Design and Violence Exhibition at TCD’s Science Gallery

TCD Science Gallery has co-produced the exhibition with New York’s MOMA


Trinity’s Science Gallery have launched a new exhibition, Design and Violence, which explores the way both elements intersect with our lives. A co-production by the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Science Gallery, the exhibition defines violence as “both deliberate harm caused to a person or thing, and as a byproduct or unintended consequence. Violence may occur in spectacular outbursts in other places, in explosions and civil unrest — but as this exhibition shows, it underpins the normal order of things in the places we live, too. The products we buy and the systems in which we participate may cause harm elsewhere and out of sight.”

The art shown intends to bring the viewer through a journey of discovery as we realise just how great the impact that violence has on design. We live in a world where violence plays an increasing role – on TV, in the news, in the books we read. Now, faster than ever before, we can witness violence as it takes place. With the ever-increasing place of violence in our lives, we continue to be exposed to it, whether or not we want to be.

Design and Violence seeks to “draw connections between places near and far, between our everyday actions and their causes and consequences, and to show how violence and design can act both for and against power and the realisation of social change.”

Curators Lynn Scarff, Ralph Borland, Ian Brunswick, Paola Antonelli and Jamer Hunt have brought together a series of powerful pieces. Among these is an AK-47, the most manufactured gun in the world and a symbol of the Soviet army, colonial resistances and organised crime around the world. Also on display are zip-tie handcuffs, deployed by police often without the care needed to ensure they do not harm those placed under arrest. Widely used during the Occupy movement to subdue citizens who had never before been arrested, they serve as a reminder that violence, whether just or unjust, often breaks out when social change is occurring.

These are just two examples from the exhibition that demonstrate the success of the human race in creating ways to kill, monitor and subdue our fellow beings. It is an art that has flourished with the advance of technology. Despite this, social change continues to occur. One hundred years since the rising, Design and Violence reminds us that while the techniques used to monitor and pacify us advance, we refuse to let objects control our collective decision. The exhibition will run in the Science Gallery until January 22 2017.