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March 16, 2011 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Conceptual Devices is a think tank that considers design as a social engagement. Its projects operate through a shift of symbolic values due to the social utility and social responsibility of arts and design in contemporary society. Where you can learn how to transform a hoodie into a: computer sleeve, baby carrier, strap bag, back-pack, pillow. The DIY diary, Graphic Templates for DIY Leaflets, and much more.

http://www.conceptualdevices.com/2010/03/just-undo-it/
posted by Fizz (17 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can someone please remove that failure of a link I accidentally left in the "more inside" box. Apologies.
posted by Fizz at 7:12 AM on March 16, 2011


Its projects operate through a shift of symbolic values due to the social utility and social responsibility of arts and design in contemporary society.

Can someone translate please?
posted by ericost at 7:18 AM on March 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


The videos, with their trendy flashing style, don't actually inspire a lot of confidence in the practicality of these ideas. I mean, I could believe that they may actually work, but I'd have to try it myself before I'd believe it. As the top comment on the baby carrier video says, "Transform you hoodie into a dead baby."
posted by bitslayer at 7:23 AM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Transforming your hoodie into a dead baby is another example of shifting symbolic values due to the social utility and social responsibility of arts and design in contemporary society.
posted by Drastic at 7:26 AM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Its projects operate through a shift of symbolic values
meaning: It was a hoodie, now it's a pillow!

due to the social utility
meaning: I'm tired.

and social responsibility
meaning: My hoodie hurts no one.

social responsibility of arts and design in contemporary society.
meaning: This folding table in the art department looks like a good place to take a nap.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:29 AM on March 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


You can use my hoodie as a pillow when you pry it out from under my cold, tired head.
posted by ericost at 7:33 AM on March 16, 2011


Where you can learn how to transform a hoodie into a: computer sleeve, baby carrier, strap bag, back-pack, pillow.

Go, Diego, Go.
posted by three blind mice at 7:36 AM on March 16, 2011


Sometimes artists make you hate them. I can't exactly say why but this is one of those times.
posted by oddman at 7:37 AM on March 16, 2011


Their website is pretty weak sauce, considering that they're designers and all. Also, what do I have to do before I can label myself a "think tank"?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:50 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish designers would just make useful stuff instead of feeling the need to tell us about WHY it's useful stuff. It seems self-defeating. If it's really useful stuff, shouldn't I be able to look at it and go, hey, that looks like useful stuff? I know that sometimes useful stuff is new stuff and that means maybe having to explain your stuff, but that's a how not a why. Just make useful stuff.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:18 AM on March 16, 2011


00_ Design should not be based on formal principles – but always on an idea of society.

I will remember this before stepping on anything load-bearing these guys have built.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:53 AM on March 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


So there's a lot of snark in this thread, and maybe it's accurately slung at an incompletely baked idea/project in this FPP.

Still, I'm wondering what people think of the recent attention that fabrication is getting in general. The basics of the technology (digital design sharing, cheaper and more accessible equipment) are really interesting to me. I'm poised at an opportunity to get something like this going in the community I work in. But as someone with a very different background (economics), it's hard to verify whether this thing really has legs.

Anyone care to convince me?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:53 AM on March 16, 2011


I wish MetaFilter would stop consistently disappointing me with offhandedly disparaging remarks in threads about visual artists and designers.

I wish designers would just make useful stuff instead of feeling the need to tell us about WHY it's useful stuff.

Design is a wide-ranging discipline, and people interested in design research and theory write and talk about design all the time. Conceptual Devices appears to be the working name of an academic with a doctorate in urban studies and an interest in subversive design. I don't think his aim is to "make useful stuff" so much as to create a dialogue about what design is, what it can do, and how it connects to a larger visual culture.
posted by oulipian at 8:55 AM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Still, I'm wondering what people think of the recent attention that fabrication is getting in general. The basics of the technology (digital design sharing, cheaper and more accessible equipment) are really interesting to me. I'm poised at an opportunity to get something like this going in the community I work in. But as someone with a very different background (economics), it's hard to verify whether this thing really has legs.

Well, hope so! I'm currently involved in an educational digital fabrication project through work. The idea is, students gain a better understanding of how things work by actually constructing these items. Nothing finished yet but when it's launched you can bet I'll be putting it in Projects.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:57 AM on March 16, 2011


Since I don't mind discussions about conceptual design, I'll simply ask: What's up with the "Italy in Smoke" project/thing? For the most part, it seems to be a celebratory piece about a specific portion of the Italian Constitution, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, which simply states, "All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law." Nice - a little general, but still, nice.

But in the graphic, there's hand-lettered callout to an EC law or something, about non-smoking. And the project/thing is called "Italy in Smoke." And...? What do these things have to do with each other?

Since we're talking design here, if I have to work THAT hard to get your point, IMHO your design's not working...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:37 AM on March 16, 2011


And the project/thing is called "Italy in Smoke." And...? What do these things have to do with each other?

I think the quoting of the Italian constitution is printed in the format of an EU no-smoking sign. The point is that the sentiment in the constitution is so far from reality, that it is similar to a bureaucratically imposed smoking ban, that no one follows or appreciates in Italy.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:26 PM on March 16, 2011


Okay, I started with the strap bag; it became quickly apparent that the only way it could be useful would be if the bottom edges of the garment were first sewn together. This is neither quick nor further convertible... once it's a bag, it's a bag.

Also, the vid style is irritating. Other than that I see potential here.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:21 AM on March 17, 2011


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