During Salone del Mobile 2016 in Milan, the Royal Academy of Art The Hague presented RESET: a truly experimental and interdisciplinary exhibition realized as a collaboration between 20 young artists and designers.
In the intimate environment of a private penthouse in the heart of Ventura Lambrate, the exhibition received more than 23,000 visitors. Art and design professionals, international press and the general public could view in-situ installations and attend a rich programme of performances and design discussions. Alice Rawsthorn, design critic of the International New York Times, congratulated the academy on its successful presentation and Another Magazine named RESET a trendsetter for 2016.
RESET explored the need for a complete reset in our approach to addressing today’s urgent societal issues such as the sustainability of our economic system, effects of technological innovations, migration, energy dependence, durability of political systems and the impact of design and art on daily life.
Natasha Taylor’s performance and documentary entitled “Foreign Object” presented a surprising perspective on an iconic design item – the folding chair – viewed and activated by professional wrestlers as a weapon. Instead of showing new products, Koos Breen and Fabian Bredt established a chain of forms (ideas and opportunities) based on associative morphologic process, distributed throughout the exhibition. The performative installation of Marijn Ottenhof – “Continuous Form’ – confronted visitors with the awkwardness of selling a fictive product described as unique in its uniformity and compliance to EU regulation. Together, but each in their own way, they moved beyond the traditional design object to RESET the context of the design fair.
Bestowing visitors a RESET of perception, Lorena van Bunningen and Majda Vidakovic’s time-based installation “A passing space”, transformed the given location by gradually peeling off layers of coloured latex. Every day, every hour and every minute, visitors experienced a different work. Exploring fluidity in space, Anne Kranenborg’s colourful foam elements – “Fitfully still” – functioned as accents or obstructions of overlooked thresholds, while Ciro Duclos’ installations “Heras” overlaid reflections of the environment and self-reflection. Presented as an alluring bar, “The Feast of Inequality” by Noortje de Brouwer and Nienke Sikkema confronted visitors to experience the frustration of being treated differently for no apparent reason.
With “Treaties and Gifts of Shifting Wills” Quinsy Gario dug into Italy’s colonial past and its attempts to colonize Ethiopia, making a startling connection with the present-day refugee crisis. In a stand-up performance, Gario and his brother depicted poetic interpretations of the non-linear construction of borders and cultural history.
Furthermore, the exhibition hosted a programme of Afternoon RESETs, an open platform for discussions on current design issues. Design critic and curator Angela Rui spoke to architecture and design curator Maja Vardjan and artistic director of Z33 Jan Boelen about a future design fair echoing the theme of RESET. Ernst van der Hoeven and Kirsten Algera from MacGuffin Magazine invited “ex-ex-designers” Lernert & Sander to talk about their new ambitions as designers. Martina Muzi and Tamar Shafrir from Space Caviar entered into a dialogue with RESET visitors at a Domestic Design Jam Session. In addition, for the first time at RESET, the European Design Parliament met for a round table discussion to give form to a new and influential actor in the European design scene. The Dutch Ambassador in Rome, Joep Wijnands, visited the exhibition with a delegation led by the Creative Industries Fund NL and spoke with students and curators.
Marie Ilse Bourlanges