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Activism and design in Italy
Author: Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.

Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

later. Julie’s only son, Marcel Siesel, who was involved in the French Resistance, had been captured and executed by the Nazis during the war. hH Another German in Manchester, arriving by way of a different kind of history than my father’s, was the footballer Bert Trautmann. Rather fancifully, I like to think he may somehow have been connected with the artist Fritz Trautmann, born of German parents in Wisconsin, and a member of Kathleen McEnery’s circle in Rochester. Her fascinating portrait of him is in the Memorial Art Gallery there. But I have absolutely no

in Austerity baby
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

‘vous’ (plural, or polite form – so not Eri to Leonie), it must be Leonie’s telegram to her family. Is it possible that this is my cousin, Marcel Siesel, who was in the French Resistance? Marcel was the son of Julie – my father’s cousin whom we visited in 1953 and who is standing behind me in that photograph. The same Julie who, I later found out, my cousin Marlyse lived with for a time in exile in Thionville. She was married to a doctor, Proper Siesel, and Marcel was their only child. I don’t know what Marcel’s activities were in the Resistance, but he is recorded as

in Austerity baby
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

, and whose lives I’d love to know more about. His father’s cousin Emma (sister of Julie, the mother of Marcel who died in the French Resistance) was single, and lived with her widowed sister, and her sister-in-law in her later years. It was with them that my cousin Marlyse lived, in France, as a young girl in the 1930s. Emma is on the right in this photograph from 1953 (and I am in front, with Julie’s hand on my shoulder). More mysterious, and a generation earlier, is Emma’s aunt Minette Levy (1845–1919), my father’s great-aunt, oldest of nine siblings, whose grave I

in Austerity baby
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Design, activism and precarity
Ilaria Vanni

its beginnings, the debate on precarity flourished in cultural and artistic settings rather than in more traditional social and political contexts.26 Maurizio Lazzarato demonstrated that in France, resistance to precarisation was at first successfully organised by workers in the performing arts and culture. This movement also put forward a process of indemnification that would cover all temporary (intermittents et précaires, intermittent and precarious) workers. One of the intermittents’ slogans, ‘no culture without social rights’, summarised the entanglement of the

in Precarious objects
Parameters of Jewish identity
Joseph McGonagle

to be twinned symbolically with the memory of a child killed during the Holocaust, and a year earlier the proposed annual reading in French lycées of the last letter written by Guy Môquet, the 17-year-old French communist militant executed in 1941 and historically seen as a symbol of the French Resistance. Although greeted by some as important contributions to France’s ongoing devoir de mémoire, for others such initiatives reeked of political opportunism by Sarkozy, whose proposals were seen by critics as tantamount to a political instrumentalisation of history

in Representing ethnicity in contemporary French visual culture
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Autonomy and autoeroticism
Abigail Susik

to emerge more concretely when compared with the many representations Domínguez made of sewing machines and seamstresses in paintings throughout his career, and especially in the 1940s. By then, Domínguez moved away from surrealism and worked under the influence of Pablo Picasso and Paul Éluard, who both remained close to the PCF after the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation of Paris and were no longer affiliated with Breton’s group. 37 Domínguez’s contributions to surrealism as the organiser of the

in Surrealist sabotage and the war on work