Erez Nevi Pana
״Man is the cruelest animal …and when he invented his hell, behold, that was his heaven on earth.״ (Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, Friedrich Nietzsche, 1891)
Five years ago, I began the process of change in my lifestyle from being a devoted carnist to becoming a fervent vegan. As a first stage, I began to change my eating practices and my diet. As a second stage, I began to question what I was wearing. Then, as a third stage, I came to question my profession, how I design. Doubts about materials I was using in my designs started to arise, and as I investigated the ingredients, I had discovered an organized system which does not mention animal ingredients, but uses euphemisms and code words that consist of substances that are hard to track. I emerged from this process more knowledgeable, but with greater doubts and questions than before.
The choice of living a vegan routine in a society that is mainly a non-vegan one affects different aspects of life, but often becomes reduced to one’s diet. When you choose to be vegan, you reconstruct by/from reduction, and not only in your diet. Choosing awareness leads to action which expands the discussion to much more than diet. A wider questioning of our blueprints, of our sense of superiority over animals and their usage for our products arises, among them our design choices. The basic materials that we use in the process of design and in the materialization of an object are reconsidered.
How long will we continue to sponsor practices with which most of us don’t associate in our own daily actions? What would be the substitutes for animal ingredients in sanding paper, glue, wood wax and paints to accomplish a design of a vegan wooden chair? Is it possible to reach the level of purity and virtue of a 100% animal-free vegan design?
This exhibition delves into vegan design. It is not about aesthetic or about function; it is a placid theory that can turn explosive. It is a trial leading a design discussion through the atrocious reality of animals concocted within our objects, and towards an alternative ethical orientation of harmony, of oneness with all animate and inanimate forms. This is a statement! The time for a shift in the legitimate contributions of the design field. But my main question remains - is it optional to define a true harmonious existence with other life forms on this planet? Maybe not Veganism, but Breatharianism is the answer for mankind.