New Liberated Living?
Wed, 12.06.2013–Sun, 06.10.2013
One would be hard-pressed to find a single area of our everyday lives and material culture that has not been swept up in the “participatory revolution” of the past several years. With the do-it-yourself movement now an omnipresent phenomenon, the design field’s current development is increasingly characterized by the fusion of production and consumption. The problematic issues raised by this “prosumer culture” range from a perceived need to decentralize and democratize goods production to both the criticism of mass consumption and the theme of sustainability in light of ongoing resource depletion.
But the do-it-yourself phenomenon also refers both to the rediscovery of handwork and to involvement in the design process in ways that address the senses: the motto “have more, own less” would seem to imply a paradigm shift here, particularly in view of a lifestyle that is liberated from dictates of consumption, dogmas of taste, and norms of design. The exhibition NOMADIC FURNITURE 3.0 will for the first time bundle and examine the omnipresent do-it-yourself movement’s contemporary development with specific regard to the design of furniture and residential spaces. Here, the prolonged constant increase in demand for plans showing how to build furniture and furnishing elements represents an opportunity to investigate present-day processes by way of a historical retrospective: Where do the origins of such processes lie? Through which channels and media are experience and instructions for use passed on? Who engages in exchange with whom, and on what terms?
When evaluating contemporary DIY strategies, their historical development can be a particularly helpful context within which to do so. For in today’s era of digital modernity, this design phenomenon continues to encompass a field situated between the two poles of mainstream and alternative culture. Even if the cheaply printed handbooks of yore have been largely replaced by Web 2.0’s forums and blogs as the creative interface, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between self-affirmative fads and subversive criticism of consumption: these are two mutually contingent aspects of design and consumer culture.

Guest Curator Martina Fineder
Curators Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator, MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection, and Thomas Geisler, Curator, MAK Design Collection

The exhibition NOMADIC FURNITURE 3.0. New Liberated Living? is accompanied by MAK/ZINE #1/2013, with contributions from David Byrne, Alison J. Clarke, Sean Cubitt, Peter Daniel, Martina Fineder, Thomas Geisler, Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Katherine Satorius, James Hennessey,  German/English, app. 120 pages, MAK/Volltext Vienna 2013. Available at the MAK Design Shop

A cooperation of MAK & departure – The Creative Agency of the City of Vienna




Research Project

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Research team: Martina Fineder, Thomas Geisler, and Sebastian Hackenschmidt
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Freier Artikel


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