The DESIS Philosophy Talks @Studio Time

Potentialities, Storytelling & Politics
New York – Tuesday, March 7, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

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The DESIS Philosophy Talk is an initiative of DESIS network (and particularly of Ezio Manzini & Virginia Tassinari) aimed at enhancing the dialogue between practice & theory, between design & philosophy. The idea is to match practical issues and topics emerging from design practice in the field of social innovation around the world with insights from the philosophical tradition. The DESIS Philosophy Talks want to explore practical issues and topics emerging from design practices from a philosophical, theoretical perspective to add meaningful value to the design practice and possibly also philosophy.

The DESIS Philosophy Talks @Studio Time is new initiative resulting from the collaboration between DESIS Network/DESIS Philosophy Talks and Z33 Research/Studio Time. This research project is a new travelling series of reflections and actions that will be held in different places around the world, and involve scholars from a wide range of disciplines. The aim is that to build together a collective intelligence reflecting on the issue of how design and the arts are contributing to question the ideology of progress and opening up the possibility for new ways to interest the past, the present and future.

When an idea is imposed on reality – even if it is an idea based on the experiences and eventually the successes of the past – reality reacts against this imposition. When this happens, an internal dialectics takes place from within reality, as reality is always more complex, and resists to be encapsulated and fully grasped. Criticisms towards the idea of progress and linear time do not only come from above, from intellectuals looking at the status quo and criticizing it. Reality itself reacts to these unilateral interpretations and generates moment of criticism, in which people are given the possibility to become aware of the dynamic and pluralistic character of reality. Society is currently experiencing a proving-wrong of many key “mainstream narratives” – which have been formatted by the contemporary capitalistic and neo-capitalistic society. Designers and artists may very well have the ability to recognize what the “remains” of this fracturing of mainstream narratives might potentially represent for our present and future, without projecting towards the future a continuation of the failures and mistakes of the past. Designers and artists can create new narratives – through storytelling – to convey alternative notions of time, which can help us to better live our present, helping society to better understand what the present time really offers, and what is the amount of past that can still offer potentialities for the future.

Discussant: “The Time that Remains: A Designerly Perspective,” Virginia Tassinari, philosopher; faculty, Luca School of the Arts, Brussels

Respondent: Clive Dilnot, Professor, Design Studies, Parsons


Discussant: “Official and Unofficial Time in Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence,” Susan Yelavich, Associate Professor and Director, Design Studies MA, Parsons

Respondent: Joseph Lemelin, PhD candidate philosophy, NSSR


Discussants: “Design Ethnography and the End of Life,” John Bruce, Assistant Professor of Strategic Design and Management, Parsons; Eduardo Staszowski, Assistant Professor of Design Strategies, Parsons

Respondent: Shana Agid, Assistant Professor of Art, Media, and Communication, Parsons


Discussant: “Time’s Interfaces: Clocks, Timelines, Transit boards, and Database Design,Shannon Mattern, Associate Professor, Media Studies, New School for Public Engagement

Respondent: Janet Roitman, Professor, Anthropology, NSSR

The DESIS Philosophy Talks aim to help artists and designers to become more aware of their ability to make visible and tangible the unexpressed potentialities of the past and present, that have passed unseen by the eye of the ideology of linear time & progress, and help to make these potentialities express their value for the past and future. Which kind of actions and politics do their creations inform when they tell the stories of what is potentially there but has passed unseen or not seen enough in a linear reading of time?