Maya Ober

Instagram
F T L E I V L

08 – 12 May 2017

Net-Workers:

1 Sander Molenaar

2 Mathieu Bujnowskyi

3 Dieuwertje Luitse

4 Max Frischknecht

5 Krzysztof Pyda

Katrin Krumm

Romain Cazier

Annika Frye

9 Anais Bloch and Nicolas Nova

10 Maya Ober

ABOUT

Net-work asked Maya Ober, initiator of Depatriarchise Design, a platform on which contemporary design is examined through a feminist perspective, to take over our Instagram account and interfere with the contemporary design discourse from her own perspective.

#networkdepotbasel #net-work #depotbaselnetwork #onlinedepot #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #design #feminism #designdiscourse

Depot Basel’s Instagram

Net-work continues with Maya Ober. The designer, researcher and analyst just started a blog titled 'depatriarchise design' where she shares her view on the condition of contemporary design through a feminist perspective. The topics she includes span from patriarchy in design language to how star designers have served the male-domination within the discipline. We suggest you start following https://depatriarchisedesign.wordpress.com #depotbaselnetwork #onlinedepot #mayaober #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #femaledesignpractitioners #femaledesignhistory #womenusers
Net-work continues with Maya Ober. The designer, researcher and analyst just started a blog titled 'depatriarchise design' where she shares her view on the condition of contemporary design through a feminist perspective. The topics she includes span from patriarchy in design language to how star designers have served the male-domination within the discipline. We suggest you start following https://depatriarchisedesign.wordpress.com #depotbaselnetwork #onlinedepot #mayaober #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #femaledesignpractitioners #femaledesignhistory #womenusers
The figure of Star Male Designer is crucial to understanding the processes behind the design patriarchy. Patriarchy is based on dominance, power, hierarchy and competition, these features nurture: ego, individuality and superiority, which are socially constructed to be male characteristics. Patriarchy pre-supposes the “natural” superiority of men over women, within the gender binary division. Women are subordinated to men, who confined their social role to biology. Historically, women were restricted to domestic roles of mothers, wives, servants etc., albeit practiced design within the household, often using local crafting techniques and collaborating with other women. Gender binarism defines female as complete opposite of male. Therefore in hierarchical, oppressive framework of patriarchy women’s skills and creation are sex-related and marginalised, as opposed to men’s which are praised and respected. The worship of an individual as opposed to “collaborative” favours men, who have been privileged to use the industry and to mark the industrial design “as male activity” thus valued higher. Centrality of individuals and the personality cult influence the very way in which design is perceived. To any practitioner is obvious that all design projects are collaborative on one or another level, behind Star Designer stands most of the time a group of employees and collaborators. Designers do not work in a void, very often we see similar, parallelling ideas developing in different parts of the world .Why then the cult of an individual genius is being celebrated? Instead of understanding the processes within the design field, applying intersectionality, mainstream design-historians, curators, press and industry focus on the individuals - predominantly male. Men designers achieved a very privileged position, using systematically very destructive tools of control,subordination, classification and prioritisation of different design disciplines, which enabled them to capitalise on the expense of women designers. @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
So where are women designers? Today in stories I will look into some of the most prestigous companies within the industry to see where are women designers. Check the stories throughout the day. @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork #magis #vitra #kartell #industry #gendergap
“So are you a fashion designer?” asked my family doctor “So are you a fashion designer?” asked my health insurance agent “So are you a fashion designer?” asked the immigration officer at JFK airport “So are you a fashion designer?” - during endless social, bureaucratic, random encounters when asked about my profession, is being automatically assumed that as women we are "naturally” predisposed to work with clothing. This example touches the notions of femininity and masculinity, and how these two socially constructed concepts influence the design. Gender binarism assumes, that female is a total opposite of male, our behaviours, character traits, appearance, skills, predispositions are meant to be disconnected and polarised. Gender binary division embeds itself in design and is responsible for classification, prioritisation and hierarchisation of various types of design. As Sherry Ortner (source in comment) says in the patriarchal society, culture is superior to nature, women due to their biological capacity to give birth are identified with nature. Men within the binary paradigm are main creators of culture, therefore the industrial means of production which are antithetical to nature, are classified as superior to handcrafts, domestic production. This division translates into hierarchisation of types of design. Architecture, due to its scale and impact is at the top, industrial design follows, fashion and graphic design are at the bottom. Crafts do not even classify as design and are beyond its scope. Women’s design skills, therefore, are perceived as a product of their sex, connected to their body. Naturalist argument which confines women’s abilities to their “natural” potential, their “sensitivity”, their “domesticity”, therefore women designers are meant to create within their sex frame. Dressmaking due to its proximity to the body is attributed to women, we are making clothes to be worn by us, our offsprings or husbands, within the nuclear family. @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #postpatriarchy #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork #designpatriarchy
