The pigeon installation during DDW18

Bread suit Dam Amsterdam

An intervention as part of the fake pigeon campaign: the Bread Suit.

A selection of the 150 posters made for Cut the Crap.

A design research podcast by the Design Academy on the process behind the project.

Interaction with visitors during DDW18, where they could make their own posters and add them to the pile. Also, a little shop was set up with the pigeon merchandise.

An app was developed for the design of the posters: visitors could fill in what they wanted to make the campaign about and illustrate something. Then, the program would turn it around and make it into ‘this is NOT a campaign against’ and automatically print it. After, they were invited to stick it to the huge pigeon. 

A set of pins, specifically designed to spread the project and ‘ pigeon love’ .

Rules of positive populism: the self-developed design method that served as the starting point for Cut the Crap, based on research of populism and political campaigns.

Cut the Crap was exhibited during the Atlanta Design Week in June 2019. Logically, the project needed both an annual and cultural update before going there. Therefore, 60 more posters were made on American subjects. 

Atlanta Design Week, June 2019.

Cut the Crap

Elevated high above all of us, yet treated as the lowest in rank. They were praised in the Bible and played a heroic role in the World Wars. How did they end up being despised and put aside as filthy rats with wings? This is a campaign to give the pigeon the podium it deserves. Or is it?

Cut The Crap is a campaign inspired by populist parties and political campaigns. These have always been very successful at winning people for their cause. Populists master the art of communication and manipulation. So, why not learn from these experts? Therefore, Cut The Crap is full of strong, simplistic language and bright visuals. It’s absurd, empty and radical. You can easily participate. There is room for frustration but also for joy and you are given the feeling that you’re part of something. The installation consists of hundreds of posters, a 3,5 meter high pigeon with sound installation, a pigeon book and pretty souvenirs to take home.

Cut The Crap may look like a silly and over-the-top campaign about a non-issue at first sight. In reality, it is not a radical defense for the poor pigeon. It is an installation that questions polarization in societal debates. It mimicks the way many issues are blown up to an absurd size, both at the dinner table and all over the media, leading to polarized debates, where the underlying causes are put aside and left undiscussed. Cut The Crap aims to question these polarizing effects by inviting participants into an installation that is polarized in itself, – and we all get to help it grow by adding a poster to the pile. It provokes participants to jump to the other side of the fence and reflect on its effect.

This is inspired by politics, but it is not about the politicians. It is about us and our tendency to choose sides and to think dichotomously: in black or white, in red and blue, in right or wrong. Shall we cut the crap?

On show at Dutch Design Week 2018 and Design Week Atlanta 2019.