The practice of the Design for the Living World class is based on the production and exchange of knowledge with local residents. We create relational objects that communities use as tools to change their culture of living. We see ourselves as mediators in this process. The designer’s role is to mediate and help envision a project that articulates a new culture of living.
A passion for contemporary culture is crucial to the success of any project. Art and design are living practices. When the culture changes, so does art and design, and so does the role of artists and designers. In projects such as Tromsø – A City as a Garden, we become involved in collaborations. We understand the trajectory from object art to community-based art projects, and the move from product design to participatory design. We have learned to embrace performative actions in public space so long as they engage critical thinking and are the result of long-term processes.
Mediation has several faces. We are aware that the success of any project depends on our involvement with the local community. Perhaps surprisingly, there is another face, which depends precisely on the fact that we are not part of the residents’ everyday life. Because we are involved with residents only for a limited period of time, we are able to bring an outside-the-box perspective to the questions at stake and to mediate between residents and the envisioned city they want to live in.