ARE WE HUMAN? THE DESIGN OF THE SPECIES
2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years.
Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley announced the curatorial concept of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, which they are directing and will open in October 2016: ARE WE HUMAN? THE DESIGN OF THE SPECIES 2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years. It will explore the intimate relationship between the concepts of “design” and “human.” Design always presents itself as serving the human but its real ambition is to redesign the human. The history of design is therefore a history of evolving conceptions of the human. To talk about design is to talk about the state of our species. Humans have always been radically reshaped by the designs they produce and the world of design keeps expanding. We live in a time when everything is designed, from our carefully crafted individual looks and online identities, to the surrounding galaxies of personal devices, new materials, interfaces, networks, systems, infrastructures, data, chemicals, organisms, and genetic codes. The average day involves the experience of thousands of layers of design that reach to outer space but also reach deep into our bodies and brains. We literally live inside design, like the spider lives inside the web constructed from inside its own body. But unlike the spider, we have spawned countless overlapping and interacting webs. Even the planet itself has been completely encrusted by design as a geological layer. There is no longer an outside to the world of design. Design has become the world.
Design is the most human thing about us. Design is what makes the human. It is the basis of social life, from the very first artifacts to the exponential expansion of human capability. But design also engineers inequalities and new forms of neglect. More people than ever in history are forcibly displaced by war, lawlessness, poverty, and climate at the same time that the human genome and the weather are being actively redesigned. We can no longer reassure ourselves with the idea of “good design.” Design needs to be redesigned.
The exhibition will be designed by Andrés Jaque, Visiting Professor at Princeton University SoA, and it will act as clusters of interactive clouds for reflection and discussion. Evangelos Kotsioris, PhD candidate in the History and Theory program at Princeton School of Architecture is the Assistant Curator of the project. The online dimensions are being directed by Iván López Munuera, PhD candidate in the History and Theory program at Princeton School of Architecture.