This design makes you think differently about the refugee crisis

Dutch designer Ruben Pater is a ‘visual journalist’

This is Ruben Pater, he is a Dutch designer and thinker, working on the leading edge of graphic design and journalism. You might know him from this well-read opinion piece on Dezeen or this one on Co.Design. In above video he tells more about his motives, his design and the role of the designer in society.

Pater wants to tell complex geopolitical stories as a visual reporter. A lot of these stories are not brought to the attention enough, especially the current refugee crisis. By translating these stories to images, he tells a different story than you hear in the mainstream media.

For example, in this video he says:

There was a boy in Pakistan who was flown to the United States to testify before Congress. He told them he no longer liked blue skies. He said this because the drones don’t fly if it’s cloudy. If skies are blue, they are out there but he can’t see them. But he can hear them all the time.
I think this is something we fail to realize. When we think about surveillance
we may think: it’s okay if there are a few drones flying over Pakistan or Afghanistan to look for possible terrorists. You don’t realize that you’re actually invading a country and terrorizing its population.
Still from: Gonçalo F. Cardoso & Ruben Pater, Afraid of Blue Skies, 2016. Now on view in Design Column #13 ‘Migration Matters 2’, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

This idea is manifested in the video with drone soundscape Afraid of Blue Skies (2016, with Gonçalo F. Cardoso). This work is one of the works shown this summer in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Also in view in Design Column #13 ‘Migration Matters 2’ is the immersive wallpaper Patterns of Power (2011), alongside the Borders of the World notebooks (2011–2013).

Ruben Pater, Patterns of Power, Wallpaper of the Spain-Morocco fence, 2011. On view in Design Column #13 in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Photo: Ernie Buts. © Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Design Column is a social design exhibition series in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. It is since 2012 a place where new ideas are made visible, where the power of imagination is given expression. Designers and artists are especially interested in experimental imagination. With their idiosyncratic vision, they see things differently and are capable of bringing about change. Design Column creates a space for these innovative concepts.