Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque
Two opposing bullets collide. AK47 vs M16

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I attend many exhibitions throughout the year, as I love being inspired and finding a designer or creative that I did not know before as well as attending exhibitions of my favourite creatives. Most of the time I go, immerse myself in the exhibition and then come home speaking highly of it (most of the time!).

But, it is rare that I go to an exhibit that is thought provoking in itself and leads me to question the link between design to external factors. The design and violence exhibition in the Science Gallery did just that.

Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque
The Do Hit Chair, 2000. This is sold as a gleaming steel cube but is accompanied with a sledgehammer so that the buyer can beat it into the shape of a chair. Violence is framed as both release and a form of creative expression.

The exhibition looks at the link between design and the violence that can be carried out in the world. It is certainly not an aspect of ‘design’ that I had thought about before, and it really did make me take a step back and look at the world in a slightly different light. When I think of design and the topics that I cover on Floralesque – most of it is light and creative and there is no obvious negative side to it. But when you delve deeper into design and start to think about the design of weapons or torture devices it is a very different story. Design is not as innocuous as you may think.

Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque
The Bitcom Miner, 2014. This is the Bitmain’s Antminer S5 Computer – designed for ‘mining’ bitcoin.
Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque
As a vegetarian I find this particularly disturbing. Animal rights activist and scientist Temple Grandin cerated the serpentine ramp to ensure the ‘humane’ treatment of cattle. They were first used for vaccinations and then in slaughter houses. The ramp is supposed to prevent cattle from being scared by workers or the abattoir ahead. It really raises the question of reducing the suffering of animals that are often being led to be murdered.

The entire experience takes you on a journey through this intersection of design and violence in our ever-complicated world. And they “hope to draw connections between places near and far, between our everyday actions and their causes and consequences, and to show how violence and design can act both for and against power and the realisation of social change“.

Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque
The AK-47. This is named after it’s soviet military engineer Mikhail Kalashnikov and the year of it’s launhc – 1947. This is easily recognised world wide and has been involved in countless atrocities. There are estimated to be 75 to 100 MILLLION AK-47’s of varying authenticity around the world – making it the most prevalent gun in the world.

In a world which sometimes can feel like violence and war is beginning to dominate, the objects that are used do become important. The deliberate creating and designing of items to inflict pain and harm is not something that is widely discussed. We live in a world where violence is all around us – just turn on the TV. And this is only the violence that the media choose to show – what about the increased environmental violence that we are impacting on the natural world around us by tour increased designs on the planet? What about the cyber designs to attack online? We cannot easily escape it not matter how rose tinted the glasses that you try and wear.

Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque 01

Not all of the items on display have negative connotations/uses. These pair of sports trousers are embedded with a special sensitive film that alerts the wearer to injuries of any kind that they may not otherwise know about due to nerve damage. When the wearer sustains drama then the film will change colour to advise the severity of the impact.

Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque
THE WEIGHT OF WATER. Elaine Hoey, 2016. This virtual-reality installation invites the viewer to experience an abstract visual landscape while navigating the difficult boat journey made by refugees as Europe begins to close its borders to those seeking asylum.

The groundbreaking exhibit is a collaboration between the Science Gallery and also the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. It has free admission and is on at the Science Gallery, Dublin until 22nd January 2017. It is certainly an exhibition that I would recommend that you go see – even just to see the other side of design that perhaps you like me do not think of often. Design is all around us in the day to day and I liked how this really brought this home to me. You can read more about it here. If you find that you are thinking of the topics after you leave the exhibition then there is also a website covering the topics here.

Design and Violence Exhibit Floralesque
HUMANAE. Angélica Dass, 2012. Race and skin colour exhibit – For this ongoing project, the artist is building a photographic archive of portraits classified by the specific colour of the participant’s skin according to the ubiquitous PANTONE® colour chart used by designers.

All images taken by me on Nikon DSLR, the detail under images taken from the information cards at the exhibit.



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