After a theoretical research and a case study in Guatemala, Berlin-based designer Jonas Hasselmann took a critical look on how souvenirs represent places and memories.
Every country in the world is visually represented over different communication channels, one of the main areas is the tourism industry.
Next to ads and commercials, souvenirs are designed to represent a personal experience to a place – and the place itself.
The designed objects we find in souvenir shops or markets however usually work unilaterally and superficially. Many of todays tourists expect far more then the classic all-inclusive-holidays, the experience of the present culture of the country with its beautiful and ugly sides became essential.
To take a critical look on how a country is represented Jonas Hasselmann created a series of design objects as artificial souvenirs for Guatemala in his Master Thesis at the Royal Danish Design School. The series represents topics which are usually hidden and wants to improve the function but also the aesthetics of commercial souvenirs.
A Favela Wallpaper reminds the traveler on the impressive view of the ghetto of the poorest by bringing it into his home. The Corruption Glove is designed to remember the traveler with an extra irony portion how necessary corruption can be to accomplish ordinary errands in Guatemala and can be used as a little helper. By wearing the huge laser-cut Holy Jewellery, tourists can take part of the proud christian mentality of the Guatemalans home and by sending one of the Safety Cards they can let their beloved at home know that they are safe behind walls, fences and security men in the place with one of the world wide highest crime rates.
The Cocaine Volcano is not only a reminder of the beautiful volcanos that shape the landscape and the huge amounts of cocaine being traded through Guatemala but also a stylized tool to smuggle his own. With the Car Wash Toys the traveler can teach his kids that car washing is a very common way to get food and a place to sleep for Guatemalan street kids.
The Representation of a Country through Souvenirs
Design: Jonas Hasselmann