Mahmoud Small


What Forms of Politics Are Possible Through Design Today?, recorded with Mahmoud Keshavarz in New York on April 15, 2014

In this conversation, Mahmoud Keshavarz and I talk about our common interest for the way the designed environment (in particular objects) unfolds a violence to the bodies that it hosts, as well as the potential political actions that can be undertook through design. Mahmoud’s work being particularly focused on the facilitated or obstructed fluxes of migration, we discuss at length the politics of objects that regulate them, the passport in particular, but also the charter flight that implements the expulsion of a body from a given territory. We speak of the regime of invisibility of the violence in which the so-called democratic systems function as a tacit agreement between the recognized citizens and the state authority. Finally, Mahmoud evokes the figure of the passport forger as the true disruptive entity within this system, in all its ambiguity, and the relationships of power (s)he reconstruct.

Mahmoud Keshavarz is a design researcher with a BA in industrial design from Azad University of Tehran and an MFA in Experience Design from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a PhD candidate and teacher in design at the School of Arts and Communication (K3) of Malmö University, Sweden. His current research with preliminary title of Tracing Un-: design, undocumentedness and possibilities of politics focuses on possibilities of politics through design actions and enactments in the particular situation of statelessness and undocumentedness. Currently he is a visiting scholar at The School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons The New School for Design in NYC.