German student Jonas Hasselmann designed an ironic collection of Critical Souvenirs from Guatemala comprising gadgets that highlight both the brighter and rougher side of the country. The project aims to make reflect with a smile on how cliches and touristic must-sees collide with a less superficial traveling.
A Favela Wallpaper recalls the impressive view of the slums, whilst the Car Wash Toys refers to the very common way to get food and a place to sleep for Guatemalan street kids.
Every country in the world is visually represented with souvenirs designed to prove a personal experience to a place or the place itself. On a side, most of this objects usually work unilaterally and superficially, on the other one contemporary travelers seek to discover the culture of the country with both its beautiful and ugly sides.
Jonas Hasselmann says to ArchiPanic: “I picked Guatemala because I was very impressed by the nature and the culture but also by the big clash of traditional and modern, the existence of an extreme poor and a very privileged society and the very high criminality. So it challenged me how to represent such a country as a designer without hiding the rough sides”.
The Corruption Glove is designed to remember (with an extra portion irony) how necessary corruption can be to accomplish ordinary errands. By sending one of the Safety Cards, the traveler can reassure his friends by letting them know that he is safe behind bars in the place with one of highest crime rates worldwide.
“I think and hope, that the Guatemalan people would like the sometimes quit strong critics in my project, since I met them as an aware society that stands up to the things that goes wrong” says Jonas Hasselmann.
By wearing the huge lazer cutted Holy Jewellery, tourists can take a part of the proud christian mentality of the Guatemalans home and The Cocaine Volcano is not only a reminder on 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.
“If I had to extend my project to my own country, Germany, I would probably focus on the fact that gays and lesbians still don’t have the same rights then heterosexuals when it comes to marriage or adoption. The object for that topic could be an ironic kitchen tool that is only possible to use for heterosexual couples”.