Emancipating and Sustaining the Environment: Avant-garde Experiments around 1970 in Denmark

Jensen, H. (Underviser), Munch, A. V. (Underviser)

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Emancipating and sustaining the environment
Avant-garde experiments around 1970 in Denmark

In this presentation it will be argued that the success of designers and design critics in putting environmental issues on the design agenda around 1970 has deeper roots than hitherto pointed out. Lines will be drawn back to the avant-garde of the 1920ties and even further back to the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk of the Art Nouveau movement. The idea of design as an altruistic agent of radical reform profoundly reshaping and reorganizing human environment through total design lies at the bedrock of design ideology and was effectively reactivated by the Scandinavian avant-garde and activist movements in the second half of the 1960ies.

The outset for the presentation will be an investigation of the radical experiments of the Danish designer and architect duo Susanne Ussing (1940 - 1998) and Carsten Hoff (1934 - ) around 1970 which drew much attention and were considered as pointing to the future of design by contemporary design critics. Their activities encompassed exhibitions, teaching and experimental buildings and coincide with the advent of Victor Papanek in Scandinavia. Most notably they arranged provocative multi-sensory exhibitions in established museums, set up teaching facilities outside the academy and did a three-month building experiment using cheap and accessible materials like scaffolding, armoured plastic tarpaulin and cardboard in ‘the new society’ camp in Thy, Jutland. In the discourse accompanying the activities of the duo themes of objects and buildings as catalysts of emancipation and new ways of living predominate. The concept of ‘miljø’ [environment] was key in capturing the totality of the social life to reform and the result of the reformed social life. At this point ‘miljø’ thus could be said to point both back and forth in relation to design in a Danish context.
Periode7. sep. 2017
Sted for afholdelseInstitut for Design og Kommunikation
Grad af anerkendelseInternational