Fear & Love: a multidisciplinary exhibition that catches the present and looks at possible futures, raising the debate about the evolving role of design, always more interested into context than objects.
“It may occur to someone working in design to produce objects that are of no use to industrial civilization as it is set up at present, but that serve to release creative energies, to suggest possibilities, to stimulate awareness, to bring people’s feet back onto the planet…”
Technology makes people scared and anxious, but at the same time addicted to it, which is why 11 designers and architects have been called to express their vision of the current world through installations aiming at challenge the public.
Amongst them, Neri Oxman presented ‘Vespers’, majestic 3D printed multi-functional masks, inspired by ancient death-artefacts – Possibly an anticipation of a new generation of manufacturing technologies for biological products-.
Fashion designer Hussein Chalayan explored the anxieties experienced by those living in big cities, including the fear of terrorist attacks, and sexual desires through wearable devices -a pair of sunglasses and a belt- for ‘Room Tone’. The idea was to explore the proactive management of stress and how to optimize it, rethinking how biometric technology can improve human lives.
The project has been originally created for presenting the S/S 17 collection in Paris:
Madeline Gannon challenged the limits of human empathy bringing to life the star of the exhibition: Mimus. The robot with undeniable mechanical aspect, but with more than simply human manners is an interactive and funny presence but at the same time disquieting.
The public, initially amused by the machine, is quickly pushed to reflect about how robots and automation will influence our sense of ourselves and our posterity as useful beings.
Accordingly to a recent Reform’s report robots could replace over 200,000 civil service and NHS jobs by 2030; as a consequence friendly Mimus could be one of the first significant representations of one future cause of mass unemployment.
But what if the common enemy are actually not robots, but the man who programs them?
Many questions, doubts and possibilities have been raised by romantic demonstrations in the debut exhibition of the new London Design Museum. Fear and Love deeply explores themes and processes and offers an occasion to think about the positive and negative sides of future scenarios.
Some answers are provided, but the discussion is left definitely opened.
Hitchcock, A., Laycock, K. and Sundorph, E. (2017)Work in progress. Reform report.. Available at: http://www.reform.uk/publication/work-in-progress/
Sottssass, E. (1988) Design Metaphores. New York: Rizzoli International Publications.