Excerpt from the curatorial statement for the Adhocracy exhibition curated by Emre Arolat and Joseph Grima at the Istanbul Design Biennial
“The convergence of instantaneously shared knowledge, the birth of countless transnational networks, new technologies of production and a collective impetus towards a culture of collaboration instead of competition suggest a new economic and political interpretation of the act of designing.
This new paradigm reveals an incipient role for design as an act of shaping society by enabling self-organization, producing platforms of exchange and empowering networks of grassroots production. The emergence of the open-source movement; the arrival of affordable micro-manufacturing technologies; the explosion of hacker and maker culture; the democratization of technology through projects like Arduino and participatory platforms such as Kickstarter—all point to an ideological shift away from established conventions of consumerism and the inception of a new understanding of design’s role within society, one in which end-users are no longer merely passive consumers but active agents. For the first time, the prospect exists of an equivalency of influence between the strategies of states or corporations and the tactics of individuals, and in response, established structures of power are quickly evolving. In many ways, design is now the theatre of a fast-moving conflict over society’s future, and the search for a new language of design is the struggle for the establishment of a new, networked commons.
Welcome to the age of adhocracy. As the opposite of bureaucracy, adhocracy cuts across accepted conventions and power structures to capture opportunities, self-organize and develop new and unexpected methodologies of production. It inhabits the horizontal, rhizomatic realm of the network, in which innovation—resourceful, subversive, anti-dogmatic, spontaneous—can come from anywhere.”