We are aware that when working in multidisciplinary constellations and communicating with a variety of audiences an agreement about the meanings of the employed terms is crucial. In our activities we used existing terminologies, but we also worked with phenomena and practices, which have not found their way into common vocabularies yet, and we have instigated new discourses and perspectives. Thereby we have coined and created terms. What they mean for us and those, who work with us, is listed here.

Would you like to submit a term?
Please contact us info@depotbasel.ch

Elena Malara

Culture is the filter we use to look at and understand the world around us. Cultural production – being it art, music, literature or else – originates from observation and synthesis of the contemporaneity we live in: what it is, what it means, where it could go and what it could represent for all of us. Culture is fundamental to sharpen the political attitude and the critical approach of individuals, collectives, communities and citizens.

The term ‘Digiversatility’ addresses the ability to deal with the new form of materiality that appears for instance in 3D printers, lasercutters and CNC-Mills. These machines literally combine the formerly disparate spheres of the analogue and the digital to form a ‘new materiality’ that is found in the intersection of the abstract and the concrete, as the architectural historian Antoine Picon notes: ‘The new materiality is located at the intersection of two seemingly opposed categories, the totally abstract, based on signals and codes and the ultra-concrete, involving an acute […] perception of material phenomena and properties.’ (Antoine Picon: Digital Culture in Architecture. An Introduction for the Design Professions. Birkhäuser 2010, p. 157.) I assume that designers, inside the design process (especially when making models or prototypes) often prove an ability to deal with this new materiality. Of course, Rapid Prototyping machines are not the only examples of this phenomenon, but the most obvious.


Depot Basel

The confluence of the analogue and the digital, the natural and the artificial, the spontaneous and the programmed, the affective and the cognitive. The word ’emoditgitality’ was – in the absence of any other accurate term – created by Depot Basel on the occasion of the projects ‘Users are People’ and ‘LAN Party’.

Guy Keulemans

Hylomorphism is a concept dating back to Aristotle that distinguishes matter (hýlē) from form (morphḗ). In design, hylomorphic practice imparts form over material. For example, when clay is forced against the walls of a mould in ceramic production. While the clay has many vital and compelling qualities, such as grain, texture, elasticity and porosity, these qualities are smoothed away and made less sensible by the forming process. Hylomorphic practice exerts a dual effort: it produces with material, but it conceals the material. In the experience of hylomorphic objects, formation is perceived to be isolated, and distanced from material conditions of production. This is an ‘impoverished reality’ (Simondon, 1992: 315).

The straight walls and slabs of concrete construction are an example of hylomorphic practice, as is the obscuring of part-lines, the design of glossy mouldings, shrouds and other industrial techniques of glamour, concealment and standardisation.

Simondon, G. (1992). ‘The genesis of the Individual’, in: Crary, J. & Kwinter, S (Eds.), Incorporations (pp.297–319 ). New York: Zone Books.

For more information:
Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1987). ‘Chapter 12: 1227: Treatise on Nomadology- The War Machine,’ in: A thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, translation and foreword by Brian Massumi. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Keulemans, G. 2015. ‘Affect and the experimental design of domestic products,’ thesis, UNSW Art &Design, August 2015: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54966

Surface is a new design pillar: Form, Function + Surface. A set of points that wraps objects or interfaces, with length and breadth, but no thickness. Surface is the super thin skin we live with. A visible layer that contributes the highest value without increasing the worth of the material itself. Digital systems are increasing the plasticity of Surface, it can liberate itself from the physical matter and appeal to, or dictate any taste.

First used in the context of the release of the typeface Apax, from Optimo: ‘Here is Apax! A typographic legomenon by François Rappo that explores constructivism through a modernist lense.’ A typographic legomenon is used to describe typographic work that is a one of a kind, whose features can be clearly attributed to a specific designer. It is a play on words of the term ‘hapax legomenon,’ which is part of a method used to identify the authors of ancient texts.