This show includes WhyTheyHate.US
Ours: Democracy in the Age of Branding
October 15, 2008 — January 30, 2009
curated by Marisa Olson
Vera List Center
The New School
New York, NY
This exhibition is a multi-disciplinary investigation of democracy as a brand, positioning this form of governance in terms of marketing and market shares, design and visual concepts, and consumer culture and agency. Timed to coincide with the final stages of the American presidential elections, the exhibition also seeks to reflect on electoral process in this country.
At a moment when the catchword “democracy” is ubiquitous and evoked by a plethora of regimes internationally, ranging from Egypt’s dictatorship to America’s corporation-financed bicameral system, this exhibition looks at design and packaging of the notion of democracy, and how it became a consumer brand. The works by practitioners from various fields will examine this phenomenon and uncover possible reasons for it, thus indirectly also indicating a path to reinvigorate the concept. Graphic and visual design, information processing and mapping feature in the exhibition as well as sculptures and installations. A conference is planned to examine these processes from the point of view of sociology, anthropology and political science, possibly leading to the publication of a book.
The exhibition launches the opening of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design. It harkens back to the beginnings of The New School, founded in 1919 in order to improve the lot of humanity and bring academic research to bear on the moral and material advancement of people. Today, such a practice-oriented approach makes the exhibition the natural receptacle for trends in contemporary art and design practice that emphasize interdisciplinary collaborations, (virtual) social and political agency of the Web, and knowledge production. The exhibition is a co-production between the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and Parsons The New School for Design.