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Design Through/For/About Ethical Thinking

Lecture by Ludwig Zeller, Lecturer at Visual Communication Institute HGK FHNW

24.09.2018 | Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, Institut Visuelle Kommunikation


Ethical questions have seen a remarkable rise in the design practices and theories over the last decades and have led to the emergence of numerous new design movements. When terms become paradigmatic it is time to examine their historical roots, discursive variations and ideological pitfalls thoroughly. The lecture therefore asks for the philosophical, aesthetical and sociological structures of ethics in modernity: what exactly do we think about when we think ethically and which role do these contemplations play in modern societies?

By posing these questions it becomes clear that the numerous design movements that emerged with the rise of ethics can be split in three types of ‘thought collectives’: designing through, for and about ethical thinking. Viewed through this differentiation, practice examples of these three discourses can be queried for their specific intentions, strategies and aesthetics. We will see that these thought collectives have recently entered a mode of disciplinary competition for the interpretational souvereignty on how ethical design should be in an age of crises. This controversial situation can be used constructively for the methodological diversification and sharpening of design practices and theories in general.

Ludwig Zeller is a researcher and lecturer at the Visual Communication Institute and the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM) at the Academy of Art and Design (FHNW) in Basel, Switzerland. He holds an M.A. in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London and graduated in Audiovisual Media at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. His research addresses the narrative and imaginative processes of fictional design artefacts and strives to explore new forms of speculation. He is a contributor to the German design magazine ‘form’ and has recently published a ‘B1/B2 Manifesto’ on Critical and Speculative Design.


For Users, For People
International Design Festival organized by PLAN D
Zagreb, Croatia

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