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A Purposeful Misreading

A purposeful misreading of Arjun Appadurai’s 2006 paper, ‘The Right to Research, Globalisation, Societies and Education’. The ambition of the misreading was to interrogate how the subject of design could be considered beyond current epistemic, institutional and disciplinary demarcations, not only as a basic human capacity, but as a ‘right’ in itself.

The misreading methodology was developed initially through a purposeful misreading of Arjun Appadurai´s 2006 paper ‘The Right to Research, Globalisation, Societies and Education’, where over a number of reading sessions, we reworked and elaborated on the original text as a consequence of replacing the word “research” with the word “design” as fields and areas of expertise where applicable.

We proposed a public misreading for the 2019 PARSE conference with the intention of acknowledging Appadurai’s original contribution and foregrounding our own mutated version of his paper. To do this we developed a performative setup, including two tables where the two of us would sit facing the audience. Behind us there were two flat screen TV’s. One connected to a laptop on the right table and one connected to a camera on the left table. The performance was based on a script which included sections of the original text, read by Henric, and our misreading, read by Onkar. The camera on the left would live-feed the print of the original paper which Henric was reading from, tracing word by word with a highlighter pen, on the screen behind. The other screen featured timed visuals, texts and images accompanying the sections read by Onkar. Please see The Critical Potential of Purposeful Misreading as a Spatial Practice (2020) by Monica Sand for further insights on the spatial organisation of the performance.

The following video was subsequently recorded and first published for PARSE Journal 12, Human (2020). The intention of the recording was to translate and capture the original tone and spirit of the public misreading.

This video was recorded and first published for PARSE Journal 12, Human (2020).

Onkar Kular

is Professor of Design at HDK Valand, Academy of Art & Design and Programme coordinator for PLACE (Public Life, Arts, Critical Engagement) at the Artistic Faculty, University of Gothenburg. His research is disseminated internationally through commissions, exhibitions, education and publications. His work is in the collection of the CNAP, France, and Crafts Council, UK. He has guest-curated exhibitions for The Citizens Archive of Pakistan, Karachi, and the Crafts Council, UK. He was Stanley Picker Fellow 2016 and Artistic Director of Gothenburg Design Festival, Open Week, 2017 and Co-Artistic Director of Luleå Art Biennial 2022.

Henric Benesch

is an associate professor (docent) in Design at HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design, acting Dean at The Artistic Faculty and an associate of Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS) at the University of Gothenburg. He is an architect interested in socio-material, spatial and temporal aspects of knowledge regimes and (co-)creation of knowledge with a particular interest in situated and speculative methodologies. During 2023, together with Onkar Kular, he participated in “The Public Design Office”, an ArtInsideOut Residency in Falkenberg (SE). Recent publications include “The Right to design” (2020), “What if a 1%-rule for Public Design” (2021) and “Co-curating the city: universities and urban heritage past and future” (2022).

Onkar Kular, Henric Bennesch

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