A design and research studio based in Amsterdam, Metahaven, designed a beautiful range of WikiLeaks scarves and T-shirt, which were auctioned to support work of WikiLeaks during the financial blockade. The scarves were first developed as a contribution to the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011, held in Gwangju, Korea. Although the auction has ended, the scarves are on display at the MOTI Museum of the Image in The Netherlands.
About the design inspiration, Metahaven said, “… Things very political, like WikiLeaks, eventually boil down to a global visual culture that filters it in the form of products. In the bazaar, with street sellers, amidst fake Louis Vuitton bags and Che Guevara t-shirts, you might at some point expect to find back WikiLeaks. And eventually, purchasing products from them is one model of support. The idea for the scarves emerged intuitively. Like WikiLeaks, they combine transparency and opacity. WikiLeaks is an organization that is not very transparent about itself. The scarves speak to this. A scarf is a garment which can be used in various ways. It can be used as a mask, or as a veil. It speaks to anonymity as much as to transparency. Some of the scarves feature camouflage patterns.”
WikiLeaks played a transformative role in the global political sphere in 2011. When I passed by Occupy London at St Paul’s cathedral, print-outs of WikiLeaks covered the tents and columns of adjacent buildings, changing the usual landscape of central London.