Very often women practitioners, who work together with men, receive less (or no) credit for their work and their input is constantly marginalised. Often only male partner is being addressed and mentioned by media, historians or clients. Obviously the presented example, showing how Ray Kaiser-Eames was portrayed in this TV show back in the 50s, is an extreme one, but isn’t it symptomatic to the omissions many women designers or architects still experience today? In the following posts I will try to analyse the image of women as both designers and users. How language, economy and politics influence the communication and nurture patriarchal structures? @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #feminism #eames #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
“The image of the woman as we know it is an image created by men and fashioned to suit their needs.” Kate Millet Dr. Earle Haas filed for patent for first tampons with applicator in 1931, soon to be purchased by @tampax one of the biggest tampons producers in the world. Women were not supposed to interact with their bodies, and their vaginas. The menstruation fluids were meant to be invisible. The applicator ensured that no “unnecessary” contact during the use,takes place. User doesn't receive information (important for prevention of many medical issues) on the intensity of the flow, it’s density, colour etc. Tampon’s design, its form and the way it interacts with the user, is responsible for the maintenance of the stigma around menstruation. Tampon clogs woman’s body, tries to make the menstruation invisible. Both function and form of the tampon as well as the economic imperative behind its design, nurture the patriarchal structures, in which masculine body is the “norm” and female’s body is an aberration. The product was designed as a disposable one, to generate regular income to the company and to bind women with constant monthly expenses for most of their lives. A classical example of umbilical connection between capitalism and patriarchy. The invisibility has been adopted not only in the design of tampon as an object, but in the visual communication in the advertising campaigns. White, clean, dressed in mini dresses or skinny jeans, the representation of women is distanced as much as possible from the menstruation itself. The invisible period is being hidden so deeply, as the tampon, demure, unmentioned, unheard of. Check today the stories to see some examples from past and from present of the tampons commercials. @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #womenusers #menstruation #tampon #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
Leona Chalmers patented the first commercially sold menstrual cup in 1937. Even though the product got all the needed approvals, it hasn’t been broadly accepted only until the 2000s. Chalmers’ design was functional, ergonomic and affordable. The menstrual cups available at the market today do not differ formally far from the original design. Chalmers used rubber as a material for production, nowadays both rubber and silicone cups are available. Why then it took almost 60 years for menstrual cups to be widely introduced and accepted in the market? Next week I will write a longer post about my theory on my blog as well as I will introduce Leona Chalmers as a pioneer and truly feminist designer www.depatriarchisedesign.wordpress.com @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #menstruation #menstrualcup #womenusers #womendesigners #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
​ Griselda Pollock said, that “we are involved in a contest for occupation of an ideologically strategic terrain”, therefore adopting a feminist approach in writing history of design is essential. Marginalisation and omission of women designers and artists from museum, history books, publications, press coverage is a POLITICAL issue, and it constitutes a political ideology of male supremacy. During Milan Design Week I followed the Instagram coverage of @dezeen One of the important process of reclaiming our space as women designers is a process of accountability, institutions, companies, organisations, press outlets, which discriminate against women designers, either directly or indirectly, have to be held account. Internet gives us a unique platform where we can point directly at the oppressive mechanisms and demonstrate discriminative patterns. @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #postpatriarchy #designpatriarchy #womendesigners #womenusers #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
“Meet the designers who shape our lives and create our futures.” @depatriarchisedesign @designmuseum #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #womendesigners #feminism #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
FADU - Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina opened a new Department - Design and Gender Studies (Diseño y Estudios de Género - Cátedra Flesler - FADU) initiated by Grieselda Fiesler. By Flesler's initiative, this year the first course on Design and Gender Studies was incorporated for all FADU students. It is the first department of this type in the world, and definitely pointing a direction for the future of academia within the design field. Waiting for similar departments to open at European Universities and Design Schools. Follow Department´s blog at dyegblog.wordpress.com @faducomunica #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #grieseldafiesler #fadu #womendesigners #feminism #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
