21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Exhibition  "Material, or " 

“Material, or " was held as the exhibition at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, for which TAKT PROJECT president Satoshi Yoshiizumi served as exhibition director.

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT is a venue to redirect our eyes to everyday things and events, and create various proposals and communicate numerous discoveries from the design point of view. Founded by the late Issey Miyake, this research center for design is directed by Taku Satoh and Naoto Fukasawa, with Noriko Kawakami as associate director.
"Material, or " was the exhibition seeks to rediscover and reinterpret the human relationship to raw material. It traces this across the vast and endless story of the Earth. The exhibition was happy to acknowledge the generous collaboration of art anthropologist Toshiaki Ishikura and biomimetics designer Jun Kamei. Their role has been to deploy cultural-anthropological perspectives to tease out how humanity has manipulated nature. From this they identify how to revive our sensitivity towards raw materials using recent developments in technology and material science. The exhibition's graphic design was by Haruka Misawa and the venue was organized by Ryuji Nakamura.

Director's Message 

You hold a twig in your hand, and want to snap it.
You grab a clod of mud, and want to smear it on something.
You pick up a stone, and want to smash something with it - a "crack" is heard as the thing breaks.

Such relationships with raw materials can be thought of as dialogues. Through them we interact with the earth's resources and create objects. We make artifacts from the raw materials that surround us. If we conceptualize design and center it on this encounter, our dialogue itself was the design.

Raw materials initially hold no specific meaning. They acquire it by our acts of creation. We turn them into what is meaningful by such interaction. The result is human artifacts. In the restoration of this understanding lie the potential and wisdom of design. Meaning can be imparted in an infinite number of ways. How I see a medium, and how it appears to someone else will not be the same. What is a medium to someone else, may not be so to me.

And, anyway, what is this "me" and what is this "someone else"?

Environmental destruction of global resources is ever more apparent on a variety of levels. The 20th-century belief in human control over nature now looks one-sided. In that view, nature "gives" and we take its raw materials to suit our own conveniences. We are not in dialogue with our environment. It can hardly be denied that we have come to lose touch with raw materials. Makers are confined to a small, select group, and even they have stopped thinking about such primordial matters. Consideration of "someone else" has vanished with only the "me" left in focus. This has led, in my opinion, to a decline in understanding of all that exists beyond "me."

From the beginning, boundaries between "me" and "someone else" should have remained ambiguous. A "me" does not exist in isolation, but in a constant state of flux. It is interwoven with other elements. I believe we should return to that kind of self-conceptualization. If we do, definitions of "me" and "someone else," and their boundaries, will blur and shift. The way we look at raw materials, and the meanings we assign to them, will alter too.

This Exhibition examines how raw materials are perceived, and 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.

ARKO, Shinya Aota, ACTANT FOREST, Kwangho Lee, Yuji Ueda, Kaori Endo, Sho Ota, Shiori Ono, Masashi Kanasaki, Jun Kamei (Amphico), Zsofia Kollar, TAKT PROJECT, DRIFT, Aoi Nagasawa, Chikara Nisato, Masato Hatanaka, Pete Oxford, Formafantasma, BRANCH, Sae Honda, Haruka Misawa + Misawa Design Institute, Katsunobu Yoshida, and others

Cruz Foam, Koji Murayama + UNOU JUKU by AGC Inc., and others

[ Honorific titles are omitted ]