HOW CAN DESIGN BE USED AS A TOOL FOR EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NORWEGIAN STATE AND ITS CITIZENS?
What did you want to find out?
The whole project really started because I personally find it difficult to grasp this whole thing about the State. I find it odd that something so abstract can have such a profound influence on my life. You can communicate with the State, primarily by e-mail, but, personally, my primary image of the State has always been as big buildings in the city. The research question I have chosen for my project is ’How can design be used as a tool for exploring the relationship between the Norwegian state and its citizens?’ The goal of the project has been to create a meeting place, an arena for reflection on this relationship.
What have you discovered during the process?
During my project, I have focused on stories. I have looked at different types of depictions: those written by our great authors, but also the everyday stories that exist all around us. What I have discovered in the course of my project is that the State and the relationship between the State and its citizens is more nuanced than I previously assumed. The relationship also seems to be full of contradictions, an aspect that became most noticeable towards the end of the project, when I invited people to contribute descriptions of their relationship with the State.
What is the result?
I have chosen to visualise the nuances I mentioned earlier by using different types of media in the project, and then letting them merge together in an exhibition. The exhibition medium can accommodate many different opinions, and it is open and tolerant in the sense that several truths and narratives can be presented to the viewer in parallel. The exhibition shows different aspects of the relationship between the State and the citizen – everything from illegal surveillance of political activists to an Instagram presentation of the Tax Administration staff.
What significance can the project have for society?
I believe that it is important, both to individual citizens and to society at large, that the relationship between citizens and the State is highlighted in design. This particular relationship is one that you cannot choose not to have. It is there, and it is not going away. I will be very happy if my project can help to give people greater insight into this relationship and a more nuanced view of its significance.