This Curator Instituted a Media Blackout to Help Visitors Enjoy Her Exhibition
While we here in the States debate whether or not Instagram has destroyed the design show (Spoiler alert: It hasn’t), an exhibition in Barcelona recently confronted the issue head-on: For Perception, a group exhibition curated by designer Sanna Völker during Barcelona Design Week, no images of the exhibition were allowed to be published before or during the show, “in order for visitors to experience the installation without preconceptions and to allow them to create their own conclusions and impressions.” (Which also means we’re debuting the images exclusively on Sight Unseen today!)
“The idea for Perception was born following discussions about how the experience of visiting design exhibitions and showrooms has changed due to social media and online purchasing,” says Völker. “Have we become lazy and spoiled by scrolling through hundreds of new products everyday? Do we still understand, and appreciate, the complexity of a designed product and its making? And what about the live experience — the human interaction with our surroundings, the touch and tactility of the objects, the temperature of them, the sound of a glass surface or the smell of fresh cut wood?”
The invited designers’ works — and the accompanying exhibition — delved into subjects such as the five senses, process, and the impact an object has on its user. The final products included furniture, videos, and a sound installation by Matias Bieniaszewski, who converted the sounds of the designed objects into a musical piece. The exhibition was held on the white-boxed fifth floor of an industrial building, and the windows opened to create a breeze that might constantly rustle the curtains; the scent of cut wood wafted through the air. Whether or not all of that truly made visitors focus on the how and why of the objects in front of them can only be answered by those who attended the exhibition; until then, we can only lazily scroll through this stream of images and maybe — just maybe — ponder those questions on our own.
Alejandra Perini + Kiwi Bravo