Melbourne Now is a biennale of creative work that is local in its approach, yet global in its vision. Alice Blackwood speaks with the guest curator of Design and Production, Simone LeAmon, ahead of the exhibition’s grand opening.
November 13th, 2013
It’s a biennale of local proportions: a staggeringly huge exhibition which has absorbed all the resources of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), not to mention the knowledge and expertise of more than 10 guest curators.
Set to open 22 November at the NGV in Melbourne, Melbourne Now will be a comprehensive guide to the southern city’s creative culture, in the here and now.
Among its guest curators is Simone LeAmon, who has undertaken the rather formidable task of accessioning the work of Melbourne’s Design and Production scene, and selecting from this outstanding examples of design capability and outcome.
“There is this great desire to move with the time, and introduce the museum as a cultural production to new and young audiences, while also forming new relationships with audiences who haven’t been a part of the conversation about culture,” says LeAmon.
Distilling the very essence of Melbourne’s design and production sector is no small task, but LeAmon has introduced a strong focus and structure into her Design and Production component (which sits alongside a whole spectrum of visual arts and creative practices within the exhibition).
“I’ve really looked at how the design we produce and the processes we embrace reveal something of who we are,” says LeAmon. “If these objects were buried and dug up in 30 year’s time what could we learn from them?”
The designs selected to be shown as part of Melbourne Now are innovative and intrepid in nature, and while they offer some indication of the future, they are not at all futuristic. Rather they tell a story of a localised approach that has led to, often, global success.
By far the most attention grabbing will be LeAmon’s giant wall of Design in Everyday Life, a veritable production run of everyday objects – from tram grab handles to dustpans and brooms – all quite everyday in the normality… and yet the enormity of each and every one of these products being designed in Victoria is staggering.
“These are objects of significance,” says LeAmon, “and as part of Melbourne Now we will piece together a landscape of what we’re designing and what we’re producing, thus communicating the relationship between design and serial production.
“The real coup though, is that we’re not presenting one of each product, we’re presenting in some cases up to 70 of each.”
The creative output from both local designers and curators will no doubt be impressive, and one can’t help but wonder if Australia’s other states will be tempted to follow suit.
Melbourne Now runs at the NGV, 22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014.
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