Nadine Botha


Department: Design Curating and Writing

Politics of Stuff

Osteria – Restaurant
Via Crespi, 14

In Politics of Stuff, a Friday breakfast discussion features three invited speakers who address questions inspired by Nadine Botha’s research into how the camping toilet — a leisure accessory elsewhere — became a powerful symbol of continued apartheid in her hometown of Cape Town. “My research into how this transformation took place revealed that objects, and the supply and maintenance chains around them, can make visible otherwise unseen infrastructures and systems of oppression,” she says. “The designed environment around us seems to be of our own making, yet it actually shapes us — both as designers and users. We design our tools once, and then the tools design us.”

For the discussion in Milan, she has selected a range of objects available in the stores along Via Crespi that raise interesting questions about how things inform our reality — the “politics of stuff,” as she calls it. The Lycamobile shop, for example, offers SIM cards for migrant workers, so that they can call home. How do these seemingly innocent objects influence our shared ideas about belonging and family? Then there’s the kitchen appliance store that sells classic goods by Miele: how do these readily available items compare with the futuristic kitchen objects on show nearby at the Salone, and what do they say about each other? Politics of Stuff investigates how objects acquire their (often hidden) levels of influence and meaning.

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven

Venu Photograph(s): Nicole Marinati