AMSTERDAM – At the Stedelijk Museum in the Dutch capital, the current exhibition celebrates the talents of 26 young designers as it dares to break the status quo by asking critical questions about today’s most pressing issues. Dream Out Loud presents to visitors a whole host of works that could either be described as pure fantasy or the creative and innovative solutions of the near future.
Technology, society and consumer culture are a few of the topics raised by the works in the exhibition. Viewers are left asking themselves numerous questions. How does my meat consumption affect my diet and the environment? Is it really possible to upgrade the organs in the human body? Why am I so caught up with the stature of luxury brands? Or alternatively leaving them with an epiphany that volcanic residue can make great kitchen counter tops.
The In Vitro Meat Cook Book on display explores a sustainable, animal friendly future for meat eating. A concept that suggests we could eat steaks knitted like scarfs, developed under a microscope seems rather far-fetched. Researchers at Mastricht University, however, have already proven such innovations are possible by producing the first laboratory grown hamburger. Even though in terms of mass production the technology is not yet advanced enough, this project opens up the possibility of an entire new food culture. Agatha Haikes, similarly looks to the innovation of technology to indulge the possibility of evolving human organs via 3D bio-printing. Though the work may be mere speculation, Haikes visualises a way to cure and treat diseases through the incorporation of animal cells with useful properties, for example electric eel cells that act as a natural defibrillator.
Designers such as Elisa Van Joolen on the other hand look to our obsession with brands and asks: ‘Where does the identity of a fashion label begin and where does it end?’ In the Invert Footwear project, she turns iconic sneaker designs inside out. The sleek marketed image of the brand therefore disappears and is replaced by the stitches created by human hands. It serves to remind the viewer of the labour by the factory workers, in addition to making them think the next time they look at a pair of Nike trainers.
Finally, a subject from the exhibition that cannot be overlooked is the future possibilities for upcycling and a sustainable environment. Studio Drift is just one example of many design studios featured in the exhibition that prove the abundant use of virgin, finite materials is not always necessary. By using volcanic residue, the designers have engineered a deep black material closely resembling obsidian to create a series of mirrors and appliances.
The Dream Out Loud Exhibition continues at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam until 1 January 2017.
Photos courtesy of Gert Jan van Rooij