Yesterday marked the second week of the collaborative Expo Futures project. Drawing together students from the RCA’s Information Experience Design (IED) and History of Design (HoD) courses and the editors of Visit1862 this project is an exploration of potential directions that International Exhibitions could be taken in the future. The project will culminate in an exhibition on the 17th December and a number of posts on Visit1862 in the New Year.
Yesterday’s seminar was held in the Machines Gallery, the space that will host our exhibition. Part of the of the Maker Space, Fixperts and Maker Library networks, this space provides an exciting opportunity for students to conceive, design and construct their exhibition.
The seminar provided students from IED and HoD the opportunity to share the research that they had carried out over the previous weeks around the six themes they had collectively identified:
- Sensory Experience
The HoD students presented research they had carried out into the International courts at the 1862 International Exhibition. The IED students presented ideas and warnings of good and bad design ideas that they had seen in previous international exhibitions and used these presidents to begin to suggest potential future design practices.
It very quickly became apparent that there were a plethora of comparative points that had be drawn out by both sets of students and that many lines of connection could be drawn between the six themes that they had explored. Some of the most interesting themes included:
- The permanency or ephemerality of exhibitions: how long their physical structure was intended to last when they were built and how long they actually did last and why.
- Unintended design consequences.
- The expected/unexpected/designed/unforeseen influence of ‘the crowd’ on the design of the exhibition space.
- How objects were used to make international statements, often ignoring the more international stories behind their production processes.
These conversations will now be continued over the next week as IED and HoD students begin to work directly together to further shape developing ideas about the futures of international exhibitions. Back in the exhibition space next Thursday, it will be interesting to see how the seeds of ideas have developed and exciting to begin to discuss how this material could be coherently displayed.
Look out for more news next week.
© Ruth Slatter, 2015