Opening: 21 March 2019, 20:00
21 March-3 April 2019, everyday, 12:00-20:00
Sometimes what we feel nostalgic about is not the «beautiful days» of the past, but the desires and the dreams about the future that were borne in the past but never materialized. We reminisce not about something which has passed, but a future that never came. Reminiscing the unrealizable is what inspires our current visions and desires.
The applied arts of the years between 1950 and 1970 (architecture, graphic design, product design, fashion design, etc.) were marked by futuristic visions and experimentation involving utopian explorations that reflected a general mood of optimism about the future of the modern world. History did not confirm most of those «predictions», so reminiscing today all that futuristic-utopian design does not refer to something that existed in the past, but to a future that never happened.
On the other hand, current Design demonstrates a strong interest in various elements of the 1950-70 period, elements which reappear all the more often today, not in the form of a nostalgic «retro» fad, but in an attempt to establish meaningful links with the optimistic but unfinished programme of modernism, and so one could say that the past is re-emerging in the present as a desire for change.
Design as a whole incorporates a vision for a better future as well as a specific form of nostalgia of a second grade, a post-nostalgia, for the dreams that marked certain eras but never materialized. This post-nostalgia refers to the utopian element that is to be found in memory, while it stands critically against the routine idealization of the past and «retro» revivals.
Based on the above rationale, the Vakalo School organized the research project entitled «post-nostalgia: Design meets utopia», which ran for two years (from January 2017 through to December 2018) with the aim to conduct research and personal projects on the notion of Design as a material bearer of collective/individual memory and of critical utopian visions, with reference to the 1950-70 period and contemporary creative practice.
The seventeen participants, from the areas of architecture, visual communication, theatre design, visual arts, sound design and history/theory, were selected through an interview process following an open invitation, and pursued their research and development of their personal proposals supported by the mentoring of the coordinating committee, while they also collaborated systematically in the context of a programme of group meetings involving brain-storming and workshops with presentations of work-in-progress. This show displays the work produced by the researchers through this process.
The participants’ projects are the outcome of research, theoretical study and applied experimentation that were developed in a broad range of various fields and topics: history and semiotics of Design, history of architecture, architectural utopias, history of popular and mass culture, artistic avant-gardes, surrealism, situationism, modern and post-modern typography, history of typefaces, politics of nostalgia and critiques of retro trends, psychology of memory, history of technology, philosophy of dress, history of the cinema, cybernetics and information theory, etc.
The programme «post-nostalgia: Design meets utopia» represents the first large-scale systematic research to be conducted in Greece on the theory and history of Design, and aims to demonstrate the indissoluble link between scientific study and creative artistic work, as well as the defining role played by Design in the life of people, in the social process and critical thought.
Ermina Apostolaki (stage designer) / The resonance of the bazaar
Isidora Arvaniti (architect) / Records of urban fiction
Manolis Babounis (interior designer) / Seeking the Architect’s utopia in the city
Daphne Kala (interior designer) / BM.. NB. VS.: Playing games with three Utopias
Lefteris Kalonaris (communication designer) / Nationalism and nostalgia
Marializa Kambi (graphic and media designer) / Epiclesis [Invocation]
Maria Koutouzi (visual artist, curator) / Nostalgia for my demon: A Portrait
Aggela Mandilari (architect, visual artist) / Some bodies some times
Vasiliki Panagiotopoulou (communication designer) / Solaris, my Love: Between the bomb and the space station
Konstantinos Papamichalopoulos (visual artist) / My Strength is the Love of the People
George Ramantanis (sound designer) / Hyperlexist poetry production machine Fafana AS38f
Karina Shabanova (communication designer) / False Memory
Matina Throumoulopoulou (architect, musician) / Utopian fonts of Akis Panou
Danae Tzotzos (graphic designer, visual artist) / Underground
Anna Vokali (architect) / Cadavre exquis
Joshua Yang (graphic designer) / Cohesive fragmentation as narrative
Konstantina Yiannakopoulou, Giorgos Strouzas (communication designers) / The School of Ulm: Starting from a teaching method and reaching the world
Idea, Executive direction
George S. Vlahos
Visual identity and print design
Promotion, web media
Special Constructions Support
Media Sponsors: EnLefko 87.7, Bussias Communications, +Design
Sponsors: Plaisio, Perrakis Papers, Retrocomputers.gr
Vakalo Art & Design College
26 Lamprou Katsoni St., Athens 11471, Greece