Enzo Mari: Barcelona Manifesto

Notes by the author

Dear Catalan Government’s Counsellor for Culture, while producing the materials for the exhibition I tried to be consistent with the reason why I was awarded with the Barcelona Disseny (“in 2000 your professional route and your contribution to the culture of objects can offer an opportune reflection on the state of design today”).

But the extent and complexity of the problems this motivation implies go far beyond the work of one artist. I therefore thought it was important—now that we are symbolically entering the new millennium—to take advantage of this opportunity to share with you and the public—including students, architects and the other workers—my reflections in the classic and yet synthetic form of a Manifesto that I’ve decided to call Barcelona Manifesto.

Barcelona Manifesto

The utopising tension of the origins of design must be recovered. If this is the allegory of a possible transformation, then it should reach as many people as possible. Those people who build our environment in a state of alienation and thus remain partially responsible for its transformation. 

The mechanisms lead by the IT revolution are presently devouring all ideas to vomit sellable goods. 

To begin with, in the next decades we must find the right ways to isolate from this redundancy the transformation ideas. In order to achieve that we must separate them from all those ideas that are generated by irresponsible anarchies that deny and trivialise the drive towards the utopia, thus making it impossible to get people involved. 

In the meanwhile, it might be worth generalising the idea that every project works towards ethics (which can be compared to the Hippocratic Oath.)

January 1999

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