Designing the future. Operae 2016.
A dialogue with Annalisa Rosso
interviewMatteo Barbi, photo Insomnia. A triptych on sleeplessness
Courage, bravery and respon- sibility describe the revolution that is taking place in the world of design. These words are also highlighted in the manifesto of Operae 2016, the seventh edition of the festival promoting Turin independent design, where Annalisa Rosso- author of the ma- nifesto itself- is involved as guest curator. A declaration of intent and at a same time a call to arms.
Annalisa, why did you choose a manifesto for this edition of Operae?
“Be brave”, the subtitle of my manifesto, is a sort of appeal to be courageous, because designing the future implies making con- scious and brave choices. I believe that nowadays everyone should be responsible for their own choices as the will determine the future for better or for worse. This is not a conciliatory attitude, I am just prompting people to take on their responsibilities bravely. This is an exhilarating answer, it explains exactly what happens with young generations and emerging designers, it is in their DNA, a kind of innate awareness.
The centrality of the human being is a typical theme inve- stigated by future designers. Where can we find this feature in the designers you selected for this new edition?
Emotions and experience are common and recognizable traits, but they are also a way to interpret design as socially responsible, cul- turally sustainable and humanly conscious. The Insomnia trilogy project by the duo Cjnv E Verilin (Charlotte Jonckheer + Nel Ver- beke) and the collection of textiles for the night is a perfect example of a design research that focusses on the most vulnerable aspects of the human being but also on their reality , as sooner or later all of us will experience insomnia. Through this project, the two Belgian artists investigated three different facets of insomnia with great sensitivity and touch: the annihilating, existential and romantic. The same patterns can be found in their respective works: “Pas perdus”- a carpet on which you have to walk on barefoot- will be exhibited here in Turin. Whereas Nel, since the beginning of her career, has carried on a poetic research on themes like nostalgia, melancholy, utopia, that she later revealed in her refined pieces of art and through an uncertain aesthetics.Generally all the designers involved inter- pret the sensitivity connected to the project according to their own background.Some of them have more scientific approaches, others have more visionary views that derives from the biochemical laboratories; some others chose to refer to a traditional craftsman- ship and tried to adapt it to the future.
The purpose of retracing the borders of design explains your incessantly travelling around the world to visit biennial exhibitions, design week, exhibitions and fairs. Where do they designers that we find at Operae come from?
They come from Russia, Japan, Belgium and obviously Italy: many different nationalities but sharing the same philosophy. Another common trait is their young age-between 25 and 30- but all of them have a great awareness of their work , a well defined point of view on the perspectives of contemporary design, but also the willingness to build up the future with their own hands, besides a spontaneous inclination and ability to collaborate.
Multidisciplinary approach and the need for specific skills are the core themes of your manifesto. How important are these two aspects nowadays?
In order to be a designer, a 3D printer is not enough. You need specific skills and a good preparation. It is crucial that those who want to be designers are able to communicate with people through different languages and skills. A multidisciplinary approach works only if you are able to collaborate, if different actors (engineers, designers, biochemists, philosophers) are ready to share ideas and their know-how in order to reach a common goal. Unfortunately, this is not obvious and this is why schools should train students to work in collaboration with other disciplines. However, this openness and interest towards other fields should not be detrimental of specialisations, likewise necessary. These ideas can be applied to different subjects, but in my opinion it suits specifically design, which transforms concepts and discoveries into functional objects. This year for the firs time at Operae you also host a section dedicated to the major International contemporary design galleries.
What reasons underlie this choice and what role do they play in the design system?
Nowadays collecting contemporary design works is particularly meaningful for research, because the galleries allow artists like Charlotte or Nel to carry out their projects with more freedom without the constraints imposed by the industry and the mass market. Moreover collecting means recognizing and give the proper value to objects, to the idea and the project that lie underneath them. It means also choosing, selecting rather then accumulating unnecessary things.