Cecilia Azcarate, Before sixteen

Time for a change

Ieva Laube February 2016
The strong ethical and artistic emphasis of the recent edition of Integrated international art & design conference held in Antwerp (Belgium), has stimulated many thoughts. Here is an impression. 
Belgian philosopher, writer, activist, and professor Lieven De Cauter believes that most of us still think in business-mode: “Graphic design exploded because of packaging and publicity. If you ask me – packaging? Big problem! Publicity ― huge problem! Mental pollution! Deep down, every piece of publicity is propaganda for capitalism. Graphic design has a problem... Architects have a similar problem ― they build for the rich, for the state, and for companies. Even Rem Koolhaas has admitted it! Because we are too bound to money and power. Of course, there’s a silver lining ― a very visible group of architects, artists, designers, and intellectuals actively interrupt normality by proclaiming Hey, we have to work on this!

The architecture / urban planning / social geography collective NDVR are on a mission to transform the former Antwerp Police headquarters into public space for all citizens, filling it with studios, schools, cultural and social organisations, and other interesting functions that city dwellers could benefit from. A business model is in development whose aim is to retain the balance between social and financial profit, and convince others to join-in to purchase the € 10 million Modernist tower.
Cecilia Azcarate, Before sixteen
Sid Lee New York’s co–Creative Director Cecilia Azcarate worked with Happiness Brussels to create screen-printed posters entitled Oil and Water Do Not Mix, gathering actual oil from an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in order to draw attention to environmental issues. In her recent works beforesixteenIkea beforesixteen, and Kim at the Museum, she ingeniously satirises today’s lifestyle and pop culture. For over 15 years, Harry Pearce worked as a human rights activist, graphic designer, and partner at Pentagram. He created all the design material for Witness, a non-profit organisation that trains people around the world to document atrocities against humanity. For the exhibition Questioning the Bomb, remembering Nagasaki and Hiroshima, he designed a poster using his own blood. It’s All Our Blood corresponds to his own belief that what we do to others we are really doing to ourselves.
Cecilia Azcarate - Kim at the Museum

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Ieva Laube

Ieva Laube is a journalist exploring the creative scenes of Europe ‘on the go’, contributing to digital and printed publications back home in Latvia and abroad. While pursuing a career in writing with a focus on design, architecture, photography, fashion, art and creative initiatives, she loves to engage in non–related endeavors that strive to overstep the perception of conventional thinking, carrying out multidisciplinary performative projects. She is also the managing director of fashion label Collar Swimwear.

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