I visited the Fear and Love & Designs of the Year exhibitions at the Design Museum earlier this week.
The Fear and Love exhibition had a very unusual set of installations by designers and architects that reflect a broad range of issues surrounding the time we live in. Some of the topics included sentient robots, online networking, fashion and the parallels between our technological obsession with artificial intelligence and our lack of understanding and destruction of intelligent animals.
I found that all the installations were very unique in their message. The role that designers have as communicators is a very powerful tool. Bringing an understanding to these issues that reflect different aspects of society.
The installation that stood out to me the most was the sentient robot. A giant industrial robot called Mimus that would have been found in a production line doing highly repetitive tasks. The robot was reprogrammed by Madeline Gannon to interact with its environment in a curious manner. The robot is guided by censors on the ceiling which allow “her” to see all of her surrounding simultaneously. If she finds something interesting it will go in for a closer look to investigate making it appear sentient.
The point of this installation is to respond to the common fear that ‘robots are taking human jobs’ and suggesting that humans should overcome this fear by creating a bond between humans and machines. I think the installation does exactly that, creating a bond between humans and machines by making you feel as if the robot is actually self aware and has an interest in you as you walk by. This humanisation of robots I think could create a sense of empathy for the robots and reduce some of that fear and anxiety surrounding this topic. However, I don’t completely agree this is really solving the problem which is that robots really are taking peoples jobs and will probably only get worse with time. Perhaps it may eventually be for the best allowing humans to focus energy and time in other things opening the horizons for innovation and human ingenuity while allowing robots to take care of all the menial and repetitive jobs.
Another installation that I found very interesting, aesthetically speaking and concept wise was the Vespers by Neri Oxman. Oxman created a reimagined version of an ancient cultural artifact – the death masks. These mask are created using 3D printing technology that is able to print at a resolution of nerve cells. Having such technology will allow future biological products to be used as external support systems for humans enabling things like feeding us nutrients.
I think this is an incredible concept that is not too far off in the future, with things like exoskeletons already being produced, creating support systems that are biologically connected to the body to support human life is something that I’m sure could have a very positive impact on science and medicine.
Beazley Designs of the Year Exhibition
This year around I found the ‘Designs of the Year’ exhibition to be the best one seen I’ve seen so far. They had a broad scope of designs available ranging from architecture, fashion, graphic, digital, product and transport design.
I found most of it interesting but there where a few that stood out in particular. One of them being Joto, it is drawing board that is connected to the internet creating an online platform that you can physically draw onto. The board can also receive drawings through the internet to be displayed on it. Even though it sounds like a relatively simple idea, I think it’s a good blend of having quick access to a drawing board like one you would have stuck on a fridge in which you physically draw on it or make notes, merged with a digital plataform.