- Favelization is an ebook published by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on Feburary 11, 2014 as part of the DesignFile series.In Favelization, I set out to understand the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture capitalized on misappropriations of favelas (informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities) in order to brand luxury items as "Brazilian."Through case studies that look at the films Waste Land and City of God, shirts designed by Fernando and Humberto Campana for Lacoste in 2009, the furniture collection Neorustica by Brunno Jahara, and the Stray Bullet chair and Pacification shelves by David Elia, I explain how designers and filmmakers engage with primitivism and stereotype to make their goods more desirable to a non-Brazilian audience. I argue that the processes of interpretation, aestheticization, transcendence, and domination are part of the favelization phenomena. Favelization locates design as part of a broader constellation of representations that includes a variety of forms from printed media to film.The publication provides visual and material analyses, as well as theoretical discussions that draw on works by scholars in cultural and postcolonial studies such as John Tagg, Edward Said, Mariana Torgovnick, Mike Davis, and Trinh T. Minh-Ha. Favelization raises questions about the ethical conundrums associated with using the "Other" in commercial design work.
- The website www.favelization.net extends the conversation on-line.
- Favelization began as an essay for the class "Theorizing Luxury" taught by Prof. David Brody as part of the M.A. in History of Decorative Arts & Design at Parsons The New School For Design and Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
- I then began receiving invitations to speak at conferences in Philadelphia, Hong Kong, Richmond, and Mexico City.
- I was then invited by the Cooper-Hewitt to become a part of its DesignFile series.
Launched in January 2013 by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum,
DesignFile is a line of e-books on design writing and research published in consortium with academic
and institutional partners. DesignFile is the latest publishing initiative of the
Cooper-Hewitt, following the establishment of an independent publishing imprint in 2006.DesignFile features a wide range of books, from short, text-only works to full-length
illustrated publications. The text-only books disseminate specific ideas and research to a specialist
audience, while the illustrated books treat broader subjects and offer enhancements such as embedded
audiovisual and multimedia files. All DesignFile publications are formatted as EPUB 2.0 files and
accessible through any e-book reader. DesignFile is distributed by Artbook D.A.P.
Inaugural members of the design e-book consortium are Smithsonian Institution Libraries,
Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts. Participating institutions publish
writings from faculty and alumni on an array of design fields and disciplines, as well as the best
masters’ theses in design. Cooper-Hewitt contributes works on its innovative exhibitions, collection
and conservation research, education programs, and texts by winners, finalists and jurors of the
prestigious National Design Awards.
DesignFile is the latest addition to a robust series of initiatives and partnerships undertaken by
Cooper-Hewitt to broaden digital access to the collection and transform the museum’s website into a
leading design research and educational resource. In 2012, Cooper-Hewitt announced the release of its
collection dataset, becoming one of the larger contributors to Google Art Project, contributed
collections to Art.sy and launched the Object of the Day website feature.
- A series of email campaigns will spread the news about Favelization's publication. Here is a copy of the email offering a preview of the book. Click here to download the preview!
- Here are some of the next steps...
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