Tool #4: Subverting failure

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In his book The queer art of failure, Jack Halberstam considers some effective ways of being, knowing and practicing that stand outside the conventional understandings of success. Halberstam argues that “while failure certainly comes accompanied by a host of negative affects, such as disappointment, disillusionment, and despair, it also provides the opportunity to use these negative affects to poke holes in the toxic positivity of contemporary life.” He thus extends an invitation to recognise that success is not so much a result of a positive attitude and ‘trying and trying again’, but much more a result of “titled scales of race, class and gender.”

Here are a few initial questions to help get going with subverting conventional notions of failure and success:

a) If I fail to stick to the norms that define success within the field of design, how – and together with whom – could I construct my own parameters?

b) Could I affirm myself by going with my design practice beyond what is valued by the market, clients, design magazines and a heteronormative society?

c) How would this affirmation shift the sense of what it means to succeed or fail?

d) Would I perhaps venture into other fields, such as education, social work, activism, economics, philosophy or hacking?

Last edit: 08.12.2014