DESIS Philosophy Talk #5.5 Studio Time @Z33 – “The time of what remains: design and potentialities”

A collaboration between Z33 House for Contemporary Art, DESIS Network and Istanbul Design Biennial

23 September 2018, 15h SALT Galata, Istanbul 

The DESIS Philosophy Talks are a travelling series of discussions that try to create a bridge between philosophy and design theory and practice. In this discussion we renegotiate the ideology of linear time and progress through the philosophy of Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt. We try to connect some of their ideas with the current discourse on designing in dark times. 

If we agree that like Benjamin we are living today in what he refers to as “the time of remains”, lacking trust in our future, perhaps his thoughts and ideas can help us shape a discourse to act as designers and thinkers from within this crisis. How can design help to give voice to the potentialities that lie in the remains of destruction? Can designers push forward new potentialities in a time of crisis? How? How can we ‘learn’ to listen and find these hidden stories? And how can we do this beyond linear thinking, avoiding the future to be a continuation of the failures and mistakes of the past?

In Benjamin’s footsteps, Arendt says that when linear time is broken, there is unexpectedly the possibility for something like an “activity of thought”. Can design be imagined as one possible configuration of this “activity of thought”? How can we translate this approach in design education? Can we imagine a pedagogy that does not merely orient students towards progress but also supports them in how to be aware of and deal with the failures of progress?