Meeting up with Giovanna Massoni, artistic director of Reciprocity Design Liege
15 days from the start of the 2012 edition, media partner Yooko.fr met with Giovanna Massoni, the artistic director of RECIPROCITY Design Liege, for a detailed presentation of the event…
Giovanna, with this edition, the Liege Biennial has changed its name to RECIPROCITY… Can you tell us why?
The name change has several aims: the first has to do with the intention of escaping the Biennial term, which doesn’t expresses any purpose whatsoever apart from a delimitation in time, and therefore, the ‘discontinuity of an event’ ; moving away from that ‘etiquette’, which similarly to the term ‘design week’ means everything and nothing at the same time ; immediately setting an approach, a theoretical line, which first and foremost express a state of mind, an intention ; suggesting with this term the red thread, which positions the tool in a broader context: sociological and social more than industrial and commercial. And finally, determining the axis of confrontation between a theme and another, between the direction and the guest curators, between product design and all-around design, between the event and the public.
The profoundly social dimension of design underlies the entire manifestation… Do you believe that this dimension has been ousted from the discipline for too long?
No, everything happens organically according to the changes in our society, but it is quite significant that we begin to understand the importance of these themes only in times of crisis… It is a form of creativity that reduces the importance of the individual role in order to enhance the creative capacity of a community, which not only provides and implements solutions for the benefit of the community, but is able to make a social product both productive and competitive, up to the point of creating a kind of parallel economy. The designer plays a very important role in this new microsystem.
Can you tell us a little more about the theme of the Memorabilia – Designing Souvenirs call for projects?
The concept came from both a general and very personal reflection: hyperactivity prevents us from finding the time to value our memories, the past is consumed by the speed of present, we endeavor to ‘invest’ in the future without taking responsibility for what we have done in the past. I speak in general terms and terms specific to design: the past of design is both what we learn in books and what our ancestors did before us, either by necessity or desire. It is an invitation to delve into our memory and into the memory of others, and at the same time allocate an important semiotic, historical, and why not emotional role to the object. The object identifies us. We are made of a collection of stories that make up ‘things’, objects of daily life, objects of religion, objects for cooking, for working… The evocative power of Proust’s madeleines now becomes fundamental to understand a culture and a society…
Another flagship exhibition, Craft & Industry… What are, according to you, the new relations between these two spheres?
As rightly says Gabriele Pezzini, the commissioner and scenographer of the exhibition, dichotomy is a marketing trick… Design is generated by the interaction between these two activities. It is born out of necessity and choice of the combination between handedness and mechanicalness.
The quality of the design springs from a measured and coherent dosing of both. The Trame exhibition takes us on a graduated computer graphic journey through 40 products from the last decades or older. It displays not a chronological journey but rather the need to increase the level of technology or handedness, by demonstrating how handicrafts can be just as industrial as a next generation technological device, and vice versa.
The exhibition roundtable will be a very important moment of discussion to better understand this very fashionable topic: Massimo Morozzi – Edra (Italy), Hans Maier-Aichen, founder of Authentics (Germany) ; Alexander von Vegesack , founder of the Vitra Design Museum (DE) and director of the Domaine de Boisbuchet (FR) ; Suresh Sethi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director Asia, Global Consumer Design, Whirlpool Corporation will be discussing with the public on what design and human behavior in production are all about.
The RECIPROCITY program looks varied, dense… What would be your ideal schedule for a day in Liege?
Matching the stay with one of the conferences on the program, in the afternoon visiting the four main exhibitions, grabbing a coffee at the meeting point and visiting Mapping the Design World, a documentary exhibition directed by Max Borka about the most interesting expressions in social design, and wandering in the city center while visiting the numerous satellite exhibitions that liven up the heart of Liege…
Finally, do you have any good design addresses on site for our readers?
The Gare des Guillemins by Santiago Calatrava, the Mediacité shopping center by Ron Arad… I would finally let them pick something from ‘Shop’in Design’, a little book published by the FTPL, and which gives an overview of activities, workshops and showrooms in Liege…
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