Designers in the twenty-first century are bridging the worlds of design, technology, and science, experimenting with materials and processes to examine how we can make things in new ways or reimagine the value systems, rituals and beliefs that might define tomorrow. At the vanguard of design practice, there are architects and designers who are literally ‘sampling’ this imagined future.
This exhibition presents a selection of new projects by some of Australia’s leading experimental and speculative designers. Highly visual – with largescale installations, thought-provoking objects, associated sound and film – this exhibition draws from the NGV Collection and features newly-commissioned works which reveal how and why design experimentation can help us to imagine the future and question today.
Exhibiting designers include Alice Springs-based Elliat Rich, Sydney-based duo Kyoko Hashimoto and Guy Keulemans, and Melbourne duo Georgia Nowak and Eugene Peripletchikov, among others.
Newly-commissioned works for the exhibition include Unclear Cloud, 2021, a work of speculative architecture by Roland Snooks, Associate Professor at RMIT University with fellow RMIT academic and sound artist Philip Samartzis. Unclear Cloud analyses and reveals the physical effects or implications of computation and the cloud. While we conceptualise the cloud as virtual, its physical implications are massive and growing exponentially. Cloud computing is projected to consume 1,963 billion kWh by 2020, creating CO2 emissions of 1,034 megatonnes. Using advance computation and robot fabrication, Unclear Cloud attempts to reify a structural representation of the cloud’s nebulous and an embedded sound installation, composed from recordings by Samartzis of glacial melting recorded in the Swiss Alps, explores the environmental impact of this cloud computing and its massive energy requirements.
Alongside this, a newly-commissioned structure by Melbourne designer Alex Goad is presented. Best known for creating MARS (Modular Artificial Reef Structure), a ceramic structure designed to house transplanted corals, Goad furthers this area of research by creating a body of work investigating how we can design recuperative structures for temperate marine ecosystems that are in decline. Combining parametric design with 3D printing and traditional manufacturing, Goad’s 2021 project uses complex geometric outcomes at scale to develop ‘ecological structures’ – as replacements and aids for damaged maritime ecosystems.
Converging at the interface of architecture, fashion and textiles, RMIT Researchers Dr Leanne Zilka and Dr Jenny Underwood have produced a newly-commissioned 3D knitting installation for the exhibition.
Image: Child wearing Daijuzu (Large Prayer Beads) (2019), Guy Keulemans & Kyoko Hashimoto. Concrete, steel rebar. Photo: Romon Yang.