Re-Format is the re-named edition of Format, re-thought in the context of the current crisis. The pandemic panic re-phrased the development-trajectories that the re-newed set of laureates have followed the past year. Format investigates how design and architecture can re-inforce our critical stance towards societal re-ality. The re-solute uncertainty re-garding the re-opening of museums and cultural institutions re-set the format of Format, re-questing from the participating artists a re-silient sense of re-thinking, re-arranging and re-formulating their projects in the re-cent re-strictions of the governmental re-gulations.
To my re-lief, I re-ceived the invitation to visit a re-al exhibition after re-lying on digital, re-ductive re-enactments for some months - a trajectory which I don’t re-commend to cultural institutions. Cancellations, postponements and timeslots nevertheless cannot be re-garded as re-freshing re-surrections of the cultural landscape. Therefore, I was re-ally excited to re-vive this re-demptive experience of re-turning to the re-furbished museum of Z33, where I could encounter the re-united group of designers and artists for the festive occasion of the opening of Re-Format.
To my re-gret, the re-alisation of the exhibition re-jects the re-thinking of the exhibition format, and what’s more, Re-Format re-tains and re-affirms the museal conventions. Therefore the exhibition re-lents for the re-cognizable re-alm of the institution. This re-mark is of course a general re-curring critique that is not re-ferring solely to Z33 or Re-Format in specific, although, this exhibition could have been the re-surgent re-hearsal for re-actionary modes of re-presentation, rather than re-cycling old fashioned ideas by means of re-conciling with re-gressive curatorial methodologies. This exhibition could re-organize and re-shift the areas of design, art and society, re-lying on the re-sponsibilites of a museum re-garding its re-ceptive audience, therefore re-forming the re-lations within culture. Let’s re-imagine a more re-bellious re-fusal of white-cube re-trospectives and let’s re-activate the re-nowned institution with re-freshing projects that re-sonate with the re-levance of these re-gisters in the actual world.
Maybe, I should re-sume the re-visit of Re-Format and perhaps I should momentarily re-strain from this re-pulsive language, therefore, I will re-cite Josh Plough’s essay that re-lates to this stance by means of re-framing the theoretical discourse of the exhibition. I would like to re-fer to the full essay of Josh Plough as I highly re-commend you to re-ad this critical essay, which I re-ckon among my favourite works in Re-Format:
'We were all working so tirelessly to build a better world. Thousands of us, all creative, all willing, our research was supposed to be the catalyst for change!', their voice rising to such a pitch that the others couldn’t respectfully ignore it. 'We really had a brilliant idea, you know. We really knew how to change the system but the system just didn’t want to be changed'
DeepMind is a digitally re-achable platform, re-leased by Jore Dierckx, that aims to re-connect and re-map the re-ferences inherent to each participant’s re-search. This project enables the visitor to re-arrange and re-structure the re-printed publication by re-cording the QR-codes with their technological devices. The re-trieved imagery can be re-collected when the re-ceptor is re-ady with the visit, re-sulting in a physical ‘on command’ re-printing of this Deep Re-minder.
A re-ncontre with a re-fulgent re-d wall re-generates the “Inconvenient Store” of Rachel Hansoul, an installation covered in re-petitive, colourful patterns re-ferring to the re-nowned wax-prints that re-main flickering on our re-tinas. This technique is a re-sidue of Dutch colonial heritage even though its aesthetics re-root in African culture. The re-produced objects and the re-inserted quotes re-veal re-pellent re-mains of structural racism in our daily life.
The sound of a re-volving structure re-directs my attraction to the next room. There, I could re-lish a re-surgent re-enactment of Dorozome, a Japanese craft consisting of re-dying textiles with mud and other natural re-sources. Pauline Agustoni & Satomi Minoshima re-searched this technique with local re-sidents of the island Amami Oshima, re-warding us with the re-imported re-interpretation of this re-awakened craft that is documented in a re-portage as well.
Oksana Savchuk re-created the minimum re-gulations of the dimensions of social housing flats of the three countries where the artist re-cently re-sided: Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands. These re-prehensibly small units, re-presented by laser lights, re-flect upon re-duced living conditions in social housing by means of re-contextualizing three national re-alms.
The re-verb of re-corded conversations in the next space re-constructs ‘Conversing Soundscapes Of Fear’ by Studiocalh (Colette Aliman & Lauriane Heim). The auditive re-flexes re-enlarge re-cognizable signals of fear, in terms of re-sonating through re-adymade chairs and table. The re-flective materials and purple-hued cables that are used, channel re-ciprocal discussions that re-activate our sensory re-ferences to fear.
Studiocalh re-inverses the language of a visually dominated re-ality, thus conducting our hearing to re-ading the environment.
The ceramic objects of Heleen Sintobin re-call the processes of digital re-ndering that are re-inserted into crafts. The re-modelled vases and pottery are re-plicated throughout the scenography (that re-minded me of the inner structure of a kiln). The stages of the re-cognizable forms evolve towards re-clining and expanding derivatives (the so-called ‘happy accidents’), re-presented in a re-pertoire of digitally manipulated re-lics of this ceramic baking processes.
Irene Stracuzzi re-plies to the climate re-gression, with re-search that re-lates to both science and art. The artist aims to re-inforce the re-levant re-questioning of the Anthropocene, specifically investigating the complex situation of defrosting permafrost in the Arctic re-gion. For Re-Format, Stracuzzi expresses this ongoing activist re-solution and re-sistance in the format of a projection on a re-sin-like re-servoir re-filled with water.
This re-cap of the re-presented projects could function as a re-flecting mirror of re-occuring problems in our actual society, causing re-searches that re-peatedly re-semble re-surrecting inequalities of our daily re-ality. Nevertheless, when re-turning home and whilst walking past the monumental re-d façade of the re-built Z33, one re-mainig question kept on re-surfacing as a re-minding re-ply to this exhibition:
This re-union of designers and artists can definitely re-format the format. But would it still be possible to re-format the re-format afterwards?