A design and research laboratory examining the oceans’ wellbeing will open at the Design Museum Helsinki on 6 September
The Critical Tide exhibition, which combines design and research, will open at the Design Museum’s Gallery in September during the Helsinki Design Week. The exhibition brings together projects and works that explore the sea and the potential for positive impact through design. Critical Tide will combine research, activism and community engagement within the exhibition space.
At a time of deep ecological crises, Critical Tide will open our eyes to the urgent issues our oceans face and showcase creative ways of intervening. The exhibition challenges visitors to experiment, learn and immerse themselves while calling for a complete redesign of our relationship with the seas.
“We are showing how design can act on the imperative for sustainability. Asking how can we as humans be more benign – do less harm – to the world we live in?” say the curators.
The exhibition was created by a multi-professional, international team: Julia Lohmann (designer and professor at Aalto University based in Helsinki), Pirjo Haikola (designer, scuba diving instructor and researcher at RMIT in Melbourne), Gillian Russell (designer, curator and researcher at Emily Carr University in Vancouver) and Gero Grundmann (designer and illustrator based in Helsinki).
Critical Tide exhibition includes a seaweed design laboratory, oil absorbent mats made of hair, and an Ocean Confessional booth for confessing sins against the seas – just to name a few. All the different projects exhibited raise awareness or intervene in marine ecosystems to make a positive impact towards sustainability.
“We set out to present a range of possibilities that enable visitors to actively engage with sustainability and the oceans.” the curators say.
Design brings people face-to-face with global problems
Critical Tide casts a critical eye over a topical theme. People’s co-existence with nature and other species has been intensively explored in current design practice. For example, the Broken Nature Triennale, which opened in Milan this spring, highlights the importance of design and creative solutions when exploring the interconnecting threads between species. The Ocean Plastics exhibition, which voices concerns about the intensification of plastic waste and its impacts in the oceans, has just opened in Gothenburg’s Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft.
The Chief Curator of Design Museum Helsinki Suvi Saloniemi has noticed that exhibitions around the world are now examining the environmental crisis and questioning our relationship with the planet and its species – the importance of interspecies cooperation.
”This process of re-organizing the co-existence of different species will also inevitably change the position of design and designers. Exhibitions around the world are suggesting that designers and the design industry should start to be accountable to our planet instead of the market economy and trade. The works displayed at the Critical Tide are considering different ways design could be involved in the birth of a new human-ocean relationship” Saloniemi describes.
Critical Tide exhibition opens at the Helsinki Design Week 6 September and is open until 27 October 2019.