After the Reconciliation
My design proposal is an attempt to apply communist principles to the capitalist world by developing a new design language. On 17 December 2011, North Korea leader Kim jong il died of a heart attack. This means the possibility of the unification of Korea is getting higher. North Korea is one of five remaining communist countries in the world, and operates under very different political and economic rules. As a South Korean, I’ve been constantly educated in the virtues of capitalism against communism, so I cannot avoid considering these two different systems. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, capitalism seemed to have triumphed over all other political systems. However, the German reunification has shown, after 20 years that unification by a one-sided ideology involved many mistakes. Moreover, we are now observing negative aspects of capitalism, related to materialist concepts such as social and economic inequality, high unemployment, destruction of local markets, overly standardizing products etc. I believe that communism still has valuable points. Not just for the two Korean countries, but for the wider capitalist world. By researching North Korea, I discovered communist principles, and how they can be complementary to the faults of capitalism. I tried to apply these values, such as equality, mass, repetition, difference and sameness, to design furniture. I’ve used the method of presentation of IKEA, one of most globalized companies, with a catalogue and a showroom. Basically, the two different systems, capitalism and communism, have very different opinions on materials which are deeply related with design. I hypothesized that design could integrate both ideologies. The designs consisting of communistic and capitalist elements will provide opportunities to reconcile the two Korean countries and create a common area. But more than that: the amalgamation of communism and capitalism may lead us to reconsider our present capitalist product world.
© Design Academy Eindhoven, Photo by Joost Govers