Excuses are like belly buttons, everybody has one. I’ll leave going into my belly button for another time, but yes, some exciting (and not so exciting) things have taken priority and this post has been, well, postponed to say the least.
But onto the good stuff: my annual design pilgramage to see the Designs of the Year!
Walking from Liverpool street, I ambled down past Tower Bridge where I successfully negotiated my way through a sea of selfie sticks. Crossing the Thames and down some cobbles, its a simple enough walk and the first exhibition on show seemed quite fitting considering my chosen mode of transport: Camper shoes.
( Love the tennis shoes )
Honestly, I had never heard of Camper before. This ignorance was kind of nice in a way.
Had it been Nike, I would have instantly had a preconceived notion of what I was going to see, and my reaction to posters or shoes would have been biased by my cultural knowledge. I was able to walk among the work and take it in objectively. I’d say this is the best mindset to be in at the Design Museum. The work on show always asks me, or the public really, to challenge why we do what we do and present possible alternatives. So laces done up tight and mind open, I headed upstairs.
Designs of the Year!
Yes! All things weird and wonderful! Battery running low, I could only photograph a few things and this calf alert was among the first.
Apparently, a cow’s tail makes a particularly uncommon movement just before birthing a calf. The attached sensor sends a text to the farmer that he or she has 15 minutes
to get the cigars out!
With 4 percent left on the battery:
A poster for an archeology exhibition. I really enjoyed this. It really utilised its surroundings, having been positioned at bus stops. The interactivity : it encourages waiting passengers to take a coin to the black film like a scratch card to uncover the image. The appropriateness : uncover the image, uncover the past like an archeologist. Wonderful! And the uniqueness: people marked it with their own touch, scratch graffiti in a way, making each poster an original. Finally, the irony: here it is in a museum, turning itself into a cultural relic.
3 percent on the battery:
I see youuuu. Actually I see me seeing me. This was a bit on the spooky side. Posters with a collective 1984, Big Brother, I’m watching you theme had sensors that read the data that all smart phones are constantly emitting. That tiny screen showed a live video of me and the info on my phone; that it was an iPhone by Apple, the model number, product code and other data. A secondary aspect to this was a 1980s printer that printed out all this info on a continuous stream.
So why the printer? It makes it real. I liked the thought that went into this. We accept that images on a screen can disappear into cyber space, be stored on a cloud, swiped for deletion or just plain powered down. But Print! That makes it real. It’s tangible. Now that it exists in the real world, what evil hands could it fall into?! Only the Shadow knows!
Speaking of shadows, there was a lamp post that recorded your shadow, delayed it and altered it after you passed by. A nice bit of playful interactivity, but I preferred the Responsive Street Furniture by Ross Atkin Associates.
Crossing lights stay green for longer and lights shine brighter for people with certain physical conditions. This website with a video showing it in action is most definitely worth a look. This was my top choice by far.
My battery was pretty much gone by now, and no, I couldn’t use the table that charges devices just by placing them on it.
There’s so much more to the exhibit, from ugly food to currency redesigns to cars that drive themselves (and oh yeah, the wheel was reinvented). I’d say brave the selfie sticks and make the journey, its always worth a visit.