Design is made for societies. Therefore, it is essential for designers to know how societies, but also the individuals who create society, function. The series “The Bigger Picture” is dedicated to social developments and contexts that are relevant for design thinking and acting. This is done by means of filmic material on the question of poverty as an economic resource in Africa as well as on the work of cartels in Mexico and the USA.


The Bigger Picture II: Narco Cultura I


The fact that drugs can form, shape and even determine a culture should have become clear at the latest with Psychedelic. But drugs are also able to form, shape, and even determine cultures in a completely different way: A city divided by a border provides two images: In Juarez, about 8.5 people are murdered per day; in El Paso, sometimes not even as many – per year. Juarez has thus been able to earn the title of the most murderous city in the world, while El Paso is the safest city in the United States. This, too, is part of the Narco Cultura, the culture of drugs that the cartels have built up. How do they affect the lives of Mexicans and U.S. citizens on the border? How is it possible to live in this extreme situation? How does it shape, mold, even determine life? Is there an afterlife or is the extreme situation total? Is there an extreme capitalism behind this extreme situation?
Afghanistan has managed – thanks to the presence of NATO troops and Western intelligence services? – to expand its world market share of opium production from 5-10% to over 90% in ten years. Is the same extreme capitalism at work here as in Mexico/USA? Has narco cultura long since become a global phenomenon?