JUDITH SENG: ACTING THINGS IV/ A MATERIAL FLOW
In the fourth part of her ongoing ACTING THINGS project, commissioned by and presented at this year’s Design Miami/ Basel festival, Berlin-based designer Judith Seng continued the series’ effort to explore the relationship between designer, object, user and manufacturer by removing them from the context of the studio, shop, factory and placing them in the realm of dance, theatre, choreography, and the,body, turning a stage into an apparatus to involve the viewer visually, bodily, and conceptually in the entire cycle of design. Max Borka reports.
Entitled Material Flow, the performance cum installation was constructed as a live enactment of the different phase of a designing process, from material processing to formal transformation, and from archiving to disposal and re-use. In the entrance hall of the Messeplatz, Seng worked for seven days and eight hours per day alongside members of her studio team, as well as dancers Barbara Berti and Julian Weber, to manufacture a collection of objects that were the result and record of the interaction between dancing bodies and malleable wax, Over the seven days of the fair, the team melted, mixed, and molded wax powder and water to create different shades of wax, from pale green to indigo, while the shape of the objects was largely defined by the range and force of bodily motions carried out by the dancers, from carefully kneading the sticky melted substance to the muscular gestures made on the hardening wax as it cools. At the end of each day, one object is saved, while the rest were melted down again to be colored and shaped anew the following day. The different kinds of expertise of the collaborators, as well as their varying degrees of improvisation and personal interpretation of a set of design instructions, were synthesized into a collective studio practice, which in many ways upended the usual frames of reference for design interpretation. (mb) www.judithseng.de/