Language and design are both methods of communication, as such they play central role in defining the surrounding reality and the design field as such. Women designers often are perceived by media and the design historians within the context of their sex, and they are considered to have specific sex-related skills within the design discipline. Women designers are portrayed as “naturally predisposed”, “organic” men are presented as “pioneers”, “theorists”, “innovative”, men are “intellectual” while women are “instinctive”. The gender binarism of femininity and masculinity has its source in the used language, and systematically devalues women designers’ work. Language either gives value, or devaluates, operating within the patriarchal structures, disciplines such as “decorative arts” or “crafts” got dismissed in comparison with industrial design and architecture, historically accessible by men only methods of production and creation. The dissonance between words used to describe women practitioners versus men can be seen in the collaborative partnership such as those between Margaret MacDonald and Charles Macintosh, Ray Kaiser and Charles Eames or Sonia Stern and Robert Delaunay. Patriarchal language creates the hierarchy, favouring fields historically occupied by men, and disregarding ones exercised by women, therefore our perception of “what constitutes design?” has been truly distorted by the biased communication. The question is how and if can we re-write it or maybe we need to coin new terminology? @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #postpatriarchy #womendesigners #language #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork #designpatriarchy
In order to understand better the Design Patriarchy, we have to look at the hierarchisation of creative disciplines from the feminist perspective. Women within the patriarchy are assigned the domestic roles of mothers, daughters, lovers, housekeepers or cleaners, therefore their creative activities historically could seldom happen outside of the household walls. Women couldn’t access the means of industrial production, and had to focus on the techniques available in their surroundings. Most of these techniques were crafting and involved weaving, ceramics, paper-cutting etc. These fields were assigned to women creators, since within the patriarchal view, women are ¨naturally¨ predisposed to these “organic” fields. The fact that women were meant to create objects which interact with the body such as clothing, textile, ceramics, also shows the gender-biased perspective, according to which, women are perceived through their physicality, and are attributed sex-specific skills. Men, on the other hand, are agents, planning, specifying, using the industry, they are "designers, architects", women are only makers, artisans. The division between craft and design has to be interpreted as a gender-biased one, which categorised some areas as “feminine” (ceramics, textile, dressmaking) thus inferior, and others - superior as “masculine”. Progress didn’t come even with Bauhaus. Even though Walter Gropius claimed to open the doors of Bauhaus in Weimar for both sexes, women still were forced to study the “feminine” fields. Many of women designers at Bauhaus such as Gertrude Arndt, Annelise Fischmann Albers, Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp, achieved groundbreaking innovations in textiles, but the names mostly associated and praised with the movement are those of men architects and designers. How come a progressive-designwise school like Bauhaus, was also a very misogynist one? @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #domesticdesign #womenmakers #womendesigners #bauhaus #textile #postpatriarchy #menstruation #tampon #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
Denise Scott Brown, architect, designer and urban planner, who was denied Pritzker Award, as the jury granted it only to her husband, wrote in “Room at the Top?": “In these deductions, my thinking parallels that of Cynthia F. Epstein, who writes that elevation within the professions is denied women for reasons that include “the colleague system”, which she describes as a men’s club, and “the sponsor-protege relationship, which determines access to the highest levels of most professions”. Epstein suggests that the high-level sponsor would, like the kingmaker critic, look foolish if he spooned a female and in any case, his wife would object. “ Design patriarchy is indeed a men’s club, but it should be analysed also through its very physical manifestations. Charles-Eames Street at the entrance to Vitra compound in Weil-am-Rhein is a physical manifestation of the status quo. It points the glass-ceiling for women designers, and use the communication means to broadcast its power. After each regime change, the material manifestations of the previous power were removed or re-designed, street names changed, school handbooks re-written. We have to think about the ways in which we can shape the post-patriarchy and try to re-define design using the feminist theory. @depatriarchisedesign @vitra #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign#designpatriarchy #redefinedesign #womenmakers #womendesigners #stardesigners #postpatriarchy #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork

ABOUT THE FORMAT

Since its formation in 2011 Depot Basel has aimed to encourage and open up up the ongoing discussion about contemporary design. The most recent initiative in this endeavor is Net-work: a format where we invite designers, non-designers, theorist and practitioners to use our Instagram- account to interfere with the contemporary design discourse from their own perspective on our Instagram we are extending our methods to do so.

Contributors
Maya Ober

Designer
Related
Anais Bloch & Nicolas Nova

Net-Work

Annika Frye

Net-Work

Dieuwertje Luitse

Net-Work

Emma Lucek

Net-Work

Jing He

Net-Work

Katrin Krumm

Net-Work

Krystof Pyda

Net-Work

Mathieu Bujnowskyj

Net-Work

Max Frischknecht

Net-Work

NET – Work

Net-Work

Romain Cazier

Net-Work

Sander Molenaar

Net-Work