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Open Call: V&A x Design Society Shenzhen Want You to Curate Their Next Exhibition

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Since opening in December 2017, Design Society (设计互联) in the dynamic Shekou district of Shenzhen has endeavored to carve a niche for itself as “China’s first design museum.” The institution’s inaugural exhibit, Values of Design, was curated by London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum, and it was pretty impressive. As Jason Li wrote a few months into the exhibit’s run:

They designed and renovated the space to match the show, using various custom-built walls and panels, display cases and signs to guide museum-goers through various themes (or “values”) around design… The overall impression then is that of flipping through an incredibly well-curated Industrial Design 101 coffee table book: great for curious outsiders, but offering very little to provoke or inspire those of us in the field.

Now V&A x Design Society are doubling down on this “Values” concept, and have just put out an open call for guest curators to submit design objects in a forthcoming sequel: Values of Design in China.

In a press release received by RADII yesterday, Design Society’s deputy director Zhao Rong explains that “Values of Design in China aims to review the historical milestones in the development of Chinese design, exploring the key values behind Chinese design, and how design forms various cultural phenomena and daily life in China.”

Design Society Shenzhen: Conservative Curatorial at a Cutting-Edge Institution

Ahead of the exhibit, V&A and Design Society are looking to outsource curation, enlisting interested parties to suggest quintessential items of Chinese design. They list “a Shenzhen school uniform, the WeChat app, a DJI drone, Chinese porcelain recycled into aluminum tiles, and a mobile phone for the elderly,” as a few leading examples, and in general seem open to ideas that stretch what the word “design” can describe.

Here’s full info for how to submit, and what happens if your submission makes the cut:

Requirement for the submission:

  1. The object should be representative of at least one strong design value or value statement. This can follow the values previously mentioned in the gallery, but we also encourage the nominator to select their own personal reason for valuing an object.
  2. The object is either made in China, or widely used/popular in China.
  3. Ideally, the object should be sourceable, easy to find, purchase, or borrow.

How to submit:

  1. Send a paragraph of introduction and images of your submission and @深圳海上世界文化艺术中心; suggested topic: #设计的价值在中国#
  2. Send a paragraph of introduction and images of your submission to info@designsociety.cn, suggested email title: Submission for Values of Design in China.

Deadline for open call: 30 June, 2019

If your submission is selected by our curatorial team, you will receive:

– A certificate of your participation in the exhibition

– A Design Society membership (free admission to Design Society exhibitions, discounts and priority for booking, among many other exclusive benefits)

– A video clip of you presenting your submission

– One Design Society publication

You might also like:

Traditional Chinese Crafts Find Modern Meaning in Shenzhen

Wu Qingyu on Bridging “the Universal and the Specific” in her Bicultural Designs

Chinese Design in Five Objects with Chop Suey Club’s Ruoyi Jiang

Cover image via Wallpaper.com

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