New Agency to Radically Act.
Since it’s beginning, my internship gave me the possibility to look at the role of design and it’s possibilities with another vision and from another perspective. Now, I aspire to design to create a community, design to radically respond to the situation, design to create empathy and knowledge. It is not any more “art for the art sake”, but it is design to collaboratively progress.
I have the possibility to undertake my internship at Lampoon Magazine, a cultural and fashion magazine based in Milan. Before in studio, now remotely, I have worked as a graphic designer, image research, print coordinator and social media manager. I went alone for a week near Bologna to direct the printing process of The Commitment Issue, the 500 pages magazine by Lampoon.
Before the pandemic returned, marking the closure of the city, I had the possibility to meet a group of Italian based artists, writers and singers. With their perspective in relation to the one from Lampoon, I had the possibility to professionally see what means to be in the industry. I saw aspiration, desire, sometimes disillusionment but at the base of everything radical activism.
Dedicating my time in reading the magazine’s articles in order to find the images for the galleries, I have now developed knowledge and understand around the topic of sustainability, that is filtered by the aesthetic sense of Lampoon.
One of the articles that have been published reports: “How can we enact generosity, how can it be relational?” (Cornelia Lauf from We must become idealist to confront this world, 2020). This question has become essential in my everyday work, the engagement I put into what I produce, and the images I research for the magazine. I can no longer conceive a design which is for my self-satisfaction, my ego, for an idea of momentary success, or just a design to create something. Hans-Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Stefano Boeri makes the point: “We must become idealist to confront this world". Maybe there was a time when creating just to aesthetically please the eyes could have worked. On the contrary, after this pandemic time in which the only perspective is the incessant increase of the temperature with its consequences, that way of designing is arid, suffocating, and voiceless.
Unfortunately, having this in mind is not always simple to end the day satisfied with what I have done. As my role is image research and social media manager, sometimes what I do looks pointless to me. Every day the same topic and the normal routine. Contrarily, after three months is clear to me that the study of a subject is the basis. It is important to know what is being done and why, know what has been done before, and know the cultural context in which we live to open a dialogue. A sense of urgency followed by the desire to actively respond has been raised by the constant research on the topic discussed and curiosity this raised in me. “Change today is to take the reality and make it better by being honest”, said the creative director in one of our first meetings.
However, as it has been said during an online meeting I attended by Grace Francis, the Chief Experience Officer at Karmarama London, this desire to radically respond to the cultural context we live into, can become a loop. The discussed topic is destined to become old-fashion and normalised. The created relationships in the office, and with the artists I met in Milan, made me realise that to radically act for a long-term purpose I can no longer conceive myself as a single designer.
We are the revolution, there is no time for despair but only for mutual stimulation.
Chiara Adele Ruozzo, DFAD