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Design is more interesting when it is driven by intent and urgency, rather than the wish to tickle the appetites of shoppers of products. Medical and military objects, or those formed in the face of material shortages, or in response to the release of a new technique, tend to have a surprising logic and a true inventiveness that comes from situations where preconceptions are wasteful luxuries. No one would have come up with something as luminously odd as an x-ray or a submarine unless they really had to.
The same is true of the banners, balustrades and stranger devices used in protest, where there is an unequal balance of resources between protesters and whatever authorities they are opposing. There is the added factor that there is a kinship between artistic and political discontent: a similar urge lies behind the wish to reinvent things and reinvent society. “Our world is in dire need of… creative maladjustment,” said Martin Luther King. “To disobey in order to take action”, according to the philosopher Gaston Bachelard, “is the byword of all genuine creative spirits.”