How Violent Can Design Be? by Juan Gomez

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The question “how violent can design be” became very meaningful to me after the On and Off the Grid Summer Academy. I discovered that many of basic service companies who provide things like city-wide water and electricity make great profits from the vulnerability of the citizen who needs these services. The service provider takes advantage of the citizen and this is an act of violence.

There is a defined aesthetic that hides many of the things beneath this violent industry. Two of my recent artworks explore this aesthetic.

The first project, Help Your Government (HYG), is an approach to the uber-ization of violence. Users get a connected tonfa. A tonfa is the weapon baton used by police in riots and for security in private spaces. The use of the tonfa is quantified if the users show up to a riot. They are awarded with a tax reduction for using their tonfa. There is also the premium version of the tonfa, where the user can express herself and be distinguished when in a riot or when securing a private place, like a bank or a nightshop. Most importantly, the user receives general benefits by helping the state.

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The second project is Make-Book-Make-Sport. Working optimization is the dream of many in the corporate world, but this optimization is about letting our body go. *Make-Book-Make-Sport* is the perfect machine for designers because it lets you exercise while creating layouts for books. Motivational phrases and images scroll in front of you to create a fun and entertaining ambience while exercising. After each workout, the user can print their own book. The book is a souvenir from this exciting moment. It can be shared with others or kept as a journal of the designer’s workouts.

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Photo Credits: Raphaëlle Mueller

Published in On /& Off the Grid in 2018.