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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Exhibition: The Art Of Conversation

Inventory, London and Bank, Berlin invited a mix of studios and designers to participate in an inventive and well thought out exhibition examining the art of conversation and its role in the creative process.

Written by Sally Mumby-Croft


Photo: © Guy Archard

Whilst The Art Of Conversation has now sadly closed at the Idea Generation Gallery, page London. The good news for those swinging by Berlin this summer, dosage is that the exhibition has relocated to the Program Gallery and will be opening on the 12th June.

The Art of Conversation was devised by design studios: Inventory, price London and Bank,Berlin, it showcased new work from designers based in both London and Berlin. The work was developed after each studio participated in a skype chat in which a work/idea was presented, the receiving studio then had three days to respond and present their work/idea to the next studio. The choice to record these discussions provided an interesting insight into how different studios (whether in London or Berlin) reacted to the brief.

The following ten Studios and designers from each capital were invited to participate:

London: Alexandre Bettler, Anthony Burrill, APFEL, DanHasPotential, Eat Sleep/Work Play, Hudson-Powell, Multistorey, Oscar & Ewan, Simon Elvins and Value and Service.

Berlin: 123buero, blotto, Heimann und Schwantes, Hort, Jung+Weing, Kekiretta, Manuel Raeder, Node, Siggi Eggertsson and Slang.


Multistorey, Hand cranked low techno machine built from camping and cooking utensils: Photo: © Guy Archard


The seesaws: Oscar & Ewan Photo: © Guy Archard

The work included within the exhibition developed from the participants game of Chinese whispers, within the gallery the work was number to help the viewer ‘follow’ the varying interpretations of the ideas discussed, this process recording the basic and most important starting point of graphic design; the ability to examine and converse an idea to a vast amount of people with an economical design.


Large colour photo with rubber band ball suspended above, Anthony Burrill: Photo: © Guy Archard

The skype conversations are (brilliantly) available to watch online and are worth each of the 3 – 4 minute conversation as each design companies presents their decision whether to speak, perform or write to the next and what information to pass on and what information became lost as the discussions progressed. A favourite being Oscar & Ewan’s decision to time the time delay by the presence of Piccadilly, the rain, a walk and the presence of an umbrella. Manifesting itself in the exhibition as a Seasaw perhaps the time it took to move represented the time delay in the online conversations?

One designer chose to reference the experience of discussing design ideas via Skype in the work created for the Ideas Generation Gallery and Program Gallery, Berlin, in the form of a heavily pixilated video noting the difficulty in undertaking a conversation about design when subjected to time delays and language barriers. The versatility of design to enhance the limits of verbal language becomes apparent. As does the audiences reliance (or perhaps just my own) on the Skype conversations to provide an access point to the work in the gallery space.


Collection of artefacts made in felt, clay and papier-mace displayed on a hand built table, Dan Has Potential: Photo: © Guy Archard

As to be expected from Graphic Design practitioners the presentation of the show was sublime, namely the perfect leading between vinyl letters pressed onto the wall. Some of the work was very tongue in cheek, as displayed by the printing of emails from the 100’s of intern requests one of the studios have received, each letter practicing their unique form of begging, flattering and showcasing their own work. To accompany the physical work each design studio has also produced a limited edition screen print:


Headpieces housing a webcam, screen and interface with custom made software that changes the users perception, Hudson-Powell: Photo: © Guy Archard

This exhibition celebrates the breadth and versatility of ideas between 20 studios based in London and Berlin. It is an exciting and dynamic insight into the process behind the finished work, (of which each was a response to a previous piece, the show traces the endless connections between the work and the talks) which was to some extent more enjoyable and grasable than the work that came to inhabit the gallery space and in some ways felt as if it were the ‘real’ work. If you are in Berlin from the 12th June, this exhibition is a must see. If not take the time to watch the conversations online…

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