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Minding the Digital: Design Society’s Inaugural Exhibition

The Shekou-based platform’s first show considers the powerful role design and digitalisation play in our daily lives – and in the future of our species.



BY Tamsin Bradshaw

February 8th, 2018


Past and future, human and technological, design and digital: these elements and the relationships between them interact in the two-storey maze that is Minding the Digital. This is the inaugural exhibition for Design Society, the Shekou, Shenzhen, based platform for innovation and connection through design.

Minding the Digital is a relevant first exhibition for Design Society. Located in the Main Gallery at Sea World Culture and Arts Center, it explores the digitalisation of our lives, looking at its impact on our societies and the directions it could go in future, with particular reference to China. The exhibition also looks at design’s symbiotic relationship with the digital, and its role as a mediator between man and machine.

The labyrinthine space was designed by architecture and urbanism studio MRVDV, who collaborated with Design Society’s curatorial team, while thonik was responsible for the graphic elements of the exhibition.

Minding the Digital begins with displays designed objects across a range of disciplines, all created using digital technologies. Creations like Jenny Sabin Studio’s Polythread show how nature’s forms – in this case, cellular structures – inspire design. Polythread is a machine-made responsive surface; a preview of the possibilities of adaptive architecture.

Also on display here in Digital Encounters are products that show how robotics can preserve and enhance craft-based designs. Joris Laarman’s Adaptation chair was made using a mix of 3D printing and craft techniques.

Next up is Digital Interaction, a look at man’s relationship with products that are designed to respond to our behaviours by tracking and analysing the data they receive and reacting to it. This section of the exhibition features 13 digital works ranging from smartphones to robots, from big data to artificial intelligence.

In this section, you will find Studio Nick Verstand’s Anima II, a sphere that tracks visitor reactions and emotions, reinterpreting them in beautiful audiovisual displays inspired by Wu Xing philosophy, which explains the universe and our own bodies through a set of cycles governed by the five elements.

Minding The Digital runs until 6 March 2018. Visit designsociety.cn for more information!