They who resisted being designed survived with a saw, a level, a hammer and Autoprogettazione.pdf close at hand. Construct your own body with this liberating manifesto to build your own bed.
Push-ups and crunches, a face mask and lotion, whitening strips too: measure twice, cut once. Enzo Mari’s manual conforms to and thus forms the body demonstrating the new space of concern with the shaping of YOU. G.C. Argan dixit (1974).
It is thoroughly acknowledged that “Self-Design” is an imperfect translation of Autoprogettazione. Mari’s own notes in a 2002 reissue of his 1974 catalogue articulates a wariness toward the term design, fearing that it might imply a concern with the “superficially decorative.” G.C. Argan’s notes on the project caution against a misattribution of Mari’s guide to the ethics of American DIY culture. Today, one might confuse Mari’s “Self-Design” with the contemporary politics orbiting the fashioning and techno-prostheticization of the human body easily managed through the logic of the perpetual upgrade ubiquitous in the internet age. Gut health, surgical enhancement, and cosmetics are the domain of the self-designer in the year 2020, all actions contributing to an ethos of life extension, anti-aging, and perhaps even survival.
In 1974, Argan argued that Mari’s project is one of survival too. Without control over the design of one’s own environment, one risks the danger of “being designed” themselves—God forbid. Today however, the cosmetic design of the self and engagement with the designing forces made available by the world around us are often understood as structural rather than superficial, and determinant or representative of the self within. Aligned with this condition, Autoprogettazione remains a lever with which to set in motion a political project of the self. You assemble; Assemble you.