Curator and writer Beatrice Galilee proposes that architecture and design exhibitions need to be about more than just "sticking furniture on plinths" in this movie we filmed at Dezeen Live during 100% Design. "It's just not good enough anymore," she says.
Contrasting 2012's Venice Architecture Biennale with the upcoming Lisbon Architecture Triennale she's curating, Galilee explains why her approach avoids showcasing architectural models and products in favour of process and debate. "We're not really interested in showcasing things that have happened, and we want to showcase things that will happen: people that will change the future of architecture, who's going to be curating the next city and what's that going to look like?"
This search for the next generation who will shape our world leads Galilee to work closely with critical designers who specialise in experiments and social commentary. "They don't have an aim to be as part of a kind of manufacturing process but they would rather be involved in a discussion," she explains.
Design with a critical agenda demands a critical response and Galilee stresses the need to uncover and nurture creative criticism. "There's a real sense of urgency for a kind of more critical design and a kind of conversation about design," she says.
By way of example, the talk begins with a discussion about the Hacked Lab exhibition that Galilee curated in Milan earlier this year, which comprised a series of events centred around new technologies and design experiments. "The idea of the week was to try and find different ways of presenting designers' ideas and try to find things that are not just stuff on plinths," she says. One of the activities involved designer Dominic Wilcox racing a 3D printer in a competition to build a model of the nearby Duomo cathedral.
She goes on to present a photograph taken in Africa, a place that she is currently researching, and explains how the narrative of African design is starting to focus on technology and particularly on science fiction. "Science fiction is quite an interesting way of designing in its own sense, city wise and landscapes and so on," she explains.
The Black Book Interview Project, a series of events during the London Design Festival about the "urgent topic" of critical design is discussed next. "[The curators] were really trying to find out where critical design is, who's writing it, who's doing it, why isn't there more of it?" says Galilee, before explaining how designers like Tuur Van Balen are more interested in a "more social or anthropological or scientific kind of narrative".
Broadening the topic to include architecture, Galilee discusses how 2012's biennale in Venice contained too many models presented as whole projects and not enough engagement with ideas. "Curators really should be sort of raising their game at this moment and be really trying to challenge audiences and to provide something interesting to say," she adds.
Dezeen Live was a series of discussions between Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and a number of designers and critics that took place at design exhibition 100% Design during London Design Festival in September 2012.
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