The ephemeral aesthetic of spontaneous design on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil

HARLAND, Robert and LOSCHIAVO SANTOS, Maria Cecilia (2009). The ephemeral aesthetic of spontaneous design on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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There are few opportunities when the poor and prosperous can be spoken about with respect to the same, shared cultural experience. And yet, visual culture, and the design process that contributes to its materialisation in specific contexts, offers an opportunity to recognise a socially inclusive activity that reveals similarity rather than difference. This paper celebrates an ephemeral aesthetic that is appreciated by people at different ends of the economic, political and social spectrum. A mutual appreciation for the medium of collage differs only in terms of the environment within which the recycled object is eventually revealed. This paper explores some of these different contexts, and those who recognise and practise this phenomenon in a South American and European context. The conclusion of this speculative and exploratory study is that there is potential to develop this unique medium as an accessible and inclusive visual language, giving voice to those who often do not have the opportunity or the means to speak and be heard. Collage is recognised as a channel that mediates between social exclusion and inclusion when political and economic means have been exhausted. The resulting ephemeral aesthetic is proven to have visual appeal, satisfying low- and high-order human needs.

Bricolage; Ephemeral Aesthetic; Urban Poor; Human Need; Graphic Design

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:35

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