Design Systems : Impartial Spectrum

Our installation at this year's Porto Design Biennale

19.10.2019  |  by ACED  |  General Activities

It is a pleasure to be part of this year's Porto Design Biennial in Portugal. Impartial Spectrum by ACED (Belle Phromchanya & Noortje van Eekelen) is part of Design Systems curated by Francisco Laranjo. The installation is open for public from 19 October 2019 till 15 November 2019.

Impartial Spectrum
How can a society have an informed understanding of world events? Impartial Spectrum is an exploration of news culture, in which notions of journalistic neutrality and the framing of global affairs are explored. This research project collects and compares different publication behaviours by international news media. Four subjects are selected as case studies to be presented in this iteration: climate crisis, Hong Kong protests, anti-abortion movement, and tourism. The selection is based on the subjects’ controversial and global narratives that have been covered in a wide range of forms, as well as a consequence of the engagement with both locals and visitors of Porto.

The installation of 80 prints in the main hall of São Bento metro station contains a collection of images and headlines from multiple international media sources, covering the selected cases. Impartial Spectrum presents diverse ways in which news are highlighted in the media, arranged by their tone of voice, political agenda, and local versus global narrative. It aims to reveal subtle patterns and media positioning within the seemingly objective reporting, encouraging at the same time the audience to recognise the variety of news framing in their daily news consumption.

Design Systems
Within graphic design, the concept of systems is profoundly rooted in form. When such word is invoked, it is normally related to macro and micro-typography, involving book design and typesetting, but also addressing type design or parametric typefaces, for example. Branding and signage are two domains which nearly claim exclusivity of the use of ‘systems’ in graphic design.

A series of residencies, titled Design Systems, seeked to challenge that tradition by providing a platform to investigate systems thinking in its relation to design – structure and behaviour – openly working towards a politicised understanding of its practice and theory. This series of residencies, held between May and June, took form as collaborative workshops open to a diverse public, questioning the systems that shape design and how design reinforces and feeds them in return.

Exploring a variety of lenses, from politics to media and journalism, data or economics, these residencies are exhibited in several Metrodo Porto stations. The project will form the basis of the fifth volume of Modes of Criticism.

Please find more information about the overall exhibition here.


Belle Phromchanya

Co-Founder ACED

Francisco Laranjo