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The Ruin Exhibition

The Ruin is an exhibition running this summer in Rotterdam that delves into some of the issues that will be dealt with in the future by The New Institute.

By Editor / 17-07-2013

Do things pass by, and then come back again in a slightly different form or substance? If so, ruins could not just be remnants of the past but at the same time building blocks for the future. And so The New Institute, parent organisation of, organises The Ruin

The Ruin consists of fragments of recent exhibitions by sister organisations, each one touches on an aspect of the future agenda of The New Institute. The exhibition runs through summer and thus extends into what will be the first full cultural year for the TNI, which was established half a year ago.

How tomorrow’s machines and related methods of production will shape our lives and our social system is the object of a part called The Machine – Designing a new industrial revolution. The industrial revolution isn’t finished, designers tell us. The Machine is produced by Design Hub Limburg and the curator is Jan Boelen from Z33.

A concrete example of innovation comes from the city of Vienna. In Werkstadt Vienna – Design Engaging the City, we see what happens when young meets old. How traditional materials, craftsmen and craft industries from the city of Vienna form a breeding ground for new designs. Werkstadt (‘work city’) Vienna shows how important local and regional production methods are as an engine of innovation. Curators are Sophie Lovell and Studio Makkink & Bey.

Jewellery design is an eye-catching discipline in the Netherlands, even though it’s not as obviously present as the ubiquitous “table-and-chair-design”. Designers like Gijs Bakker, Emmy van Leersum and others have paved the way for renewal and experiment. With Schmuck, Marjan Unger reveals the working method and perspective of this group.

A few years ago the photographer Johannes Schwartz produced a series of evocative images that can be described in the first instance as ruins. It was only later that they turned out to be recent buildings in Egypt that will probably never be finished because of the drop in the volume of tourists. Treppen, High Rise/Down Fall bears witness to the direct and dynamic relation between architecture, urban planning, landscape and the economy.

Not referring to a recent popular novel, Matsuko Yokokoji & Graham Harwood (YoHa) invited 55 people to choose a so-called grey medium and to write a short text about it. This text was then presented together with the object in a cabinet of curiosities that evoked associations with a distribution centre: Evil Media Distribution Centre. The centre is a response to the book Evil Media (2012) by Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey who argue for a broader notion of media and a deeper, more complex understanding of how these grey media influence the way we behave, think and perceive. The installation was previously shown at the Transmediale (Berlin, 2013).

Playboy Architecture shows how the magazine in the 1960s and 1970s used architecture and design as important instruments for the development of a new identity for the American man, but also the other way around. Playboy was to be of crucial importance for the way in which (interior) architecture developed in the period mentioned.

Deaf and Unstable presents The Sentient City Survival Kit, which includes a collection of instruments for survival in the “sentient city of the near future. The Sentient City Survival Kit is a project by Creative Capital – the artist/architect is Mark Shephard.

The last items are the scale models of the Rotterdam City Hall, which are almost 100 years old and were almost forgotten. Modernist times weren’t friendly for the monumental, imposing century-old building, once it didn’t fit in with the prevailing mood. The scale models were seriously neglected but in 2005 were incorporated in the collection of what is now known as The New Institute.

Small image at left from the "Treppen, High Rise/Down Fall" exhibition by Johannes Schwartz.

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