Sunday, May 18, 2008

On the other hand...

Yes, there are a few socially responsible young designers. Nadia Plesner is one brave example. In her words:
Nadia Plesner's Simple Living"My illustration Simple Living is an idea inspired by the medias constant cover of completely meaningless things. My thought was: Since doing nothing but wearing designerbags and small ugly dogs apparently is enough to get you on a magazine cover, maybe it is worth a try for people who actually deserves and needs attention. When we’re presented with the same images in the media over and over again, we might start to believe that they’re important. As I was reading the book "Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond" by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast last summer, I felt horrified by the fact that even with the genocide and other ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Paris Hilton was the one getting all the attention. Is it possible that show business have outruled common sense? If you can’t beat them, join them. This is why I have chosen to mix the cruel reality with showbiz elements in my drawing."
100% of the profits from the Simple Living t-shirt and poster are donated to Divest for Darfur which is an initiative to encourage investment firms, especially JP Morgan, Franklin Templeton, Fidelity Investments, Capital Group (American Funds), and Vanguard, to withdraw investments from companies that help fund genocide in Darfur. Millions of investors are unaware that their savings are invested in companies that help fund genocide in Darfur.

iDon't careThis raised a copyright lawsuit from Louis Vuitton... and probably another will follow from Sandra's cousin. The main problem, as counterfeitchick points out is "that the presence of LV trademarks on the t-shirt could mistakenly be read to imply that Louis Vuitton had made investments that were helping to fund genocide - not a message that the company would want broadcast, even in error". However, this is not the first time that an artist uses a logo or a company for a political commentary... or a t-shirt. Christian groups have been using mock up logos for a long time... Jesus Christ and "come-caca" t-shirts exist since I was a kid, and I don't think that coca cola would actually try to sue them all! Check out my "iDon't care" version of Nadia's image, hope I don't get sued by Steve Jobs for that.

Zbigniew Libera's LEGO concentration campNadia's example of Zbigniew Libera and his LEGO concentration camps on her response to LV is a very obscure quote, but is in deed a quite similar message regarding how unaware or misinformed we can be regarding human tragedy (in this case genocide). Libera's Lego work is part of a series titled "Correcting Devices" meant to illustrate the gap between the ideal world marketed to children compared to the harsh reality which is the real world. lego6741Seems like they are both right on how we are being brainwashed by mass media, and we are more aware of meaningless "american idols", celebutantes, and top models, than our awareness regarding real problems like famine, genocide, etc. Just a couple of weeks ago we watched some newscasts about the farm killings genocide (plaasmoorde) in South Africa something that the rest of the world is also (mostly) unaware (warning: very disturbing images on those videos). My point is, that I must agree with Nadia and Zbigniew, mass media, consumption ("gadgetitis") and propaganda are misleading us into a society that looks away from real problems. Nice to know that at least a few people are doing something to change that.

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