Touching on Anthony Dunne’s Hertzian Tales and para-functionality, we are looking at health and health care design. According to Dunne, “The prefix ‘para-’ suggests that such design is within the realms of utility but attempts to go beyond conventional definitions of functionalism to include the poetic.”
In May, the CDC launched an exercise called “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” According to the SF Examiner, “The May blog posting got 30,000 hits in one day, and it continues to draw thousands of visitors daily.”
As a way to motivate people to build an emergency kit for themselves and think through issues about preparedness and health in a crisis situation, it is a well designed event. One Ohio county ran with the idea to organize, “more than 225 volunteers in Delaware County north of Columbus … to dress as zombies Monday in a drill for officials who would deal with real-life situations involving hazardous materials and disaster response.”
While this is not a product design, it executes on the same level as other objects featured in this article, from the drinking cane to Philippe Ramette’s “Object with Which to See the World in Detail.” More kitsch than high art, this CDC exercise does nonetheless still aim to help people address health issues. As such, what it may lack in modern art aesthetics it makes up for in good will.