I am a communications strategist, editorial designer, and researcher building purpose-driven projects. I conceive, develop, and strategize publications, from naming and brand identity to content design, writing, editing, information architecture, and design frameworks. I create editorial formats that are meaningful and community-oriented, generous and considerate, ethical and empowering.

Project Management

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Stranger Projects

Stranger Projects is a publishing design, content, systems, and communication studio that explores progressive intersections between disciplines through editorial projects with coherent content outputs.

I conceive and develop editorial strategies for critical projects shaping thoughtful perspectives on sociocultural, environmental, and technological transformations. In my work, I develop editorial frameworks (including project concept, naming, and identity; column, section, and content identity; information and content architecture; design frameworks and CMS analysis), and I seek to create meaningful editorial content focusing on long-form and investigative articles, interviews, research, media survey, and content curation. ↱ Visit website

Communications Strategy and Editorial Design

Confluential logo identity

Confluential

Confluential is a publication platform exploring cross-industries intersections that drive new models of thinking about societal and environmental sustainability. The project documents innovation and analyzes the future of technologies, emerging social behaviors, and shared commons.

Confluential brings together researchers from diverse professional backgrounds to contribute to alternative research, knowledge, product, or service-building forms. The idea was to create a 'confluent space' where the voices of designers, thinkers, technologists, scientists, ecologists, and policymakers can generate conscious and inspiring ideas for considerate and community-oriented socio-environmental frameworks. ↱ Read more

Readesign

Readesign is a conversational platform around the role of critical design practices in shaping how we read and experience text, information, interfaces, and exhibitions as public spaces where opinions are informed. The idea for the project came as a response to public language becoming ever more fluid, overlaid, and reproducible. In addition, facing unprecedented levels of false or misleading information, propaganda, malinformation, and social media disinformation—thinking critically, fact-checking, and interpreting information are imperative to defending social values collectively.

I interview leading design practitioners and critics, cultural theoreticians and thinkers, publishers, and writers to explore visual projects, concepts, processual habits, and methodologies around the fundamental transformations in how we produce, read, and perceive information in the 21st century. ↱ Read more

anti-utopias

From 2012 to 2017, I curated and edited anti-utopias, a compelling thematic repository of curated artist portfolios and news from the international art scene. After more than five years of hiatus, the project resumes as a platform that interviews and reviews forward-thinking artists and cultural practitioners grappling with social, political, environmental, and extinction-level matters. Working with some of the most exciting artists, critics, curators, galleries, and institutions, I redesigned the project to shift away from the traditional art world and connect established and emerging artists with diverse, engaged, and inclusive audiences and communities.

The platform underwent four major design revisions between February 2012 and April 2017. In the process, I showcased the works of 320 artists and published more than 900 editorial materials—from artist interviews and review essays to curated press information about the most relevant events in the art world. ↱ Read more

Creativin

I designed Creativin as an ecosystem of curated and thematic content newsletters corroborated in collaboration with international mainstream, alternative, and independent media and voices. The concept merges the idea of an informative and healthy supplement with thematic content curation and redistribution to provide context-rich and diverse perspectives, filter content, and amplify discussions around topics of interest in shaping public opinion. Think aspirin, but for creativity understood as comprehensive, informed opinions.

Creativin is not only a thematic newsletter service that aggregates content across the spectrum in daily, weekly, and monthly formats. It provides subscribers with intriguing stories, shapes discussions, and provides rationales for the selected articles; it addresses ethical questions and empowers readers to have informed overviews, connects the dots across media channels, and stimulates topical perspectives on subjects that range from the creative industries and technology to science, politics, literature, and mainstream news. ↱ Read more

Contemporary Art Archives

Contemporary Art Archives is a scalable interface archive and modular search system providing access to some of the most exciting contemporary artists, projects, publications, curators, galleries, institutions, and collections worldwide. For this project, I was inspired by the idea that search engines and, to some extent, archives are not a map of what people think as much as a map of how they think. As such, my intention was not to create a content repository per se but an instrument that enables connections, relations, and associative thinking patterns.

I designed this to be an open-access tool that users and researchers can use to search and collect information easier. I wanted to transform the idea of a categorial archive into something fluid and dynamic that reflects the inquiry process, inspires new interpretations, and can be used for educational purposes. I indexed more than 75k items so far and estimate to reach 200k items by 2024 to test the modularity and scalability of the solution. ↱ Read more

Graphic Design and Editing

Peripheral Histories

"Peripheral Histories" is a print and digital publication that explores an alternative view of experimental film, video, and television art in Romania from the 1970s to 2020. I wrote, edited, and designed the book as a personal narration of the sociocultural transformations in this period rather than an art historical account.

Romanian media art history provides a fascinating opportunity for people to uncover different angles on how media shapes history for cultures in transition. I grouped some of the most representative artworks for the first time, analyzed the prominent motifs, and designed the book as a thematic overview that is easy to read—the image above is a sample from when I started the design. I wrote the book as a personal memory exercise because I wanted to avoid the common understandings of the 'periphery' prevalent in art and cultural criticism, which often reinforce ideas of (self-) marginalization and hierarchical forms of modernism. ↱ Read more

Revolving Futures

This publication was initially conceived in 2015 and resumed in 2022 with a new formula that expands on the original idea of blending perspectives on art, technology, science, cultural studies, politics, and environmental concerns towards a more practical focus—the present future of how we understand humanity and subjectivity amidst current sociocultural, technological, and climate transformations.

I edited and designed the book, and I added new conversations to some of the initial discussions on subjects that range from hacktivism and networked cultures or the intersections between art, technology, and architecture to politics of surveillance, the intersections between art and law or art and science, anthropology and the tactical use of post-digital technologies, and many others. Some of the artists I selected to include in the book are David Altmejd, Allison Kudla, Diana Thater, Joyce Kozloff, Mike Pelletier, Dominik Lejman, Leila Alaoui, Yael Kanarek, Zeitguised, Brigitte Kowanz, Herman Kolgen and Dominique Skoltz, Victoria Vesna, Brandon Ballengée, David Maisel, Ahmed Mater, Anne de Boer, Keita Miyazaki, Yann Mingard, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Ivonne Thein, Susan Silas, Gregory Bennett, Macoto Murayama, Maija Tammi, Katie Torn, Sophie Kahn, and many others. ↱ Read more

Media Installation Design

Diffractive Archives

Diffractive Archives is a two-fold experimental project. The first part is an extensive research publication on archival practices in networked environments inspired by my Ph.D. thesis in philosophy on archives and discourse. I explore the implications of notions such as Foucault's archaeology of knowledge, material and discursive formations, spectrality and tele-technologies, submedial spaces and chronopolitics, or the decolonization of knowledge and archives. However, in the current research, I focus on forensic archives, as inspired by the writings and practice of Forensic Architecture, and diffractive archives, as inspired by the writings of Karen Barad and philosophers of new materialism.

I wanted to take the research further and explore its conceptual potential as a modular media installation where data generate comprehensive contexts and multi-layered interpretations, reconstitute alternative histories, and enable associative and diffractive thinking patterns. I designed the installation as a standalone informational device that can be used for specific investigative purposes and exhibited in modular settings. ↱ Read more

Writing and Editorial Work

Articles, Interviews, Columns, Magazine Editing, Translations, and Public Speaking

I have worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2009. My writings have been published in various art books, magazines, exhibition catalogs, academic publications, and creative content writing projects in Romania, Germany, South Korea, the UK, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the US. I usually write about art, design, architecture, photography, or new media, and I am interested in the intersections between art, design, cultural critique, science, and technology.

I worked as an associate editor for several art, design, and architecture magazines and published over 200 articles, from short-form project presentations to over 80 long-form interviews, critical analyses, and essays on architectural theory. I supervised several print issues of Arhitext magazine and wrote the "Possible Architectures" column for Igloo magazine between 2011 and 2013. In addition, I attended events such as the Venice Biennale as a magazine attachée and presented papers at various events in Romania, Germany, and Denmark.

I translated books such as David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of Marketing and PR and John Whitmore's Coaching for Performance from English to Romanian, and Françoise Dastur's La Mort. Essai Sur la finitude from French to Romanian. Between 2009 and 2013, I translated more than 140 theoretical articles and project presentations in art, design, and architecture, some of which have been printed in international publications in Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands.

Curatorial Work

Exhibitions and Content Curation

As a curator, I organized the video art group exhibition “Accumulations” (Sherin Najjar Gallery, Berlin, February—April 2013), the video art screening program “Sight-Building: Experimental films from Central and Eastern Europe” (ARTA cinema, Arad, June 27, 2019), and I helped to organize exhibitions in London, Zurich, and Brussels.

I was invited as a member of the curatorial board of the "Fluencies" international architecture festival (Bucharest, 2011), guest curator at the Moving Image video art fair (Istanbul, 2014), and member of the jury in a digital arts competition (Ravello, 2015-2016). In 2013, I was invited as a curator in the Advisory Curatorial Board of the Moving Image video art fair in London—one of the four works I selected for the show, "Solitude" by Swedish-Swiss artist Jessica Faiss, has received the Moving Image Award and was included in the permanent collection of the 53 Art Museum in Guangzhou.

As a content curator and editor, I ran the anti-utopias contemporary art platform between February 2012 and April 2017, where I showcased the works of 320 artists and published more than 900 editorial materials—from artist interviews and review essays to curated press information about the most relevant events in the art world.

Organization Design

the Unconventional Bureau

the Unconventional Bureau is an experimental model for organization design that I have been working on since 2019. The idea is to assemble specialists from various disciplines with different perspectives and professional skills who can collaborate on specific projects, construct new work processes, and become equal design shapers and decision-makers. We need to move away from the economics of individual affirmation, offsetting externalities and responsibilities, softening management hierarchies and faux principles of care, or softening performance metrics and persuasive methodologies.

We need a profound change in how we interact with the world and each other and envision our society. It is possible to imagine alternative contribution models where different practitioners collaborate on broader social, cultural, economic, and political aims.

I designed this project around several functions—a theoretical model that explains its operational principles, a set of materials that test the theory in situated contexts and environments (including blueprints, case studies, and discussions with visionary organization designers), and an open-source prototype where everyone is encouraged to playfully imagine and experiment with different organization assemblies for real or imaginary situations, products, or services. ↱ Read more

People Experience

Sourcing, Recruitment, and Talent Acquisition

I previously worked as a technical sourcer and recruiter, talent acquisition specialist, and global research team lead across product, data, and engineering teams. I have been privileged to work as part of amazing teams at top companies like Apple and WhatsApp, Nordic startups in the IT sector, and blockchain innovation companies like Status in the Ethereum ecosystem. I was most happy working as a design recruiter for Ignite in the Cosmos ecosystem, looking for top product designers, creative directors, creative coders, and design systems leads.

In my roles, I contributed to improving recruitment processes, created employer branding campaigns, and successfully implemented complete candidate journeys—from hiring kickoffs to onboarding projects for international candidates in remote and on-site work environments. In addition, I have acquired planning, analytical, and strategic skills, consolidated company cultures, built personal and lasting relationships, directed discovery and adoption of new tools, and initiated Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging strategies.

I am a communications strategist, editorial designer, and researcher in Copenhagen who works to conceive, develop, and strategize publication platforms and editorial projects focusing on design, art, sociocultural criticism, technology, and environmental matters. I am deeply invested in creating meaningful, community-oriented, generous, and considerate outputs that are ethical and empowering.

In the last 14 years, I have put my strategic, editorial, management, and people skills to work for design and architecture offices, artists, and visionary organizations on narrative strategies, communication, editorial design, content curation, and writing commissions. I'm also an empathetic and mindful recruiter with a track record of building teams for forward-thinking companies, ideally for design-related roles.

I am passionate about media and publishing ecosystems, graphic and book design, photography and contemporary art, technology, and environmental projects. My work is always culture-driven and aimed at amplifying stories, products, and experiences that inspire others to do good. Through my work, I want to tell and share compelling stories, devise engaging communication platforms, and design personal, relational, and relatable strategies. Because of my formation in philosophy, I use my interests in cultural studies, anthropology, and aesthetics to drive new impetus, inspire good, prompt reflection, fire the imaginaries, and affect positive social change.

Do you want to say hi or have a project in mind for which you think I could be a good match? Drop me an email at ↱ sabin.bors@gmail.com

Infrequently asked questions that I wish people asked me.

How do you work as a designer?

Some people may not consider me a designer because I didn't attend formal design studies. Still, I combine knowledge, information, function, and experiential design in my work. Conceptually, I apply discursive and speculative design principles because the methodologies are congruent with my mindset and the focus of my projects. On a practical level, I employ atomic design principles to create modular, organic, and metabolic systems. I have hybrid abilities merging communication strategy, editorial design, art direction, and content creation to craft inspiring and engaging publications. I have a good sense of typography, patterns, layouts, and proportions and I use associative and relational research skills to inform development.

Are there any specific ideas that inspire you?

The nature of my work and interests makes me curious to explore many ideas to find points of articulation, congruence, and synergy. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Ray's A/B list in their book "Speculative Everything. Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming" is always inspirational as a reflection of how visionary work moves from affirmative to critical, from problem-solving to problem-finding, from providing answers to asking questions, from design for production to design for debate, from design as a solution to design as a medium, from fictional functions to functional fictions, from applications to implications, from innovation to provocation, from user-friendliness to ethics, etc. More recently, Austin Robey and Severin Matusek elaborate on several mindset shifts after the creator economy that I resonate with—from isolation to collaboration, from content to context, from audience-building to world-building, or from competition to cooperation. I share all these ideas and use them to refine my approach.

Do you have a design and development process?

I avoid formulaic approaches and believe every design inquiry, process, and the outcome is specific to its context. However, I usually build upon several clear stages in my work—definition, research, analysis, design, and pursuit (rather than validation). For the type of products that I create, pursuit is often more relevant than validation.

What are your professional highlights?

I started working as a freelance writer and editor in 2009 when I was enrolled in MA studies in Philosophy and Communication. Working for magazines and being exposed to diverse readerships demanded that I abandon the clichés of my academic formation. In 2011 I realized I wanted to create a different art platform, and I started anti-utopias. I ran the project until 2017, encountered super-talented people in the process, and benefitted from tremendous opportunities; however, I never felt the project had reached its potential. So, I decided to pause it and focus on finishing my Ph.D. in Philosophy. I started my Ph.D. in 2013 with a thesis on body and prosthetics in contemporary visual culture but grew increasingly interested in archives and knowledge repositories. After several delays, I finished my Ph.D. in 2018 with a thesis on archives and discursive formations. Between 2011 and 2018, I continued writing, editing, and collaborating with people in over 70 countries on personal and professional projects. However, I realized that I am becoming increasingly interested in communication strategy and editorial design, merging my writing skills with my design interests. I believe that good writing and good design go hand in hand.

In 2018 I had few opportunities to continue academic research and little commercial experience to land a job where I could thrive and develop my skills. Accidentally meeting with a friend led to my first commercial employment as a talent acquisition specialist. Recruitment has been an opportunity to merge my writing, interviewing, and communication skills, and I first worked on a three months contract on a challenging account for WhatsApp. Three months later, having put together an entire team in London with quite an oomph, I was advanced to a Global Research Team Lead to lead the sourcing and recruitment efforts for Apple Music, an opportunity to develop my research and analytical skills. Next, in September 2019, I took a risk and jumped on the chance to relocate to Copenhagen and join a Nordic startup as its first in-house recruiter and brand lead. It was one of the most impactful and essential life choices I've made, and I am grateful for the professional and personal experiences it enabled. I found myself in an inspiring city, close to the sea, curious to discover a new culture, enjoying all the hygge (and rain) that comes with it.

I used the extended Covid-19 lockdowns to start a studio for my initiatives, and in April 2021, I founded Stranger Projects. The company I worked for in Copenhagen collapsed under economic pressure, and it seemed like a good time for a change. I wanted to build purpose-driven editorial projects, renew my interest in design, and do something positive in a world that seems to go astray. In the meantime, I was lucky to join the incredibly talented folks at Status on a short-term contract as a recruiter, working to attract new product designers. Then, in September 2021, an opportunity came to join the inspiring bunch at Ignite, where I worked as a sourcer and, most rewardingly, as a recruiter for design-related roles. Unfortunately, an unexpected change in upper management has led to many people being laid off, not surprisingly considering the broader tectonic movements in the crypto and technology space. After that, I worked for a short while as a recruiter again before I decided to take a voluntary career break to focus on my well-being, my projects, and a change in what I want to do next.

I am interested in joining visionary projects as a people experience manager to help build and consolidate progressive company cultures or as a communications strategist and designer to help develop next-generation publications and projects with positive sociocultural or technological impact. I want to bond with incredible people, have fun doing meaningful work, and enjoy humbling opportunities to inspire change and motivate people to do better.

Wait a minute!? A communications strategist and a recruiter—how did that happen?

The two are closer than it may seem. As a communication strategist, you shape messages, content, and visions; as a recruiter, you shape how companies evolve through people. Communication strategies may seem more outward, and recruitment more inward. Still, recruitment ideally aims to help people thrive, build on a set of values, and help companies create something good and valuable for others. Both demand good communication, writing, research, analytical thinking, and direct interaction with people, values, and cultures.

How does your background in philosophy play into all this?

In the early days of my career, I lacked the clarity, motivation, and purpose that I later put into my projects and interests. I abused philosophical jargon because that was how I was taught to write philosophy, and aimed at ideas that were sometimes too vague and disconnected from real-life contexts. But philosophy has also enabled me to think structurally, see the bigger and more systematic picture, explore the coherence of ideas, and challenge normative thinking patterns. Design thinking and working for a wide variety of clients and projects has helped me to improve all that; to find a different voice and different purposes; to visualize and contextualize writing; to essentialize communication and to care for how messages look and feel. I have learned to engage my theoretical and conceptual experience and deploy them in projects that inspire change.

What inspired you to start Stranger Projects? And why is it called Stranger Projects?

I started Stranger Projects because I wanted to create a space for my initiatives with a distinct, unique, and unifying identity. The name is less inspired by Doctor Strange and more by a book that editors Jehanne Dautrey and Emanuele Quinz titled "Strange Design. From Objects to Behaviours." On its cover lies written something that has resonated profoundly with what I want to achieve: "In recent years, strange—ambiguous, dysfunctional, enigmatic, and complicated—objects have emerged in the world of design. These objects are based on an approach that has been called anti-design, radical, conceptual, or critical design—a speculative design that instead of offering solutions raises questions. Design that is not subject to the imperatives of the power structures of society, but is instead critical. Via a strategy of modifying objects away from their usual forms and utilitarian functions, this design evokes unusual uses and behaviours, in turn opening the way to a more profound questioning of social and political values." This applies to objects, of course, and to experiences and any good contemporary design.

Is there anything particular about publishing that makes it so relevant today?

I believe writing and publishing are unaltered expressions of freedom. Using digital networks as platforms for critical reflection is about sharing cultural ideas and products and creating relational bridges between people. As Dutch art curator Nat Muller writes, the act of publishing is "a gesture that accommodates the political, the artistic, and in some cases, the defiant... A gesture is something preceding the action, and therefore signifies motion and agency of the most expressive and potent kind, precisely because it is so wrought with intentionality." From a strict praxeological perspective, Rachel Malik defines publishing as “a set of historical processes and practices—composition, editing, design and illustration, production, marketing and promotion, and distribution—and a set of relations with various other institutions—commercial, legal, educational, political, cultural, and, perhaps, above all, other media.”

What are some of the ideas that haunted you lately?

When I was in university, I took interest in the work of two philosophers I largely forgot about over the years and whose works provide me with new reflections and ideas today. The first is Hans Jonas and his book "The Imperative of Responsibility. In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age," in which he discusses the foundations for responsibility to future generations and the asymmetric relationship between present and future generations. Why? Because responsibility for future generations cannot be explained by the application of traditional ethics and demands that we construct entirely new principles.

The second is Gilbert Simondon. His body of work, including theses on the preindividual, dephasing, metastable equilibrium, transduction, or physical and biological individuation, was originally completed in 1958 and was vastly ahead of its time. His theses have been successfully applied in various interdisciplinary fields such as quantum mechanics, cybernetics, evolutionary biology, mineralogy, or aesthetics, but his writings on imagination and invention provide a radical rethinking of the theory and experience of mental images. Inspired by various phenomenological ideas, experimental psychology, cybernetics, or ethology, Simondon describes four phases in the development of mental images: 1) a bundle of motor anticipations, 2) the image becomes a cognitive system that mediates the organism's relation to its milieu, 3) a symbolic and abstract integration of motor and affective experience to 4) invention, a solution to a problem of life that requires the externalization of mental images and the creation of technical objects. Why do I find this interesting? Because in Simondon's argument, images can only be understood within the trajectories of their progressive metamorphosis. It is an idea worth exploring as we devise ever new technical objects and contexts in our lives.

You seem to be quite into books. Could you name a few of your favourites?

I enjoy reading Robert Walser's fictional short stories and pretty much any book written by Jeff Vandermeer and William Gibson, bandes dessinées by Enki Bilal and manga works by Tsutomu Nihei.

My favorite philosophy book is Avital Ronell's The Telephone Book. Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech.

My most cherished photography books are Images of Conviction. The Construction of Visual Evidence edited by Diane Dufour and Whispers, a comprehensive monograph on the life and works of Ulay.

When it comes to commercial design, I enjoy checking Bruce M. Tharp and Stephanie M. Tharp's Discursive Design. Critical, Speculative, and Alternative Things every now and then (no surprise here, I guess).

Some of my favourite design theory books are Strange Design. From Objects to Behaviours edited by Jehanne Dautrey and Emanuele Quinz; Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby's Speculative Everything. Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming; Alexandra Midal's Design by Accident. For a new History of Design; and Alice Rawsthorn's Design as an Attitude.

When it comes to books on publishing, I enjoyed reading Alessandro Ludovico's Post-Digital Print. The Mutation of Publishing since 1984, the comprehensive Publishing as an Artistic Practice edited by Annette Gilbert, and Nicholas Thoburn's Anti-Book. On the Art and Politics of Radical Publishing.

One of the most beautiful books I own is Wolfgang Scheppe's Done.Book. Picturing the City of Society, a photo book designed by Andrea Buran that relates two ways of looking at the city of Venice—Ruskin's Venetian notebooks and Gavagnin's two-decade collection of photographs. I may be biased by the fact that this is the first book I bought out of my first big pay during my first trip abroad, which coincidentally happened to be to the city of Venice. When Venice is the first city you see on a trip abroad, it leaves a lasting impression.

What else are you most passionate about?

Aside from reading art books, science and technology magazines, science fiction books, some manga and comics, I experiment with writing a science fiction novel. I listen to a lot of music, especially when I work—anything from Massive Attack, Amon Tobin, DJ Krush, Agnes Obel, Michelle Gurevich, Ulver, Arca, Tricky, Bob Moses, Pan Sonic, and all the way to Meshuggah, Hypocrisy, and other Swedish death metal bands. For the past year I have been trying to play the guitar—I am still very lousy at it but I am determined and perseverant. I like to cycle by the Copenhagen sea shores, travel by train, and I enjoy playing board games, although I always forget the rules and what they're actually called. I would like to collect train models but I always end up collecting books. I watch a lot of films and I sometimes exaggerate looking at all sorts of kitchen items that I will not use all that often. I like cooking ramen and I save a lot of recipes that I hope to cook one day. I would like to restore old furniture, travel more, visit Japan, and learn how to swim. I like rainy days when I stay in and mildly cold days when I am out.

How would you describe yourself?

Small, smart, funny, really passionate about and engaged in my work, curious, organized, meticulous to the point of exaggeration. I am not always a morning person.

Any funky buzzwords that make you tick?

Critical, speculative, adversarial, discursive, and atomic design. Fonts and typography. Coffee, ramen, pizza, chocolate, ice cream, pastries, and chocolate lava cake.

Sabin Bors