Design for the Unthinkable World is a journey through the vision of six international art/design studios as part of the festival sponsored by Agora Design 2023, with the support of VCUarts, Agora Design and the Municipality of Castrignano de’ Greci.
The project is the outcome of an illuminating collaboration among invited artists curated by Paul Rodgers, Craig Bremner and Giovanni Innella prompted by a reading of Victor Papanek’s text Design for the Real World, fifty years after its first publication in 1971.
The challenge posed to the invited artists, as archaeologists of the contemporary, was to recognize current reality, as the Real World actually looms elusive and may never have existed or may have only been imagined to simplify our existence.
Their work outlines the dynamics of the “Unthinkable World” in which we find ourselves operating, urging the visitor not only to an immersive experience but orienting them to a critical consciousness through devices of disorientation and destabilization.
Ani Liu with her The Surrogacy continues the discourse started years ago by Elio Caccavale regarding the intimate biological compatibility between humans and pigs. In a similar vein, Parsons & Charlesworth describe a hypothetical group of humans using advanced technologies to cohabit with other animal species. Mischer’traxler give the Danube River with its flora and fauna the rights it needs to legally defend itself from human abuse. Guy Keulemans and Kyoko Hashimoto direct the gaze toward fossil and mineral resources by making people appreciate their scarcity. Jose de la O focuses on the culture of his native Mexico by ironically reflecting on how certain household appliances could have been developed according to local popular culture. Finally, SulSolSal shows with a video essay The World Without Us a dystopian future in which the global South ceases to exist.