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This is what we're debating here at the RSA on Wednesday next, 14 October. For those who are not au fait, here's the background to our motion:

This is what we're debating here at the RSA on Wednesday next, 14 October. For those who are not au fait, here's the background to our motion:

The word “hacking”, which originally denoted brazen trespasses into closed systems of electronic communication, increasingly invokes a broader range of stunts and sabotages of security and convention. It has also entered the argot of design criticism. The stereotypical designer – passionately authentic, famously unbending and always in black – is newly vulnerable to the interference of amateurs. The hard-won tryst between designer, manufacturer and intellectual property rights, likewise, has few defences against the open-source spirit and an internet wherein no secrets are hid.

The brave ones embrace it. While cheerful design jam sessions of professional and amateur go on in cities and design festivals all over the developed world, nothing changes in the favelas and rural villages where necessity has always been the mother of invention.

Otto von Busch “haute-couture heretic and DIY-demagogue” is coming from Sweden to present his extensive series of projects that experiment with the reverse-engineering, hacking, tuning and sharing of fashion as a form of social activism. Scott Burnham, author of a new RSA Design & Society pamphlet on design-hacking, chairs a panel discussion with fashion commentator Colin McDowell, automotive designer David Godber of the Design Council and Rector of the Royal College of Art Paul Thompson.

Is design-hacking merely an introverted chapter in the post-modern history of design, or does it reveal civic ingenuity and resourcefulness that a century and a half of industrially-fed consumerism have masked?

It's free but you need to reserve a seat at http://www.thersa.org/events

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