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Clearing Service

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Description of campaign/project

Advertising uses storytelling to promote their products. On daily basis we are being reassured commodities are personification of our dreams and needs. This approach is grounded at the level of unconsciousness where complex and vulnerable human nature is being manipulated. Supposed triumph of the self, is actually based on enslaving, stimulating and controlling individuals by entangling them into a complex web of media and new technologies. We express ourselves through commodities rather than some more traditional technological means and modes of discovering the truth about the world and ourselves. We continue under the veil of modern technology driven by basic desires while a sense of fulfillment unfolds through understanding of the meaning of our being.
The objective of the Clearing Service was to turn the system against itself, in a playful and ludicrous way, by employing a new un-commercial message into the world of advertising. The critique lurking beneath the surface of a sleek laboratory was our Détournement technique to subvert the destructive order of things that media supports.

Our approach is form of multi-method. As much as we chose to disrupt commercial world by airing an advert with a non-commercial message we have created a platform which consists of a website, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. The website is a base to our movement where we have published all of our concerns and outcomes. Website is also linked to a blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter pages. Both blog and Facebook support further research based on the idea similar to a culture probing. We encourage contribution by anyone interested by setting up tasks. The first submission of photographs interrogated what clutters your lives. Also our intention regarding the Facebook page is to provoke conversations and participation in planning our future interventions. The main objective of the interventions is to encourage participation by the whole. As much as we are open for suggestions we hope to create larger flash mobs as the movement grows. So far we mostly aimed at disrupting the consumer culture. One was through dance-at the shopping mall where we literally diverted shoppers attention away from shopping, another one through designating a space for meaning – while holding hands with strangers at the consumerist heart of London – Oxford Circus.
As a comment on peoples gullibility and inspired by the idea of the McGUFFIN, an object of desire and a plot device, we have created the ‘NOW 00:00’. The ‘NOW 00:00’ represents retro-futuristic, highly advanced technological device that provides its users with instant clearing from all irrelevant things in their life. The name refers to the Heideggerian moment of clearing. Clearing is a form of disclosure and space for reflection or something new to come. The idea behind the McGuffin was to comment on the world where everything is instantly at hand thus taken for granted. It is a comment of the world where we are easily tricked into thinking that new technologies will provide quick fix for all our problems and bring back meaning in our life.

What we believe is most beneficial in terms of our approach is the fact that as much as we provoke consideration by radical and stultifying comments (via advert and MacGuffin) we also enable participation and contributions as we believe the difference could be made only through cooperation and united forces.

During this project we have realised that our life is narrated by the external factors that contribute to the way we perceive and situate ourselves in the world. Scenarios we encounter are written by environments, cultures as well as ubiquitous media and politics, which in a sense conditions our engagement with the world. In so called age of new technology products and devices have an impact on many areas of our existence. According to Heidegger's point of view on the essence of technology – it is a potential danger as it restricts our own understanding of being.

“We humans do not simply extend ourselves and our will via technology but technology now extends itself through us - we think it serves us but more and more we serve it.” (Fry 2011:56)

As a group we were mostly concerned about ruthless sophistication of media and modes of production of desires. We have learnt an extend to which media narrates commodities into our daily lives. We are being convinced that this new model of living opens up new ways of expression within the society and liberates the self, while all it results in is compulsive consumption. This process is one of the pillars of our democracy and the capitalist system.

“Industrial capitalism diverted people's desires away from the natural love of nature, creativity, and fresh air, into 'sham wants' which it could more easily satisfy” (Gauntlett 2011:39).

Modern technocratic and industrial societies functioning within the contemporary capitalist system has themselves been reduced to just objects that are to be used and exploited. Calculation and market value thus overshadows an actual nature of our being in the world and this process has to be prevented.


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Entry details


Clearing Service


In the search of meaning

Concept author(s)

Maja Grakalic, Malgorzata Rachocka, Negar Rahimi, Iva Serikova

Concept author year(s) of birth

1981, 1986, 1980, 1988

Concept author(s) contribution

We are all the coauthors of the "Clearing Service" project


United Kingdom (Great Britain)

Competition category


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

University of London / Goldsmiths University / MA Design Critical Practice