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Design Develops Body Issues

Sensate: Bodies and Design

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Art and design have both always taken the human body as a starting point. But from there, the two disciplines usually part ways. Design is typically about accommodating the body–designing, for example, a better chair–art’s historical challenge has been depicting the body. There are, however, cutting edge designers who have sought to break down that dichotomy, and their work is the subject of Sensate: Bodies and Design, a new show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art which runs through November 8.

The curators have included design that incorporates “mutant bodies, fictional bodies, animate architecture.” What’s that mean?

One good example (pictured above) is P_Wall, by architect Andrew Kudless, which covers an entire wall of the show–some 45 feet long and 12 feet high. It was made using plaster, which was cast upside down, in bags–thus, when the pieces are installed vertically on the wall, they look like flabby, droopy skin. (But in a good way!) You can watch video of Kudless talking about the project here.

Another piece in the show is Alex Schweder’s A Sac of Rooms All Day Long, which recreates the rooms of an an 800 square foot apartment and a 500 square foot bungalow–but they aren’t made of wood or dry wall. Rather, their made of inflatable plastic. The Bungalow is stuffed inside the apartment; in the course of the day, they’re continually filled with air and gradually deflate–creating a “breathing” sculpture of a house.

Sensate: Bodies and Design

Of course, sometimes bodies can be simply gross. But Marcel Wanders turns that into a visual treat, with his “snot” vases. They were made by doing 3-D scans of snot, ejected during a sneeze, and then rendering them using rapid prototyping:

Sensate: Bodies and Design

[SFMOMA, with a hat tip to DesignBoom]

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