Design – Held at the Hansen House- Cultural Center for Design and Technology and curated by Dana Benshalom, Sonja Olitsky, and Jeremy Fogel, Jerusalem Design Week 2023 focuses on the role of the designer through works that explore the importance of illusion – that conceals and deceives, creating parallel realities – alongside works that deal with disclosure and honesty, examining the possibility of truth and authenticity, despite an abundance of lies and falsehoods. We have selected ten highlights on display.
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The twelfth edition of Israel’s largest design event showcased a wide range of exhibitions, installations, and projects created especially for this year’s theme by more than 200 Israeli and international designers from all over the globe, including Palestine, Ukraine, China and Russia. Illusory, tricking, and deceiving. Jerusalem Design Week invited visitors to give nothing for granted, explore and reflect on how our daily routines and contemporary societies at large have become more and more difficult to understand.
Visitors entering the Hansen House were welcomed by the Blackout Protocol, deceiving parasitic installation by Tel Aviv-based studio HQ Architects. Abstract black shapes and added three-dimensional black forms created a large X when viewed from the right angle. “Like the lie itself, the protocol obscures parts of reality, narrows our worldview, and pushes away the richness and complexity the world offers when experienced holistically.”
Israeli designer Nevo Himmelhoch invited visitors to submit topics to two Chat GTP-powered chairs. Through speakers, the seats created a lively AI-generated conversation. The LOOP-X-MACHINA 2.1 installation invites humans to observe AI algorithms’ evolving deconstructive process to generate their output. “How is AI-generated output made? Most importantly, how do humans perceive that output? Does it ring true or false to human ears?”
The Russian aggression in Ukraine rages on. What can the role of design be in times of such savagery? Is the world now divided into black and white, or do we still need the shades in between? The Typomania project has invited 24 designers, calligraphers and illustrators to answer the latter question through a series of posters displayed on the windows on one of the outer walls of the Hansen House.
Yonatan Levi presented collapsible Betraying Matryoshka dolls with intricate 3D-printed mechanisms. When closed, the dolls appear demure and compact, but when opened, they expand and reveal a variety of Soviet weapons, turning the doll’s iconic concept on its head and subverting its motherly nature.
Maria Feigin and Geaya Blory of Israeli rug design studio Yarnatak presented the installation A Shadow is Present. An almost invisible carpet perfectly mimics the floor tiled floor until it almost disappears, like the possible shadow an object could cast. “The shadow carpet is unlike a natural shadow: its location, weight, texture, and design are fixed, but it does not stand on its own.”
The Agency for Unseen Sights installation by Berlin-based designer Esmée Willemsen transforms anonymous and unassuming spaces into places of interest. Playground-like structures offer new perspectives once climbed. “The unconventional agency offers the possibility to make invisible ‘sights’ visible and critically questions the way we travel far for new perspectives and experiences and the reasons we are going to specific places to gaze.” Can scenic views be enjoyed anywhere?
Inspired by the natural phenomenon of the horizon, Nohlab tricked visitors with the illusory In-line v2 installation. LED panels, reflective surfaces, hazer and quadraphonic sound, turned a small room into an infinite space for an ever-changing time-space experience.
The Matchmaker project and platform for local designers, students and storytellers. They were tasked to expose the ‘hidden Jerusalem’ by creating souvenirs that narrate the story of a specific building in the city.
Amid the dry Motti gardens and the refurbished heritage building of Hansen House. Students of MEATS Elisava – Master in Ephemeral Architecture and Temporary Spaces presented the Llacona illusory installation that immersed visitors into a plane of light that evoked and embodied the atmosphere of a primordial swamp. Water remains a central issue for Jerusalem, the Middle East, and a large part of the world, where this precious resource is scarce and the source of innumerable conflicts. The installation is also “a reminder of our dependence on water and the need to care for it for all life on Earth.”
Lab-grown food can look and feel like anything – but what will that ‘anything’ be, wondered eleven young designers who teamed up to redesign four lab-grown foods such as eggs, dairy, meat, and fish. The main barrier to making novel foods accessible is consumer acceptance. The public’s concerns about unfamiliar food are bad enough without it taking on entirely new forms. “What would you be willing to eat, and what doesn’t look like food anymore? Where do you draw the line?”
- Jerusalem Design Week 2023: all photos by Dor Kedmi, courtesy of JDW.