Open call

Techno-optimism / Techno-pessimism

The relationship between man and technology has always been complex and ambivalent. Since the very beginning and to this day, man has used technology as a tool to comprehend and form himself and his reality. Emergence of new technologies often challenges and redefines this reality, which causes a wide range of differing reactions – from resistance to excitement. While some see innovations as fulfillments of fantasies and dreams of a better life, others find them a source of fear and frustration. These two extremes, which outline the wide range of attitudes toward technology, are described in popular public discourse as techno-optimism and techno-pessimism. If techno-optimism denotes a tireless faith in the omnipotence of technology to solve even the most challenging social issues, techno-pessimism considers technology the source of a number of new social problems.

Within the scope of the subject, we are not only interested in the way in which the variety of attitudes toward technology forms the public discussion, but also in how those attitudes are reflected in forming our everyday surroundings. That is why design, which aims to answer current and future societal needs through using and designing technology, is an unavoidable place of discussion on the effects of technological solutions. Side by side with technology, which more and more intensely permeates everyday life and takes over functions that were traditionally performed by man, design takes on new areas of activity. Thus, design is no longer merely the practice of shaping objects, services and processes that fulfill our societal needs, but also a place of confrontations where, through those same objects, services and processes, the problems of their background ideological structures are questioned and uncovered. In that sense, the role of the designer is not simply to consider and design functional, innovative and rational applications of technologies in everyday life, but also the implications of their application. This means that, besides economic, sociological and political questions, the designer often also formulates questions of an ethical nature.

Through the exhibition, educational and discursive program of this year’s Plan D festival we will present the widest spectrum of design practices that deal with different views on design and using technology in designing the everyday environment. Meaning, practices and projects that perpetuate the dominant technological paradigms, but also those that question and subvert them. At the same time, we will build upon a number of other disciplines that comprise an indispensable collection of knowledge and guidelines that can shed light on the interwoven nature of everyday life and technology, but also show the ability of the design practice in articulating new approaches to the modern discourse on technology.

International exhibition of young authors

PLAN D is calling for applications to exhibit at the International Exhibition of Young Authors. The call is open to all students and young authors (under the age of 30) who recognize their work within the thematic framework of the festival – ‘Techno-optimism / Techno-pessimism’, or those authors who, in their commercial or conceptual design work, are reexamining, using and designing technology, taking into consideration its positive and negative implications.

Works desired are those that:

  • present a critical view of the existing direction of technological development
  • reexamine alternative applications of existing technologies
  • offer scenarios for alternative technological solutions
  • explore and/or demonstrate positive or negative consequences of technological devices on the quality of human life
  • in any way build upon one of the phenomena related to technology, such as: surveillance, privacy, automation, robotization, quantification ...

Any author working in the fields of interaction, product, graphic, fashion, conceptual, speculative design or other is free to apply. The Selection Committee will judge the submitted works based on the level of sophistication of their concepts. The work need not be completed – unfinished design concepts at a high degree of idea development can be submitted. Selected works will be exhibited from 27th September to 1st October 2017 as part of the Plan D festival and published in the festival catalog, on the official website and social networks, as well as included in the promotional materials for the festival.

After selecting works for the exhibition, the Plan D expert jury will select and reward the best work/project, which will receive the Plan/D special recognition.

Interested exhibitors can apply through an online application available on the festival’s official website –

Instructions for work submission:

  • Work submission deadline is 24th August 2017.
  • All works are to be submitted exclusively to the e-mail address:
  • The number of works an author or group of authors can submit is unlimited.
  • There are no submission fees.
  • The cash prize is 700€.

Download application PDF

Necessary documentation:

  • Plan D application (the form with information about the work and author or authors).
  • An ID card scan.
  • No more than ten visual examples of the work in the jpeg format, CMYK, 300 dpi resolution (to be named in the following way: name_of_work_ordinalnumber.jpg, e.g. future_1.jpg). All visuals should be archived together using the zip format, named and uploaded using Jumbomail, Sendpace or WeTransfer).

All works that were not submitted to the Plan D e-mail before the deadline, as well as works with incomplete documentation, will not be considered.

Authors will be notified by e-mail about the outcome of the application no later than 21st August 2017. The list of authors and accepted works will be published on the official website within the same deadline.

Instructions for sending works after the selection

After the Selection Committee results are published, authors are obliged to deliver the work(s) no later than 10th September 2017. Works must be delivered to HDD before the due date to the address:

Hrvatsko dizajnersko društvo
Boškovićeva 18,
10 000 Zagreb,