Istanbul Design Biennial

N°41 Workout Computer by Bless blends physical training and computer work.



Bringing cultural innovators together at the cross roads of Europe and Asia, the second Istanbul Design Biennial attempts to reappropriate the manifesto. Curator Zoë Ryan has based the festival’s concept on a quote from the French philosopher Paul Valéry: 'The future isn’t what it used to be.' On display at the historic Galata Greek Primary School are more than 50 international statement-based projects. The correlated, but eclectic mix, addresses everything from new domesticity to public interventions.

Vying for an alternative to monotonous catwalk shows, Franco-Turkish fashion house Dice Kayek opts to present its latest collections through a series of fashion films. The latest iteration, White foretells Istanbul in the year 20300 as a dystopian winter-land marked by colourful apparitions and material combinations.

In the Norms and Standards section of the Biennale, projects that ironically challenge the status quo can be found. Bless debuts N°41 Workout Computer – a retooled version of the N°40 launched in 2010 – which blends two daily tasks: working behind a screen and training at the gym. Punching bags function as a keyboard, allowing viewers to physically ‘type’ messages.

Mischer’Traxler presents Knowledge-Tools-Memory, a blanket that serves as both a tool kit and an illustrated instruction manual. The project re-examines society’s lost connection with the production of everyday objects. The Vienna-based design duo questions whether or not the perceived value of an object changes once the manufacturing process is made evident.

Istanbul Design Biennial runs until 14 December 2014

Photos courtesy of the designers

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