A salient perception of the present is one defined by crisis. In the light of this, "Some Shapes of Things to Come" asks how we can design our specific environment, i.e. how we live, how we move around translocally, how we organise ourselves socially. Everyday contexts are addressed in terms of their complex entanglements, as well as harnessed as scope for the development of visions geared towards the surmounting of an implacable status quo seemingly devoid of alternatives.
This exhibition is underpinned by the thesis which holds that the view of a present defined by a string of ecological, economic, political and social crises is actually not exclusively based on fact. External threat scenarios and the dynamic of digitalisation and automation, which has seemingly become a law unto itself and from which the individual has long-since been excluded, have also been instrumentalized in order to coerce and consolidate a state of stagnation enshrining the preservation of Western privileges as the only legitimate aim. An awareness for the possibilities for designing the world and imagining a future we might work towards is in fact so delimited and supressed, to such an extent that it infiltrates our very sphere of everyday action and reception. Therefore “Some Shapes of Things to Come" doesn't pose questions from the generalised and generalising perspective of global, media or quantified prognoses. Instead, the artists participating in the exhibition share an interest in specifically designed, material and social environments that seminally define our living environment and our identity and in which distinct and symptomatic moments of the Western experience of the present take place. The concept of design is invoked because – in its intrinsic openness – it alludes to the fabricated nature of and, by inference, the viability of fabricating spaces, structures, information and social relations. The works and projects featured in the exhibition refer the developments in the fields of social and political organisation, digital technologies, global mobility and architecture to the practice of individuals and specific communities. They raise awareness of an endemic, multi-layered instrumentalization and functionalization, but at the same time, focus on the empowering potential of individual and private needs, such as living, travel, love, being appreciated and recognised, as well as self-realisation.
The Bibliothek für Gesellschaftsdesign's reading desks and a total of sixty books on the topic of the social responsibility of design, coupled with Fokus Grupa's four mobile living units called the "Existenzoptimum", define the infrastructural framework of the project. A number of video works by Alexa Karolinski and Ingo Niermann, Alex Martinis Roe, Julien Prévieux and Clara Winter with Miguel Ferráez have been integrated into the installation. The films form the starting point and background for workshops and discursive and performative formats, which will take place at the exhibition's opening on 26 May, as well as between 12 and 14 July, as an open-ended part of the "Track Academy" series.
Curated by Lisa Britzger