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  • What If (Dublin)

Raby, Fiona and Dunne, Anthony, 2009, Show, Exhibition or Event, What If (Dublin)

Abstract or Description:

Raby developed three ‘What If...’ exhibitions with Dunne (RCA), asking what role design can play in imagining possible futures and raising social, cultural and ethical questions, building on 20 years’ practice in Critical Design theorised inter alia in Dunne and Raby’s Design Noir (2001), Hertzian Tales (2005) and Speculative Everything (2013).
Raby’s research included concept development, extended collaboration with exhibitors to develop their contributions, and devising the engagement strategy: all three required localised approaches to audiences, circumstances and commissioning hosts. Extensive investigation was needed in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, surveillance technologies and the domestication of natural phenomena, working with scientific partners at Imperial College and Cambridge University.
‘What If…’ Dublin (2009) comprised 29 projects envisioning hypothetical futures and was reviewed in Irish broadsheets (Examiner, Times, Independent), Wired and New Scientist: ‘the exhibits…address questions on scientific or medical ethics that must be asked in our bio-technological age’ (http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2009/12/post-2.html). Exhibits were also shown at the Art Institute of Chicago, Israel Museum, MoMA and Ars Electronica Center.
About 1.8 million people pass the windows of the Wellcome Trust building in London annually, making them an important means of science communication. Wellcome commissioned a changing ‘What If…’ exhibition of 15 themes over 15 months (February 2010 – March 2011). Raby reconceived the design strategy with exhibits engaging at different distances, from passing buses to close-up study.
The third exhibition, for the Beijing International Design Triennial (2011), explored the impact on future life of novel technologies through 58 projects in 130 exhibits from 36 designers (12 from China), for a diverse audience. The exhibition and related symposium at Tsinghua University were supported by the British Council. The Triennial was visited by approximately 500,000 visitors and featured widely, e.g. China Central Television, People's Daily, New York Times (all 2011) and Zhuangshi journal (2011 and 2012).

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
School or Centre: School of Design
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2011 16:45
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2013 15:11
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/702

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