BOOKS: Spatial Tales of Unearthly Critters
Performance by Gaia D’Arrigo
Friday 19 January 2024, 6–8 pm
Join us for a BOOKS presentation, together with students of the Master Interior Architecture: Research and Design [MIARD] program at the Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy. This event launches Spatial Tales of Unearthly Critters, a publication emerging out of the Marvelous Monsters studio program led by Federico Martelli of Cookies design studio. It includes works by Nicole Jessé, Anna Maria Zuech, Sungryul Jun, Mila Broomberg, Artemis Mitsiou, Josephine Goverts, Anna Krikke, Silvia Elisa Bianchini and Julia Woch. During the evening we will discuss the role of monstrosity as a useful conceptual tool for designers.
Many thinkers have argued that desire and disgust share a diametrically opposed relationship, almost as if they were two sides of the same coin. Initially, this opposition seems logical, until one realizes that the disgusting can also possess an alluring quality. Aesthetic discourse has predominantly focused on desire, relegating repulsion to a secondary role, even as our late capitalist world offers many more things to turn away from rather than be drawn towards.
Inspired by this assault on traditional taste systems, students were asked to create a chimera myth and develop speculative scenarios for their chimera habitats. Chimeras, hybrids of human and animal bodies, have populated ancient mythologies for millennia. Often portrayed as malevolent creatures, they embody magical, supernatural, or unexplained phenomena. In this context, the chimera serves as a canvas onto which we project our ideas, fears, desires, interests, and urgencies, free from moral judgment because chimeras exist beyond the realms of good or bad, beauty or ugliness, reality or fiction. As designers and artists, this allows us to create using a different set of rules, detached from social or moral expectations.
The evening will feature a conversation with the students, as well as an introduction and performance by Gaia D’Arrigo, the program will be followed by refreshments and a warm welcome as Kunstinstituut Melly first program of the new year.