Tabu 2013 / Part 1: documentation
Berlin University of the Arts

What do designers do and what aren't they talking about? “Tabu“ is a project that explores less visible areas in the field of industrial design and the associated results of taboo areas, e.g. artefacts related to "classical" tabooed topics like sex and death, questionable material culture through non-reflective mass-production or technological innovations with violent effects. Therefore both design research questions as well as questions on material culture were addressed and merged. The research on taboos in and through design was carried out including field research on weapons and funeral fairs, in shooting halls, the Beate Uhse Museum and through interviews with diverse actors who are theoretically and/or practically related to those fields. While the fields of artefacts related to sexuality or death become less and less tabooed, weapons and artefacts related to warfare are still not discussed enough in design, and yet, there are designers working more or less actively in those fields. In the end the project raises broad questions: How to deal with questions on morality in design? How is the designer's attitude reflected in her/his designed artefacts? How does design manipulate perception? What is invisible in the visible?

The resulted reflection can be understood as yet another question in the form of a combination of text, image and material. A documentation of the design research process provides insights into theoretical approaches as well as the materialised and visualised practice in the form of field studies, experimental workshops (on this page) and the derivation of a speculative scenario of an ambivalent weapons company which is represented in the form of a collection of symbolic objects (Devices) and an experimental short film (Moritz Winnebrock).