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Exhibition presents a cross-section of the main exhibits at the BIO26 │ Biennial of Design in Ljubljana
Installation view of Common Knowledge: Design in Times of the Information Crisis © SKD, Photo: Klemens Renner.

DRESDEN.- The exhibition “Common Knowledge – Design in Times of the Information Crisis”, hosted by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), presents a cross-section of the main exhibits at the BIO26 | Biennial of Design in Ljubljana – Europe’s oldest design biennial, going back to the 1960s.

This 26th edition of the international festival, organised every two years by the Museum of Architecture and Design (Muzej za arhitekturo in oblikovanje, MAO), was jointly conceived by Thomas A. Geisler, director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum, and the Brazilian curator and journalist Aline Lara Rezende. It is dedicated to one of the greatest challenges of our times: the interconnection between the information crisis and society.

Looking into the issue of design’s role and potential in shaping knowledge and truth – and taking into consideration what is known as the post-factual age – designers, architects, communication experts, education professionals and sociologists entered into intercultural exchange and interdisciplinary collaboration to create projects and exhibitions which were presented at various locations in Ljubljana from 14 November 2019 to 9 February 2020. Six examples (a library, a museum, a university, a daily newspaper, a retirement home and a botanical garden) were used to develop possible approaches for making knowledge accessible, producing it and getting it across to others. The exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum provides filmed insights into these sometimes very site-specific proposals, integrated into an overall presentation of contemporary works – from the prototype to the product – with references to the history of media and design.

“We have faster access to knowledge and information than any generation before, yet we are in a deep crisis of processing and trust. Apart from anything else, this is affecting the actions we take with regard to climate change or the current COVID-19 pandemic. Design could be a catalyst that exacerbates the information crisis – or, equally, it could also engage in the discussion and become part of the solution “, Thomas A. Geisler sums up the situation.

The exhibition in the Wasserpalais (Water Palace) at Schloss Pillnitz comprises five themed rooms outlining classic and new fields of practice when it comes to creating and conveying knowledge, running the gamut from artistic data processing and the design of information and media, to investigative and speculative design approaches. Examples include large-format infographics by the French artistic duo Bureau d’études, or analogue and digital interfaces by the design collective Commonplace Studio.

As a satellite presentation, some 40,000 digitalised versions of design prints from the old library of decorative arts will be made accessible via a “serendipity searcher” (generating random hits) as an interactive display in the study room of the SKD’s Kupferstich-Kabinett (Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs). This dialogue project is part of the 300th anniversary of the Kupferstich-Kabinett. On view from 14 August to 1 November, it will explore new ways of accessing archival materials.

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