Insegnamento a.a. 2011-2012



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLEACC (6 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  L-ART/06)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

The main goal of the "Design is Manipulation" course is to expose the students to a number of key case studies, referring to some of the most interesting dynamics of transformation of contemporary design, to understand the apparent (and the invisible) connections, to show various projects from their final result going backward all the way to the making of, the behind the scenes.

In our world design is a commodity: to observe the transformation of the discipline, to understand its reasons and the tacit rules. We also compare what is happening in different global cities where design is one of the main actors in the redefinition of the perception of reality.

The students are also exposed to design in a very practical way: each of them is asked to design and feed a thematic blog, a useful exercise to understand the basic principles of the discipline in a very direct way.


Course Content Summary

The title of this class is taken from a quote by the German artist Joseph Beuys: "Everything is manipulation". Sometimes this is good. Since we don’t deal about everything but about design, the original quote becomes: "Design is Manipulation".

An introduction to contemporary design interpreted upon its multiple layers of meaning. To show students how this informal galaxy works, when design quit its fancy object status to infiltrate every possible area of our everyday life.
What are the most relevant transformations (from product to all kind of service-based system), and why these transformations happened and are happening.
Design and its narrative features. The nature of this contemporary narrations that are transforming and re-defining  (in an analogue and digital way) what we intend for reality.
The main themes of the course are:

  • There is no solution because there is no problem (young generations and culture)
  • Introduction to contemporary design
  • About the concept of multiverse
  • Design in the age of low-cost
  • Design for/with communities

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

The final exam is written and it consists of two parts: a multiple-choice test related to the lessons in class (50%) and an essay related to the blog exercise (50%). The exam is the same for the students who are regularly present in the class and those who are absent.

No partial exam is scheduled, but each lesson has a section given to comparison, starting from students' blog on-line.

Here the link to the students’ blog of last year class:


The exam is about the articles and essays published by Stefano Mirti (related to the above mentioned themes). All these materials are linked to the website of the course.

Last year course website:

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


This class does not need previous knowledge on the topic. Still, the habit of reading a newspaper on a daily base generally helps. The students are asked to keep an on-line blog during the course. In the first class we explain how to run and manage a blog for those who don't know.
Last change 30/06/2011 10:10