeli poets who promote social and political causes through poetry, performed in different public events. Their work is composed of events such as standing side by side with fired workers at the factory gates reading protest poetry, or reading service charges and senior bankers’ salaries out load inside local banks during the social protests of summer 2011. We joined them in their ongoing Exposure Work project – a project that seeks to articulate the discourse on the various forms of abuse that occur in workplaces through the collection of testimonies.

The course at Shenkar gave little descriptive guidance to the students besides the request to begin by testifying to their own experiences. As an extension to the original project of Guerilla Tarbut, the course included a personal contract between the professor and the students, regularizing their relationship in a legislative language typically used at workplaces. The course included workshops in which the students converted their personal testimonies into slam poetry, and performed it in the school campus as a Flash Mob performance.

During the semester we wanted to explore the idea that working with a multitude of testimonies, repeated over and over again, has the ability to connect temporal and spatial trajectories.