Waving a White Flag

On a global scheme, white is the sole representation of peace. It is something that many countries long for today, and after the United Nations unofficially announced the beginning of World War III, it is something that needs to change from an idea to an urgency. This was the inspiration behind Italy’s installation at the London Design Biennale. The symbolic and utopian white flag of peace was redesigned on the terms of twenty Italian designers. A world map in the installation served as the base for the new white flags, placing them on critical territories where peace is an urgency more than anything.

For each day the installation was open, a flag would be removed and replaced by an object created by the designers as a representation of urgency, emergency and truce. At the end of the Biennale, the map was covered with twenty different objects whose sole purpose was to instill a sense of urgent truce in these critical areas.

A Sociopolitical Agenda Since 1968

Italian design has long been a representation of social necessities, political unrestness, of historic forwardness and much more. Their innovative take on things is often praised; Italy moves along with the times and their design is an expression of what is happening in the world, both positive and negative. Italy’s own political issues throughout the past century have been inspiration for their design. The Venice Biennale of 1968 continues to resonate today. Back then, artists, editors, and audiences found the entrances guarded with policemen as political activists took over the national pavilions to cover the art displayed in a protest against the war.

Fast-forward to modern day and the Venice Biennale now hosts a provocative agenda which opens up the space for political and cultural debate. The 1968 events in Venice also pushed artists to explore political and social ideas in their artwork. Designers, architects and other artists started tackling the sociopolitical issues of a sickened nation, something that seemed quite evident in this year’s London Design Biennale through the Italian installation. It seems as though the social and cultural agenda of Italian emerging artists will continue to shine through, at least until the issues at hand are taken with urgency, interest and priority.