Discussion, discourse, and creative insight through STIRring conversations in 2022
by Jincy IypeDec 27, 2022
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by STIRworldPublished on : Feb 27, 2023
Equipped with a theme that speaks to the globalised design circle, the London Design Biennale 2023 looks at the country-specific division of Biennale as a tool to visualise international cooperation. Titled—The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations—goes beyond borders and territories to enact new forms of participatory design. Running from June 1-25, 2023, at London's Somerset House, this year's Biennale will also highlight design-led innovations from leading research centres. With less than five months to go for its opening, the concepts for the pavilions representing Abu Dhabi, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Dubai, the Swiss museum Mudac, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Ukraine have been announced. 'Eureka' will feature university research departments, demonstrating cross-disciplinary invention and creativity taking place now and changing the world of tomorrow. Exhibitors of this section include the research done by Kingston University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow School of Art, The UK National Centre for Ageing (NICA), Canterbury Christ Church University, and King’s College, London.
Aric Chen, General Director, Het Nieuwe Instituut, elaborated on the intention of this year's theme saying, “The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations aims to create an alternative geopolitical landscape driven not by competition nor conflict, but rather cooperation. We all agree that global challenges require global collaboration. This is easier said than done, but in some small way, we hope real international exchanges will arise from this biennial in a way that also invites visitors to become part of the process.”
Keeping the Biennale’s mission in mind, the 2023 edition will continue to demonstrate how design can help better our world. The presenting exhibitors will share perspectives, and in some cases, solutions to global issues. Different countries explore areas from the urban environment to traditional practices and environmental sustainability to the humanitarian response to conflict. One of the most notable examples is perhaps the Polish-Ukrainian installation. Designers from across Ukraine will come together to draw on its history of creative richness to demonstrate collaboration's vital role in forging new means of connection and communication in a time of war. Poland will reinterpret the window as a symbol of cross-border collaborations, referencing the donations of windows from Poland to Ukraine to help those whose homes have been destroyed.
Another collaborative installation for the fourth edition is between Spain and Peru. Here the idea is to demonstrate how historical design practices might offer alternative means of collaboration today, as symbolised through the ‘cajón.’ This percussion instrument, which is a part of the Afro-Peruvian tradition, has become a ‘traditional’ instrument of flamenco music. The Automorph Network will bring together designers from France, Italy, Israel and the United States to examine how the process of biomimicry learnt from nature can be copied in our own designs to drive innovation.
Responding to themes of societal disorientation, the Netherlands pavilion will be an ever changing site-specific installation distributed throughout Somerset House to support moments of gathering, assembly and reflection among other participants. The European Union delegation to the United Kingdom will present the New European Bauhaus initiative—a movement to facilitate and steer the transformation of our societies. Romania will emphasise humanity’s interconnection with nature and the need for regenerative practices.
Abu Dhabi will highlight a more focused look at the traditional Al-Sadu technique of weaving. Practised by Bedouin women in the UAE, the method is used to create tents and social spaces where families and visitors convene. This technique was recently added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. Malta, in the Somerset House courtyard, will adapt the form of the village square, demarcated with fabrics using traditional Phoenician-Maltese dyes, to highlight ancient approaches to the urban environment. India will invoke the sensory impact of a chowk—an open market at a four-way junction of streets—through the visual metaphor of a charpoy, a traditional woven daybed.
Taiwan will showcase collaborations across industry, trade, natural resources and the economy. South Korea will use mixed reality to bridge the gap between past and future, imagined within the surroundings of the traditional Korean garden. The world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist, Ai-Da, will prompt questions about how collaboration with artificial intelligence might shape our future and its impact on creativity. The Democratic Republic of the Congo reimagines the country’s national museum as a virtual world, exploring the country’s rich and varied communities and culture.
The Care Pavilion asks us to focus on the politics and ethics of care—be that 'caring for,' 'caring about,' or 'caring with'—and how it can manifest itself in relation to humanity and beyond. Portugal will bring attention to the issue of violence against women through their voices, to catalyse change. Mudac, the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland, will speculate on a global management system for planetary issues by bringing together different types of intelligence around a control console.
Victoria Broackes, Director, London Design Biennale, mentioned, "The previous biennale took place towards the end of the global pandemic and once again the global context has drastically changed. Despite this, international design teams continue to demonstrate the possibilities of what can be achieved through design and design thinking. The Biennale is the place to see what is on people’s minds, across the world, right now. This year we will see exhibitors presenting design in all its forms—from ancient weaving traditions through futuristic urban planning, from AI systems to collaborative humanitarian efforts.”
At the time of publishing this article, the following pavilions were confirmed to be participating—Abu Dhabi, the humanoid Ai-Da Robot, Automorph Network, Care Pavilion, Chatham House, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dubai, India, Malta, the Swiss museum Mudac, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, South Korea, Spain and Peru, Taiwan, The Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom and Ukraine.
London Design Biennale 2023 edition will take place at Somerset House from June 1-25.
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