The Declaration of Improvisation

The Unanimous Declaration of the Improvisors of Design

Declaration of Improvisation

In Boston, April 10, 2015

When in the Course of design, it becomes necessary for each designer to independently dissolve the fears which have disrupted their creative process, and to assume among the powers of the individual designer, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Improvisation and The Moment entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of other designers requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these improvisational experiments to be self-explored, that all materials are created equal, that they are endowed by their Designer with certain improvised realities, that among these are Perpetual Curiosity, Material Liberation and the pursuit of an Improvised Life. — That to secure these realities, an insatiable curiosity for discovery is instituted among Designers and in their design process, deriving their just powers from the consent of The Moment, — That whenever any Form of improvisational experiment becomes monotonous of these ends, it is the Right of the Improviser to alter or to liven it, and to institute new Improvisational Experiments, laying its material experience on such principles and performing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Curiosity and Expressiveness. Patience, indeed, will dictate that Experiments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath failed, that improvising designers are more disposed to suffer of repeated failures, while defeats are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are comfortable. But when a long train of forced failures and spontaneities, pursuing invariably the same predictable result evinces a design process to reduce them under absolute power and control, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such an Experiment, and to provide new guidelines to improvise within for their future improvisational means. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these improvisational methods; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Design Process. The history of the typical design process is a history of uninteresting, repeated efforts, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the state of the process.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid audience: He has not experienced foreign materials. He does not see beauty in failure. He does not appreciate spontaneity. He cannot see with his hands. He does not find value in experimenting. He will not allow events to change him. He has no sense of process. He has not embraced humor. He does not take time to listen carefully. He cannot laugh at himself. He will not make mistakes. He keeps an orderly studio. He only works on a computer. He will not take the time to slow down. He thinks before he acts. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our improvisational efforts, and giving his assent to their acts of an assumed successful effort of a design process. For not honing his craft. For not following and exploring gut instincts. For abolishing enjoyment through the process of play. For using the same monotonous process. For not experimenting with color. For an unimprovised design process. For not observing the world around him. For not noticing his environment. For shitty storytelling. For not documenting, recording, process. For not designing intuitively. For not breaking outside of the grid. For not designing for the unexpected. He is guilty of depriving others of collaborative efforts.

In every stage of these creative Oppressions We have Petitioned for a more improvised design process in the most humble terms: Our repeated failures are to occur in our favor. A designer whose character is thus marked by every non-act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free design process.

We have reminded them of the circumstances of our process and settlement to improvise. We have appealed to their native conformity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice of improvisational experimentation. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of the unimprovisors, Enemies of Process.

We, therefore, the Improvisors of the Planet Earth, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of Excellent Design, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Improvisors are, and of Right ought to be Free and Improvising Designers; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the monotonous design process, and that all connection between them and the unimprovisors, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Improvising Designers, they have full Power to levy unpredictabilities, conclude evermore experiments, contract Alliances, establish a free form design process, and to do all other Curiosities and Things which improvising designers may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the divine act of Improvisation, we mutually pledge to each other our design process, our familiar and unfamiliar materials, and our sacred Honor to improvise more.

The Declaration of Improvisation physically lives as a 2 x 6" silkscreen piece. It was displayed at and signed by the audience of Zero + Two = One, a Master of Fine Arts Graphic Design Thesis show at Boston University on April 10, 2015.