Design and Violence

LYNN SCARFF

Science Gallery Dublin is an explorer of boundaries, the sometimes hidden and often rich, interstitial spaces that fall between academic disciplines and regular pursuits. Our aim in this exploration is to find concordant and discordant views, objects, people and ideas and manifest them as a compelling experience for our visitors to engage and converse with.

Critical to this pursuit is that what we do connects with our audience, that it offers people an opportunity to participate and, perhaps most importantly, that it surprises them! DESIGN AND VIOLENCE may strike some as an unusual exhibition for an art-science space like Science Gallery Dublin to produce. Surely it belongs more in the realm of a design museum or contemporary art space? And yes, it was conceived of by the brilliant duo of Paola Antonelli of The Musuem of Modern Art, (MOMA), New York and Jamer Hunt of Parsons School of Design New York. But why realise it in its first exhibition form in Science Gallery Dublin — what compelled us to this theme?

On one hand, we live in a world where research suggests we have never had it so good, yet on the other, we observe violent acts occurring across our globe with minute-by-minute accounts and updates. The evolution of warfare and technology in the post 9/11 world is at times intangible and unseeable with hidden complexities, networks and depths beyond our understanding. Do we switch off and log out? How can we engage in conversations around the objects and systems that, with intent or bad judgement, have violent consequences?

Our curatorial team for DESIGN AND VIOLENCE brings a heavyweight of experience and deep thought on this theme. They have assembled a range of objects and ideas that will surprise as much as they might disturb. Ultimately, our aim with this show is not to set out a bleak reflection of humankind and its propensity to violence, but to offer Science Gallery Dublin as a platform — a space to try on some potential futures that are emerging, to reflect, to discuss and, finally, to become more aware by adding an additional lens and viewpoint to our visitors’ arsenal.