Solution Series

Solution Series

Even though graphic designers are keen on thinking that their profession makes a difference and that it’s politically, ethically and culturally relevant in our society, it’s a rather uncommon phenomena seeing this idealistic approach actually at work. Especially when it comes to Italy, graphic design is still considered an ‘artistic’ outtake on the artifacts we encounter on a daily basis. On the other hand, designers themselves generally profess a more politically active attitude but aren’t capable of actually putting it into practice.

There are, however, a few practitioners that try to take the matter in their own hands. One of the projects that was born from this kind of approach is Solution Series – a series of books published by Sternberg Press and curated by Ingo Niermann with the precious contribution by Zak Kyes (a graphic designer we have already praised in one of our articles).

The Solution Series has quite a definite – and also a bit pretentious – ring to it. What it does is developing highly critical cultural proposals in a tumultuous era of geopolitical instability that should function as stimulus for rethinking some of the urgent problems present in the area the single book refers to. Some of the titles in the series are “Finland: The Welfare Game” by Martti Kalliala with Jenna Sutela and Tuomas Toivonen, “The Book of Japans” by musical artist and writer Momus, “United States of Palestine-Israel” by Joshua Simon, “America” by Tirdad Zolghadr and “The Great Pyramid” edited by Ingo Niermann and Jens Thiel.

Ironically by using the word ‘solutions’ the editor mocks the well-established critical discourse by ‘inviting the authors to develop an abundance of compact and original ideas for countries and regions contradicting the widely held assumption that after the end of socialism human advancement is only possible technologicaly’.

The latest outtake related to the project is “Solution Greece?”, an exhibition of the work developed by Kyes for the Solution Series. Hosted by Ommu, a bookshop and project space situated in Athens, the exhibition tries to demonstrate the power of cultural production and the kind of solution it might offer in a country that is coping with a difficult political and economic crisis. Finally a socially and politically relevant, even though slightly utopian, approach of contemporary graphic design practice towards the problems of our society.

Rujana Rebernjak – Images courtesy of Sternberg Press