Design Archeology: Graphic Reconstructions of Kreuzberg, Berlin

SHEPPARD, Amy (2009). Design Archeology: Graphic Reconstructions of Kreuzberg, Berlin. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Design Archeology combines communication design with archeological methods for evaluating material culture to produce new forms of graphic identity. It is a research methodology for examining cultural practices and activities of the moment in order to create a “snapshot” of a community’s identity from its material culture. Graphic Reconstructions of Kreuzberg Berlin is a graphic identity developed from ephemera (receipts, tickets, posters and flyers) collected from the streets of Kreuzberg, Berlin over a three-week period. The project examines the language of transactions and advertising and its impact on community identity. The final series of posters were installed back at the original site in Berlin.

Surrounded by a plethora of advertisements, receipts, tickets, receipts, junk mail and more, this ephemera offers an immediate “snapshot” into a very specific moment in time. What if the information contained within could be captured, recorded, and interpreted? What would it tell us about that specific moment in time, identity, cultural patterns, and the relationship of language and media?

These Graphic reconstructions manifest itself in the form of posters and receipts. The content used in the posters came from transaction-based ephemera, and the content used in the receipts came from advertising-based ephemera. The inversion of media was used to “make strange” and change the context in which these items are normally seen, in an effort to reexamine cultural patterns and information that normally go unseen.

This was done as a tool to evaluate transaction language, consumption and selling patterns and the locality of Kreuzberg. While the outcome does not offer a cohesive identity, it reveals ethnic backgrounds, trends in purchases, travel patterns based on transaction, nightlife locations, and a globalized and “businessfied” culture.

Design; Design Archeology; Ephemera; Artifact; Research; Found Object; Berlin

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:06

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