Call for Proposals: UnDesign

Editor: Dr Gavin Sade, Dr Gretchen Coombes and Professor Andrew McNamara
Affiliation: Urban Modernities Research Group, Queensland University of Technology
Title: UnDesign: Critical practices at the intersection of Art and Design.
Dates: To be published in late 2014, publisher not yet confirmed
Deadline for Abstracts: 31 May 2013


Undesign is calling for submissions from researcher, curators, theorists as well as practicing designers and artists, for an edited text to be published in late 2014 – early 2015.

Traditionally, design has been placed in a framework that emphasizes its utility over aesthetic or other non-functional considerations. UnDesign seeks to document new developments in design that connect with science, engineering, biotechnology and hactivism, which operate at the intersection of art and design.  Often confounding and speculative, these practices exist outside mainstream commercial design and share many traits with contemporary art. “Undesigning” practices aim to undo the complex designed world by revealing how human designing implicitly structures our world.

UnDesign will examine the ideas, speculations and practices that constitute this burgeoning new field of practice that unravels design’s traditional definitions and assumptions in order to develop a very different concept of design practice in the 21st century.  The publication aims to combine essays with the presentation of significant works of art and design. It will focus on practices that:

  • occur at the intersection of art and design;
  • engage with “our” contemporary real/digital “life world” in a critical manner;
  • operate as provocative interventions within design thinking and the design environment;
  • combine practice and research as well as text, action and object;
  • have redirective design intentions.

“Design must put in doubt its search for all such often well-intentioned design solutions or self-deconstructions, to open the way to explore, discover, uncover, and expose the hidden dimensions of lived experience.” Krysztof Wodiczko, Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects and Interviews, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press,1999


UnDesign is calling for submission from researchers, curators, theorists as well as practicing designers and artists. Submissions should address the outline above and respond to the following thematic:

‣ Genealogical explorations: Speculative Futures and Alternate Pasts—directions and untold histories that situate critical art/design in a lineage of practice, explaining the conditions that have led to current Undesign practices.

‣ Deconstructive, reordering and redirective readings—expositions of the current condition of design outlining the significance of critical art/design approaches.

‣ Disruptive, strange and redirective experiences—writings as well as speculative, critical design and artistic projects.

The first part in this process is that we are inviting abstracts of 100-200 words detailing your proposed contribution. All abstracts will be reviewed and selected authors will be invited to submit full chapters.   Inclusion in the final published text will be based on outcomes of an academic peer review process.

Editors: Dr Gavin Sade, Dr Gretchen Coombs, Dr Andrew

Please submit abstracts by the 31st of May 2013 either via email to:, or by using the web form at the following URL:

For more information please contact the editors


About gminusone
Gavin is a designer in the field of interactive computational media, with a background in music and sonology. Gavin Sade has a Bachelor of Music (Sonology) from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Gavin has been creating interactive media systems since 1990 when he began working with electronic music band Vision 4/5 and later with Keith Armstrong and the Transmute Collective. Gavin has a PhD in interactive media arts and sustainability. He is currently Head of Interaction and Visual Design at the Queensland University of Technology. Gavin formed the design studio, Kuuki, with his partner Priscilla Bracks in 2006 and since then has lead the production of a number of electronic artworks that have been exhibited in international settings, such as the 2011 International Symposium of Electronic Art in Istanbul. Gavin's practice is guided by an ecological philosophy inspired by vegetarianism and the critical design philosophy of defuturing, and is a mix of electronic art and critical design.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: