Presented by Design Hub Limburg, the exhibition, sub-titled Designing a New Industrial Revolution, will include many interactive projects, as well as workshops, events and a rolling programme of designers in residence.
The manifesto of this exhibition states: “The industrial revolution was a revolution for engineers. Now designers are at the forefront of a new revolution. They are part of networks that enable them to develop new materials and systems, build their own machines, and seek new tools for production and distribution.”
The designers chosen by the curator Jan Boelen include many who have studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven, including Formafantasma, Eugenia Morpurgo, Joong Han Lee, Juan Montero Valdes, Thomas Vailly and Thomas Maincent, plus Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler of Studio Mischer‘Traxler and Maurizio Montalti and Sabine Marcelis as contributing designers in the SAVE AS [MINE] project.
We asked Jan Boelen why he chose these DAE alumni. “I chose these designers because they fit into the story I had in my head. Many are Master graduates who represent an attitude that is research-oriented, social, engaged and process-oriented rather than product or object oriented. Moreover, they match the three sections of The Machine: Tools/Machines, Materials and Systems.”
Joong Han Lee, originally from South Korea, graduated from the Masters in Contextual Design DAE in 2011. His final Masters project Haptic Intelligence is a manual 3D printing machine that allows the user to create a 3D object with manual control. Lee explained to us:
“It is apparent that the machines have now replaced human production and craft in many areas. Manual labour is no longer relevant, due to processes of automation and the computerisation of the machine. The pursuit of commodity in mass-production has been accompanied by a lack of sense of ‘caring’, which can easily be communicated via human touch.”
“I observed that the human touch was also lacking in the era of the digital, especially with the visual dominance of screen-based interfaces. The objective of my project is to regain the intimate hand-object relationship and find a new process of craft, by embracing the invasion of technology, rather than keeping craft and technology separate.”
“As a digital object is transformed into the physical by different individuals, each outcome represents an imperfect, yet unique and highly personal, handmade object. This new process results in the creation of a human 3-D prototyping system, which requires more time, manual labour and a sense of choice - just like any other form of craftsmanship. The results are obviously not even comparable with the mass-produced objects, but they are still human at least.”
Eugenia Morpurgo, another 2011 DAE Masters graduate, will be showing her Repair It Yourself (RIY) graduation project, but in a new interactive form. RIY offers the user a pair of shoes plus a kit to repair them, from darning to felting. During The Machine’s five month run, visitors will be given the chance to repair the RIY shoes (sadly not their own shoes) and will be filmed doing so. These films will be edited to form a series of tutorials and a series of repaired shoes will grow over the months the exhibition is open.
We asked Morpurgo about how her work relates to this ‘new industrial revolution’ and the role of designers. “Mass production is fed by fast consumption and easy disposability; a shift away from this economical system will bring new values in the consumer’s behaviour. Social networking and democratisation of the means of production are already generating a new consumer, the prosumer - characterised from their active role in the different parts of the lifespan of a product. Repair It Yourself engages with the prosumers that wants to understand objects, their functions and their materials, prosumers that want to have control and understanding of the production, maintenance and disposability of the goods they own."
Formafantasma, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, graduated from DAE IM Masters in 2009 and for The Machine showcase Botanica. We asked them about how they see their role in the exhibition. “Designers are developing more and more curiosity towards production processes, systems and less (curiosity) on the formal aspects of design. Our work Botanica, is an investigation into the potential of pre-industrial plastics obtained from vegetal or animal polymers. The work creates a bridge between the contemporary urgency for more sustainable production processes and the pre-industrial world. In fact there are a lot of examples in the exhibition of old or really basic technologies updated or hacked by designers in search of different ways of producing. Our work in the context of the exhibition is highlighting a renewed interest in designers for material research.”
The Machine runs June 02 to October 07 2012 at C-mine Designcentrum, Genk.
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