Maša Milovac

Curating Croatian Presentation at inaugural London Design Biennale 2016, at Somerset House in London, September 2016

Utopian Collective is a response to questions raised by London Design Biennale in the form of a platform that develops and communicates on several levels: research, speculative, and critical. The proposal of presenting Croatia is a conceptual collective of designers which will use its activities to explore the role of design nowdays. The presence of designers in the independent cultural scene shows, their synergy and self-initiated action, often in the form of collective, strengthens and promotes resistance to the dominant consumer, commercial demand and needs for highly aesthetic design, which often restrict creative process.

Utopian Collective’s starting point is activation of potential, as well it is to raise awareness in the diverse processes in which the design/ designer are unavoidable and essential factors. Being aware that good design, independently of context or location, speaks universal language and communicates the society’s potential, this concept potentiates specifically local micro visions recognised in collectives, couples, groups and individuals. Several emerging Croatian designers such as Maja Čule, Hrvoje Hiršl, Maja Kolar & Maša Poljanec, Oleg Šuran, Mauro Massarotto, Mauricio Ferlin and Hrvoje Živčić will be presenting their project at the Biennale, as result of this collaborative process.

Utopian collective as an act of designers’ collaboration, is an experience through which they seek progress, change and answers on broader topics of collective work, not just by working on new methods, but also reflecting on relations, authorship and the final situation as an outcome. It is not about searching for an “utopian” solution, but rather withdrawing some questions on how collective thinking could be processed and evaluated by a designer.

By rethinking the principles of a collective, this design installation presents the process itself as a final result, transformed and translated into a new (object) environment; a set of “anti- design” object/s produced collectively. Projecting their own potential, goals, as well as uncertainities, this “Utopian collective” explores collaborative design as a possible format of action in response to the individualistic practices as imperatives of competitiveness in the consumer society and the neo-liberal market environment.

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