21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials

visit ‘Material, or ‘ at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT in tokyo

 

‘Material, or ‘ is the latest exhibition on view at Tokyo’s 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT museum. Launched on July 14th, 2023, under the curation of Satoshi Yoshiizumi from TAKT PROJECT, the showcase examines how we assign meaning to raw materials as they become a medium for creation. According to Yoshiizumi, most objects we encounter in our everyday lives were designed in some way or another using raw resources, which hold no particular meaning in their primordial state. It is only through the process of creation that humans turn them meaningful, relating them to an object as a medium through their relationship with people or other living things. ‘Such relationships with raw materials can be thought of as dialogues. Through them, we interact with the earth’s resources and create objects,’ the curator writes in his statement. 

The exhibition is on view until November 5th, 2023, at the museum’s Gallery 1&2, featuring products created by designers and artifacts resulting from research. Participants within ‘Material, or ‘ include international names like FormafantasmaDRIFT, Pete Oxford, and Zsofia Kollar. 

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
exhibition view at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT | image © designboom

 

 

Satoshi Yoshiizumi on how we perceive raw materials

 

‘Material, or ‘ at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT (see more here) focuses on our perception vis-a-vis the essence of an object. When looking at a created artifact, we rarely ponder the ‘stuff’ from which it is made. Like with a comfortable-looking chair, we recognize it as composed of wood but rarely give attention to the trees in their essential, living sense. In light of that ‘disconnect’, the exhibition proposes that the meaning of designed objects should come from an open dialogue with constituent raw materials instead. Modern society, however, has severed such dialogue, as most people today play no role in designing or making; they become divorced from the source. ‘Makers are confined to a small, select group, and even they have stopped thinking about such primordial matters,‘ Yoshiizumi continues.

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
glow ⇄ grow: globe by TAKT PROJECT | image © designboom

 

 

Furthermore, the showcase spotlights the need to engage in fundamental debates about natural and social sustainability — stripping off all priority given to the designed and finished object to restore the primacy of the essential raw material lying behind. Joining that exploration are art anthropologist Toshiaki Ishikura and biomimetics designer Jun Kamei. Their role focused on deploying cultural-anthropological perspectives to tease how humanity has manipulated nature. From there, they identified a way to revive our sensitivity towards raw materials using recent developments in technology and material science. Architect Ryuji Nakamura helped translate that concept spatially through a seamless layout, allowing visitors to easily flow through the displayed projects. 

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
According to the Grain: Coat rack by Sho Ota | image © designboom

 

 

exploring the exhibition from three starting points

 

‘Material, or ‘ explores our relationship with raw elements from three starting points. The first looks at how unprocessed resources are adapted into a medium and how we assign meaning along the way. Here, Yoshiizumi pinpoints how thought takes over and attributes significance to the material, and how our intervention leads to the discovery of meanings latent within the material itself; the history of such relationships is to be discerned in the art, handiwork, and designs that societies create.

The second starting point of the exhibition invites the audience to feel and consider how the world is entangled with raw resources. Flora, fauna, and even humans are all part of the domain of raw material. If we redirect attention to these relationships, we might find a way to restore that lost interconnectedness and reveal how healing might be affected, reconnecting us to the world. The museum illustrates that premise by presenting research results into liaisons between humanity, non-human actors, and designed objects.

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
Handkerchief / 1945/ Aomori by Kaori Endo | image © designboom

 

 

The third starting point of ‘Material, or ‘ takes the form of case studies, providing examples of renewal in our relationships with those resources. Whether inclusive or exclusive, these heteregonous relationships between people, flora, and fauna determine the becoming of materials into mediums of use. If makers were to adopt this mindset each time they take a raw material in their hands, attitudes and perspectives on the design of object can start to radically transform. Participants spotlight this line of thought through examples of processed media and projects relating to them that have come about through various approaches and technologies.

Ultimately, ‘this exhibition examines how raw materials are perceived and the design possibilities resulting from interactions with the diversity of these non-human objects. We look at the multifarious ways in which the meanings of medium serve as gateways to alternative approaches,‘ concludes Satoshi Yoshiizumi. 

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
Craftica, Perch Stool by Formafantasma | image © designboom

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Green CHAIR by Kwangho Lee | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
‘Sculpture of Nature’ Broom by BRANCH | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
‘Sculpture of Nature’ Stepladder by BRANCH | image © designboom

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The Voices of Time by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Akifumi Nemoto, Seiji Takagi, Takeru Ishimabushi, Yuta Nakano, Kosuke Maeda) | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
The Voices of Time by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Akifumi Nemoto, Seiji Takagi, Takeru Ishimabushi, Yuta Nakano, Kosuke Maeda) | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
Jungle Crow’s Nest | image © designboom

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Craftica, Sponge Stool by Formafantasma | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
calling coals / coal’s calling by Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe) | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
Cryptid by Sae Honda | image © designboom

