Onassis Cultural Centre
The narrative of exhibition Adhocracy ATHENS follows some themes that are inherent to the concept of Adhocracy, referred to forms of organization that oppose to normal bureaucratic schemes to find new ways of ‘doing things’. From Do-it-yourself to Do-it-with-others, the visitor will be able to see projects and proposals that explains how to use new technologies to create different economic models, proposal with a critical point of view of different topics related with design and the economical context, and other projects created to improve the urban and social conditions in local communities. These are some of the paths to go from making objects to making the commons.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, human activity is changing the world faster than ever before. The former limits between designer, manufacturer and consumer are being blurred by the access to digital tools and network communication. However, the democratic promise brought by the networked culture, custom design and distributed fabrication surpassing mass production model, seems to be still embedded within the logics of capitalist consumerism. That's the reason why Adhocracy is more than an exhibition, a research process open to everyone with the will to use design as a powerful critical tool.
Traditionally and throughout the 20th Century, our idea of ‘economy’ has been linked to that of Capitalism: paper money, currencies, debt, banks, are the main references we have when thinking about economy. But recently, the notions of ‘value’ and ‘trade’ are changing, adapting our language and even our mental framework to new possibilities.
By its own nature, Adhocracy is a ludic philosophy that can thrive on fun processes. Working with others implies interaction, exchange, friction, and fun. But having fun is something serious. Because changing the system, by changing the way we value, produce and distribute things, and the way we interact and affect the environment is a task to be taken earnestly. It’s time to recall John Huizinga when he wrote, “It seems to me that next to Homo Faber, and perhaps on the same level as Homo Sapiens, Homo Ludens, Man the Player, deserves a place in our nomenclature.”
The term ‘new technologies’ is everything but new; the processes of innovation and diffusion in the technological field has always been there through History (just think of the wheel or any flying machine). So now, when we're living immersed on the trendiness of topics such as Smart City or Big Data, it’s time to start using design to pose critical questions, instead of looking only for answers.
The social and political agenda of design, and its role as a catalyst for change, is deeply related with a new understanding of the urban condition. This part of the exhibition is an exploration of the networks, both analogue and digital, that emerge from situations based on a relational approach, reinforcing the urban empathy and interactions between all its members, with the aim of transforming the living conditions of a group of citizens.