In 2010, Design Museum Holon was inaugurated with The State of Things, an international exhibition that presented design as a landscape of objects. Ten years later, State of Extremes instead describes a condition - that of a world that has changed, and with it, design and design practice.
We live in a state of extremes. Extreme weather, as a result of climate change, is both scorching and inundating the planet with record temperatures, unprecedented wildfires and ever more frequent and severe droughts, storms and floods. Meanwhile, extreme ideologies and political positions are being amplified by the media's news cycles and the echo chamber of the Internet, further polarizing societies already inflamed by extreme, and growing, inequality and resentments. Extremes breed more extremes, creating self-reinforcing cycles of pushback and backlash, and fueling spiraling feedback loops of increasing intensity.
Moreover, science, technology and the human imagination are opening new possibilities that pose existential questions about what it means to be human, what is natural and artificial, and how we might adapt to "new normals" whose full implications we do not yet understand. Extremes, after all, are relative; what seems extreme today may become routine tomorrow.
State of Extremes aims to show the potential of design to reveal, critique, resist, mitigate (and, yes, sometimes exacerbate) extremes and the mechanisms that drive them. At a time when our technologies, power structures and impact on the planet are engendering ever more extreme scenarios, we hope "State of Extremes" might serve as a call for moderation.
Lucy McRae, Compression Cradle, 2019, photo: Scottie Cameron
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