Illicit Adhocism: Smuggler Objects and the Aesthetics of Disguise

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This paper takes one of the key definitions of Adhocism as “a method of creation relying particularly on resources which are already at hand” (Jencks and Silver, 2013:9), and argues that such forms of bricolage are central to both legal and illegal adhocism. In doing so the intention is to highlight the inherently creative material practices that the adhocist sensibility enacts: just as the bricoleur engages with the playfulness of the material world I suggest that illicit forms of adhocism speak to a similar tendency. Substantively the paper deals with contraband smuggling, particularly the tactical methods of disguise utilised in order to hide illegal cargoes within legal trade mobilities. This is framed around archival collections of what I term ‘smuggler objects’. The fundamental postulation of the paper is that the attempts to disguise contraband foregrounds a type of invisible adhocism whereby the tactical use of extant resources occurs through the coproduction of illicit intent and the materiality of designed objects. Finally, the paper will also offer an insight into the notion of ‘design geographies’ where the conception of what design is as a material and spatial activity is expanded.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 28 Aug 2014
EventRoyal Geographic Society-Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference - Royal Geographic Society, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Aug 201428 Aug 2014


ConferenceRoyal Geographic Society-Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • adhocism
  • Smuggling


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