Design is made for societies. Therefore, it is essential for designers to know how societies, but also the individuals who create society, live and think. The series “The Bigger Picture” is dedicated to social developments and contexts that are relevant for design thinking and acting. So far, this has been done with film material on the question of poverty as an economic resource in Africa, on the work of cartels in Mexico and the USA, and on creative explosions in the German provinces.
The series continues with a film that drills into our sofa from below: what are we actually sitting on so comfortably? Where does the wealth in the Western world come from? How and at whose expense did it come about?
At the end of the 19th century, Europe, under German leadership, arranged to invade an entire continent: Africa. Colonies, including German ones, came into being. The colonies have now nominally disappeared, but the plundering continues to this day.
The documentary film “The Colonial Misunderstanding” (Jean-Marie Teno, Cameroon, 2004) sheds less light on the military operations, but all the more on the missionary operations, i.e. the intellectual campaigns by which the indigenous black population was pushed into the status from which they are still trying to fight their way away: being second-class human beings. Certainly, this is more than the Aborigines in Australia have been granted: they were considered animals by law until the 1960s. However, 2nd class people are also already decidedly degraded in many ways, most recognizably in political systems like apartheid. How did this come about? What role did missionaries play in this? And what does all this have to do with our world today and our sofa?