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10x10 Hyphen-Labs

10x10 Hyphen-Labs Design Connections 10x10 2019: Hyphen-Labs

Design Connections 10x10 2019: Hyphen-Labs

3 September 2019

Hyphen-Labs is an international collective using speculative design to break existing boundaries that we encounter daily. Read on to find out more.

Tell us about yourself or your practice.

Hyphen-Labs is an experience design studio based at Somerset House in London. Co-Founded by Ece Tankal and Carmen Aguilar y Wedge in 2014, Hyphen-Labs uses design and art as a tool to exercise rebellion and freedom from restrictions and the status-quo.  Equipped with a digital toolkit, a maker mentality and mixed with a quirky sense of humor we create projects that respond to the constraints of our present world using speculative design to imagine alternative worlds and narratives.

What are you working on at the moment?

We have recently been selected as the Tate Exchange 2019 Lead Artists, kicking off a year of work that responds to the theme of Power. Our installation, “Higher Resolution,” offers a space for collaborative making and learning about policy, development, and implications of technology, artificial intelligence and dataism.  We are living in a “connected” reality, but many of us have a limited digital literacy. “Higher Resolution” aims to uncover some of the nuances of technology by using social physical spaces as a metaphor for our digital platforms. Launching at the Tate Exchange September 17-29, “Higher Resolution” will host art works, discussions, workshops and performances that question the ideas of omnipresence, behavior, technology and society. 

What key issues are you addressing with your work? / What impact do you hope to see through your work? / Why is design important? (feel free to answer one, or all!)

We created Hyphen-Labs so we could have our own space to learn, think and create collaboratively.  We come from different places, cultures, and realities and design gives us a common language to express and investigate our curiosities. We’re 80’s babies and grew into adults without and with iphones, personal computers and technological solutions. Our work departs from main-stream narratives and emerging technologies allow us to explore our own identities, value and intersections.  We are always learning and we see design as a bridge into our minds. 

Tell us about something you’ve seen that’s inspired you recently? /Tell us about something you’ve worked on that’s made you feel proud.

Our strength comes from our differences and we find inspiration in dualities: the ordinary & the bizarre, the local & global, laughter & pain, life & death. As transplants, outsiders, and ‘others,’ we find common ground with 3rd cultures & 3rd spaces. As daughters, above all we are inspired by our past & future grandmothers, mothers, sisters and children.  

The 2019 USA Artist cohort and makers who create outside of the digital frame are all incredibly talented, inspiring and kind individuals.  Some of the most inspiring work that we saw this year came from the artists who protested and removed their work from the Whitney Biennial prompting the resignation of Warren B. Kanders, a tear-gas & warfare manufacturer from the Institution. Art & Artists have power, we have a voice & we can create change.

We also learned that sea urchins can move each spine individually, how crazy is that!?! 

What is the role of design in addressing/ communicating global issues? What are the challenges you face in communicating your work to a global audience? How do you approach inclusivity and accessibility in your work? (please answer one or all!)

As designers we are responsible for creating inclusive futures.  We construct environments, objects, images and meaning that influences our interactions, well-being and our relationships with each other and non-human beings. We work collectively and endeavor to be the batteries of the flash-light on our path to the future. For us, that future incorporates diverse perspectives, listens, creates and celebrates with those who want to rise up, together.