Critique, language and strategy in Martí Guixé's "Ex-designer"
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This paper analyzes designer Martí Guixé's use of the term 'ex-designer' as a critical self-labelling strategy in the context of contemporary design. Introduced in 2001 and presented publicly in 2002 as a social tool meant to permit a widened space of professional practice, "ex-designer" constitutes an unusual case of the use of the prefix "ex" in the distinction of a cultural curent or movement. The specific use of the term by Guixé has varied over time and does not allow for interpretative consistency, though the idea of establishing a critical position with regards to mainstream or conventional design has always been maintained. This first part of this paper analyzes the critical, strategic and linguistic ramifications of Guixé's "ex-designer" in the context of his work, examining the possible motives for its genesis, its specific uses and its activist effectiveness. The second part of the paper offers a terminological and typological reflection on comparable operations of differential labelling in art and design, with special consideration for the use of the prefix "ex" in the history of modern culture.