Discussion I + II
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On June 26, 2012, the international conference Graphic Design, Exhibiting, Curating took place at the Faculty of Design and Art of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. The conference was organized by Giorgio Camuffo and Maddalena Dalla Mura and aimed at address the multifarious relationships that exist between graphic design, the exhibition context and curatorial practice. Graphic design and designers are not entirely alien to the exhibition context. Exhibiting belongs to those kinds of activities – like awards and biennials – which allow designers to gain recognition within the graphic design community and among their peers. Moreover, graphic designers and their work have occasionally been the object and subject of display within the walls of institutions such as museums and galleries – the latter of which, as it is important to remember, are also regarded among the most important clients of graphic designers. In recent years however, we are witnessing the emergence of a relatively new phenomenon: graphic designers themselves are apparently becoming more and more interested and involved in the exhibition context as a space of production, and in appropriating the kind of roles and functions that are characteristic of the exhibition format. This phenomenon opens up a number of questions that call for an overall re-examination of the relationship of graphic design with exhibition making and curating, and of the implications this has for design culture. What are the motives behind graphic designers’ choice to use the exhibition as a medium for producing and disseminating contents? What does this new engagement reveal about the cultural and social role and position of the contemporary designer? What are the values attached to graphic design within the exhibition context, and how do they shift according to different contexts? What kind of public do designers aim to address, and what kind of public is actually being reached through exhibitions and related activities? What critical discourse, if any, on graphic design is built through and around exhibitions? How do acts of exhibiting and curating relate to the traditional activity of graphic design? The conference "Graphic design, exhibiting, curating" attempted to answer these questions and to raise others, by bringing together the voices of graphic designers, curators and critics who, in recent years, have been variously engaged in exhibition making and curating. The speakers include: Brave New Alps (Bianca Elzenbaumer, Fabio Franz), Charlotte Cheetham (Manystuff.org), Mieke Gerritzen(Museum of the Image, Breda), Lungomare / Lupo&Burtscher, Prem Krishnamurthy (Project Projects), Jon Sueda (California College of the Arts), and Warren Taylor (The Narrows). Invited discussants: Jonathan Pierini (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano), Silvia Sfligiotti (Progetto grafico), Francesco Valtolina (Mousse), Carlo Vinti (University of Camerino).