A new traveling exhibition, “Design Transfigured/Waste Reimagined,” is making its way to the Valley from Feb. 1 to May 17.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art will be the second institution to show these works since debuting at Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in 2019, according to a press release.
“Design Transfigured/Waste Reimagined” is the first exhibition to recognize designers’ bold and inventive responses to the current state of our environment through designs that reimagine discarded materials and waste into handsome and useful products. The exhibition features 30 international designers and studios from Asia, Latin America and Europe.
“We love it when we notice significant trends or movements in both art and design,” said exhibition curators Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox of c2-curatorsquared in a joint statement.
“Often, one precedes the other, but typically the artist approaches themes more conceptually and the designer must find a function or use for their interpretation. Interestingly, however, in the case of ‘Design Transfigured/Waste Reimagined,’ the designs are both conceptual approaches as well as potential and/or actual products ready for the market. In the face of climate change, the more creative minds behind solutions, the better.”
An exhibition like this provides audiences with new ways of thinking about design, the life of products and how everything becomes a form of refuse.
Waste is overtaking natural resources, but these exhibiting designers consider it a resource to reclaim and radically transform into useful products, the press release stated. The question the designers are examining is: How can waste be turned back into something useful instead of making more garbage?
Sourced from polluted air, land and water; from the by-products of manufacturing, mining, agriculture and aquaculture; or from food and human waste, these products on display transfigure waste into building materials, home furnishings and fashion accessories.
“Working at the forefront of design, these labs and studios are making bold moves to rethink the life of a product and its material --- from design to production to disposal,” said Lauren R. O’Connell, SMoCA assistant curator, in a prepared statement. “By bringing this exhibition to Scottsdale, it allows us to open a dialogue between the international designers on view with the innovative designers and thinkers here in the Phoenix area.”
SMoCA is collaborating with the Center for Philosophical Technologies --- a strategic initiative of Arizona State University and a global hub for critical and speculative research on philosophy, technology and design --- on a series of programs in conjunction with the exhibition.
The two public events will include international designers Jesper Eriksson (Sweden), Agne Kucerenkaite (the Netherlands), Wendy Plomp (the Netherlands), Kevin Rouff (United States/United Kingdom) and Remco van de Craats (the Netherlands).
Additionally, presenting this exhibition at SMoCA allows the community to contribute and continue a conversation in multiple places. The museum has previously traveled two of c2-curatorsquared’s exhibitions, beginning in 2007.
“Traveling an exhibition from another institution is one way to provide our audience with access to the new ideas and artworks, organized by curators whose research can take many years to develop into one exhibition,” Ms. O’Connell said.
“In this case, Judy Hoos Fox and Ginger Gregg Duggan are curators whose cutting-edge perspective on design in our contemporary culture is exceptional. Exhibitions like ‘Design Transfigured/Waste Reimagined’ supports the mission of SMoCA to show contemporary art, design and architecture and engage those communities. Design exhibitions look at more than the object to reveal the process of design thinking and present cutting-edge ideas.’”