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The Rules Behind "Rules and Regulations"

Dense cofounders Lune Ames and Petia Morozov discuss what’s behind Issue 1’s “Rules & Regulations,” and why every design process needs them.

Marshall Brown, Chimera 14-03-21, 2014. Collage on paper. 17 x 14 in.

Image from New Jersey Turnpike Authority Annual Report,1973. The caption read, "Checking one of the hundreds of reflectorized signs made by the vacuum applicator at the Authority's sign shop in Hightstown."

No two design processes are alike. Depending on what factors and perspectives are put into focus, one design process can look and feel quite different from another – from informal, collaborative and transparent, to highly strategic, trademarked and opaque. It all comes down to who’s in charge of designing the design process itself, and how it’s carried out.

This flaw in how design gets done is what seeded “Rules and Regulations,” our serial feature in each issue. Our editorial team asks how are the various stakeholders considered (or not) in a design process, and how can their sense of personhood be more fully brought to bear through alternative forms of storytelling?

The first edition of “Rules and Regulations” examines the highly regulated legal space of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, by way of our conceptual go-to, the collage. This visual story spans six pages, and features works by Marshall Brown, Jarrett Martin Drake and Nelson Chan, as well as various archival images and texts, including activist Assata Shakur’s first-hand experience and artist Laurie Anderson’s experimental score in which she recites some of the stranger regulations of the same name.

The degree to which this exhaustive document dehumanizes, baffles and then motivates those subjected to its overregulation to more fully inhabit their personhood, is what intrigues us. Through this tightly woven assemblage of materials, the legal personhoods of hitchhikers, black rights activists, undocumented immigrants, day workers, transported prisoners, stranded travelers and human rights protesters come into view.

Watch and listen as Lune and Petia break things down in this unscripted conversation, while the collage pans along its entire length (all six pages). The full story, including a detailed map of the collage, can be found in Issue 1’s “Rules and Regulations.”

This short film was recorded and edited by Dense. Produced for BOOTH, PLEASE.

Booth, Please is our weekly newsletter that explores the dreams, discoveries, confrontations, and epiphanies that emerge when design meets New Jersey all set within the comforts of the world's diner capital. Subscribe below and cozy up every Sunday.


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