Benevolent Anger, part 1

Abhishek Chatterjee

For a first timer in Futureplaces, there was much to like. The fervour of the organizers was clearly evident from the beginning, and the passion and excitement trickled down to us catalysts in our own ventures. My group and I were a small segment of the digital and media arts festival – the food side of things – and perhaps among the more  divergent subjects of the lot, but we somehow managed to squeeze in, pots, pans and all. It was as analog as it could get, and the Utopian Meal Plan finally found its way to the world.

As I see, there will be a lot written about our learning and outcome in the foreseeable future on these very pages, so I’ll allow myself to dear-diary a bit, just for this time. At Futureplaces I came across a fascinating term ‘benevolent anger’ (Alvelos, 2014), and that is something I think puts into perspective the soul of this multi-faceted festival.

What do I think of benevolent anger? When I heard it for the first time, I imagined an exasperated mother trying to gently admonish an errant child, safe in the knowledge that she knows better. Almost immediately came an internal rebuttal – this is Futureplaces, and we are in the lair of Anti-Fluffy, the non-conformist dragon. Are we to assume sides with the mother in upholding somewhat debatable values of our society, or with the errant child who may have popped a mint in a cola bottle just to see what happens? I see the mother in our university logos printed on the posters and flyers – symbols that beam as beacons of our systems’ success. And then there is Anti-Fluffy, who with its anomalistic charm, seems to nudge us to give a chance to chaos, just to see what happens.

(more to come)

Abhishek Chatterjee is a PhD student in Design at the University of Porto.