From Cabin to Castle to Capsule:
The End of Design
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries






Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, ROTTERDAM

Seoul-based web art group Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries hereby presents their powerful 'prose poem', which will also serve as an introduction to a workshop for the upcoming Open Set programme.

We live in an object-oriented, consumer-driven world, where big is beautiful, if not badass, and more is not enough. Small may be beautiful, too, but needs critical mass -- not just a big price tag. We're surrounded by much body fat and stuff, hoarding everything but the immaterial -- sorry, you can do that, too. Certain people in the know say that our conspicuous consumption, our logo-laden lifestyle, is the end of history. To shop until we drop. Curtain. But you know that. What you may not know is that humankind's shopping spree from cave to McMansion is the history of the end of design. Although we may be fulfilling our civic duty by buying things, in the process we're making a mess of the planet. It's time to downsize, or else. And some are. We see it all around us. More and more people are, for lack of upward mobility or as a spiritual or intellectual exercise in denial, living in tiny, often transient spaces with few belongings and little notice for design: the poor, the homeless, the incarcerated, the elderly, retirees, refugees, soldiers, boarders, squatters, artists in residence, minimalists, clerics, space-station astronauts, campers, nomads, long-haul truck drivers, orphans, Harry Potter, Cormoran Strike, Jack Reacher, philosophers, bohemians, Japanese . . . They are, unbeknown to many of themselves, design visionaries. What can designers contribute to this growing albeit mostly unwilling progressive movement? What can they contribute in a world where all of us, in order to survive, must radically reduce our footprint?

Young-hae Chang (KR) and Marc Voge (US), the two great experts behind YHCHI, were recent Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Creative Arts Fellows. YHCHI has done their signature animated texts set to their own music in 26 languages and shown many of them at some of the major art institutions in the world, including Tate, Centre Pompidou, Whitney Museum and New Museum.

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