A visit to the graduate exhibition in the Department of Industrial Design at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design raises questions about the purpose and role of the exhibition, but also reveals some particularly interesting projects.
Anyone going from the Department of Visual Communication to the Department of Industrial Design at the Bezalel graduate exhibition can't help stopping for a moment to wonder about the clear differences in the way the exhibitions are presented. More than anything else the differences between the two exhibitions attest to the two departments' different approach to the graduate exhibition and the question - whose exhibition is it, the graduates' or the department's?
Under the title, All Together Now, the Department of Visual Communication graduate exhibition (designed and curated by Noam Schechter) is an example of meticulous curating - it has a concept, a selection of projects (not all of them graduate projects, "because sometimes, the graduate project isn't the student's best work", they say at the department), display devices, and space design. And indeed, the first encounter with the exhibition elicits cries of admiration; the long, open space, the uniformity of the exhibition, and the ideas, certainly make a powerful impression. A second look, too, reveals that it is the uniform digital display used for all the different media that enables a higher level of observation and scrutiny. At the same time, it is clear that the name of the exhibition, All Together Now, not only reflects the joint work experience, but also the fact that the exhibition is more important than the sum of its parts.
By contrast, the Department of Industrial Design exhibition is presented without a title, and for anyone who has been there in previous years the exhibition looks so similar that one can even remember who was there, in that same corner, last year. The curators are Tal Gur and Nitsan Debbi, but they themselves attest that most of their curating amounted to positioning projects in the space, and they define themselves as consultant observers.
"The end-of-year exhibition is first and foremost a celebration of the graduates. It is an exhibition of and for the students", says Tal Gur. "The graduates decide what's going to be in the exhibition. We, the curators, mainly decided where the objects would be positioned in the space, and ensured balance - so that not all the good projects would be concentrated in one space, but scattered throughout the exhibition, that the clusters would be varied and reflect the diversity in the class, we also guided the students not to create display features that would overshadow the exhibits in the exhibition. In everything else we functioned as consultant observers".
In the Department of Industrial Design it seemed that the exhibition is not the end, but the means, according to department head Haim Parnas. It is the students' exhibition that was mounted by them, and it is they who occupy center stage in it. "This isn't the time to present an agenda", says Tal Gur, "that can be done at a different time, for example in the exhibition we showed in Milan this year".
In view of the fact that for most of the students this will be the only exhibition they will ever show, it is hard to decide which exhibition is preferable, which represents them in the best possible way, which teaches them and instills in them values and additional fields of knowledge, and which better prepares them for life after.
Between To-Bee and Lost Time
One of the interesting projects presented this year, and the Department's outstanding project, is To-Bee by Lavi Bar. The in-depth and comprehensive research that focused on investigating the life of bees, the relationship between bees and humans, and the reasons for their mysterious disappearance from extensive areas around the world, has created one of the more fascinating projects seen here recently. Behind the desire to "include bees in our pet list" is a far greater aspiration - to repair our flawed relationship with bees (industrial rearing methods blatantly violate the balance between us and them), and to understand that their disappearance has devastating implications for us - some researchers claim that this is a more urgent problem than global warming. The home beehive and its associated equipment simplify beekeeping and introduce it as a hobby in which more and more city dwellers in search of a piece of nature in the city can participate.
Lavi Bar, To-Bee | Graduates 2012
Lavi Bar, To-Bee | Graduates 2012
Another interesting project is 0.59g by Talia Mukmel that began with a materiality study of plastic, and concluded with a series of beautiful containers incorporating technology and working by hand, production line, and unique character.
Talia Mukmel, 0.59g | Graduates 2012
Variability in Nature by Sivan Hefetz shows how intervention in a mass production assembly line - extrusion technology - enables the creation of new and diverse shapes in a mass-produced series.
Sivan Hefetz, Variability in Nature | Graduates 2012
Irit Gromy's project, cooKIT, too, enables intervention in technological processes, but here she substitutes the technological manufacturing process for the household pot in which she cooks stools of different kinds. The research into different materials led her to the understanding that polystyrene pellets swell like popcorn when boiled, and to the possibility of creating a series of objects in a home manufacturing plant.
Irit Gromy, cooKIT | Graduates 2012
But the two projects that evoke a desire to take them home with you are the Delight lamps by Ido Mohar and the Timing watches by Nimrod Or. The lamps are made from nitinol, a ‘smart' metal that moves when heated. They bow their heads and straighten up when lit. The beautiful series of watches represents a different concept of time, and by means of a slight change in the design and how the watch is worn Nimrod has created three different allegories for the concept of time.
Ido Mohar, Delight | Graduates 2012
Nimrod Or, Timing | Graduates 2012