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Comoris BLOCK by ACTANT FOREST | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
AMPHITEX by Jun Kamei (Amphico) + Youichi Sakamoto + Yuko Sakamoto | image © designboom

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's latest exhibition explores our relationship with raw materials
Craftica, Bladders Water Containers by Formafantasma | image © designboom

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Accompanying Forms (Nishinari) by Shinya Aota | image © designboom

 

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Craftica, Sponge Stool by Formafantasma | image © designboom
Craftica, Sponge Stool by Formafantasma | image © designboom
Muse by Shiori Ono | image © designboom
Muse by Shiori Ono | image © designboom
Entangled Plastic | image © designboom
Entangled Plastic | image © designboom
《 》(Untitled) by Shinya Aota | image © designboom
《 》(Untitled) by Shinya Aota | image © designboom
Human Material Loop Prototype 1.0 by Zsofia Kollar | image © designboom
Human Material Loop Prototype 1.0 by Zsofia Kollar | image © designboom
forest in the shell by Aoi Nagasawa | image © designboom
forest in the shell by Aoi Nagasawa | image © designboom
exhibition view | image © designboom
exhibition view | image © designboom
The Voices of Time by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation | image © designboom
The Voices of Time by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation | image © designboom
'Sculpture of Nature' Stepladder by BRANCH | image © designboom
'Sculpture of Nature' Stepladder by BRANCH | image © designboom
Comoris BLOCK by ACTANT FOREST | image © designboom
Comoris BLOCK by ACTANT FOREST | image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
Penduline Tit's Nest | image © designboom
Penduline Tit's Nest | image © designboom
Yamabiko by Masashi Kanasaki | image © designboom
Yamabiko by Masashi Kanasaki | image © designboom
Japanese Green Woodpecker's Nest | image © designboom
Japanese Green Woodpecker's Nest | image © designboom
Materialing by Haruka Misawa + Misawa Design Institute | image © designboom
Materialing by Haruka Misawa + Misawa Design Institute | image © designboom
forest in the shell by Aoi Nagasawa | image © designboom
forest in the shell by Aoi Nagasawa | image © designboom
'Sculpture of Nature' marble by BRANCH | image © designboom
'Sculpture of Nature' marble by BRANCH | image © designboom
calling coals / coal's calling by Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe) | image © designboom
calling coals / coal's calling by Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe) | image © designboom
calling coals / coal's calling by Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe) | image © designboom
calling coals / coal's calling by Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe) | image © designboom
Bearskin | image © designboom
Bearskin | image © designboom
Cruz Foam by Cruz Foam | image © designboom
Cruz Foam by Cruz Foam | image © designboom
Materialing by Haruka Misawa + Misawa Design Institute | image © designboom
Materialing by Haruka Misawa + Misawa Design Institute | image © designboom
Entangled Plastic | image © designboom
Entangled Plastic | image © designboom
Untitled by Yuji Ueda | image © designboom
Untitled by Yuji Ueda | image © designboom
calling coals / coal's calling by Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe) | image © designboom
calling coals / coal's calling by Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe) | image © designboom

exhibition info:

 

name: Material, or

location: 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Gallery 1&2, Midtown Garden, Tokyo Midtown, Japan 

organizers: 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT | @2121designsight, THE ISSEY MIYAKE FOUNDATION

in association with: Agency of Cultural Affairs; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Minato City Board of Education

curator: Satoshi Yoshiizumi / TAKT PROJECT 

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT directors: Taku Satoh, Naoto Fukasawa

associate director: Noriko Kawakami

program manager: Takako Nakahora

program officer: Moeto Yasuda

planning associates: Toshiaki Ishikura, Jun Kamei

graphic designer: Haruka Misawa / Nippon Design Center

space design: Ryuji Nakamura /Ryuji Nakamura and Associates

text: Yoshinao Yamada

copywriter: Ken Isome / Nippon Design Center 

participating creators: ARKO, Shinya Aota, ACTANT FOREST, Kwangho Lee, Yuji Ueda, Kaori Endo, Sho Ota, Shiori Ono, Masashi Kanasaki, Jun Kamei (Amphico) + Youichi Sakamoto + Yuko Sakamoto, Zsofia Kollar, TAKT PROJECT, DRIFT, Aoi Nagasawa, Chikara Nisato, Masato Hatanaka, Pete Oxford, Formafantasma, BRANCH, Sae Honda, Haruka Misawa + Misawa Design Institute, Katsunobu Yoshida (for printer: Katsunobu Yoshida, for carpenter: Tatsuhiro Ara, for farmer: Katsuya Nito, for basket weavers: Moe Watanabe), and others

participating corporations: Cruz Foam, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Koji Murayama + UNOU JUKU
by AGC Inc., and others

opening dates: July 14 – November 5, 2023 

opening hours: 10:00 – 19:00 

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