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Material Legacies
Heidi Jalkh, INFAUNA | A Biomaterial Culture, © Heidi Jalkh

Since 2019, the exhibition series “Design Lab” has invited selected design studios, students and researchers to present current projects and enter into a discourse with the collection of the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts. The series is curated by Claudia Banz, curator for design at the Museum of Decorative Arts. For the 13th and, for the time being, last part of the experimental exhibition series, the museum has invited design researchers from the Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activity. Image Space Material” cluster of excellence at the Humboldt University in Berlin. According to the announcement, they will explore “points of contact and ruptures between traditional crafts and recent developments at the interface of materials research, design, technology and architecture”. To “initiate a dialogue on the historical, present and future conditions of materiality, Design Lab #13 will bring together artefacts from the museum collection with work-in-progress installations by designers* and researchers from the Cluster of Excellence from 4 November 2022 to 26 February 2023. By engaging with a range of different materials and techniques, the exhibition aims to problematise an unsustainable past and present on the one hand, and to develop the notion of possible material futures on the other. This happens in the examination of shape-changing surfaces and phase-changing textiles as well as the processes of lime formation, mineralisation and sedimentation. Corresponding questions in the socio-cultural, economic and political context are: “How can we make better use of leftover material?”, “What can we learn from the transfer of biological processes to material processing?” and “What do materials and artefacts teach us about our relationship to the environment?”

“Matters of Activity. Image Space Material is an interdisciplinary research group that has set itself the goal of creating the foundations for a new culture of materials. Research is conducted at the interface of biology and technology, mind and material, nature and culture. The Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activity” is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

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