In this post-digital era, reality and fiction have been diluted. The expression of this lack of definition isn’t limited to just creative and artistic endeavours, but is often weaponized by various power structures, whether formal or informal. This instrumentalization deconstructs core values such as democracy, individual and collective identity, ethnicity, and other fundamental principles of our society.
Before this current and desirable identity crisis, design always worked with and for reality. Its objects belong, circulate, and (re)construct reality. The frailty of the majority of communication design objects also contributes to this idea of a practice that serves the present. In short, the inevitable shock with reality defines the social status of design. If design and reality is a (false) truism, design and fiction might appear to be an improbable hypothesis. In the face of historical, legitimized practices—such as literature or cinema—design now reclaims its place in fiction.
At the end of another cycle of study in communication design at the Faculty of Fine Arts (University of Lisbon), we have gone over the dilemmas, the contradictions and the themes that pertain to contemporaneity. Through the projects produced this year, the students have either commented, critiqued or essayed reality, or turned it into fiction. We’ve steered very close to cinema, literature, mythology, but also to the hard truths of a reality that insists on presenting itself, suprising us, and deconstructing itself before our eyes.