Thursday 26 May 2011

Futureproof Plastics Symposium

The symposium took place last Wednesday, 18 May. It was well attended by people from many different backgrounds: academics, artists, designers, conservators and curators, who travelled from far afield. They made it a lively and intriguing event and we would like to thank everyone who attended for making it that way.

Mathew Philip provided a stimulating  introduction to polymers and their impact on every day life. Chistopher Pett showed us how single-source plastics - computer casings and disposable beakers branded by the Eden Project - can be recycled on an industrial scale but also higlighted the challenges such production produces. Julie Behetsa told us about the new fabrics she is weaving from recycled plastics as part of her practice-led research project at the Royal College of Art. Emma Neuberg showed us some beautifully embellished plastics and other materials embellished beautifully with plastics. She also floated the idea of a massive industrial park of recycled plastics. Nora Fok showed us the astoundingly beautiful wearable sculptures she makes from plastics, mainly nylon. Richard Liddle enaged us with videos of his products made from recycled plastics in production. Brenda Keneghan gave us an insight into the aims and achievements of the Preservation of Plastic ARTefacts (PopART)in heritage collections project. And finally Richard Jones showed us how polymer nanotechnology can imitate biological behaviour and intrigued us with the production of a tiny living plastic muscle.

The proceedings were videoed and will be made available on our website, so, if you missed it, you will  in time be able to find out what went on.

MoDiP would like to thank the speakers for making the event such a success and also the V&A and the PopART project for suggesting that we host the event and for providing the funding to unpin it.

Monday 9 May 2011

You can do it with Plastics

Our new exhibition, You can do it with Plastics, is now open and will be throughout the summer.

This exhibition explores the relationship between material and design in relation to plastics. The earliest wonder of plastics was thought to be the extent to which they could convincingly substitute for a wide range of materials as different as say stone and lace. However plastics have liberated design from the constraints of traditional materials. Something made of plastic can be any shape or colour and have a greater variety of texture, strength, density, flexibility and weight than any other material. Plastics can also be mixed with other materials and thus extend their potential.  Exploitation through design of developments in plastics during the last 100 years has transformed the manufactured environment and achievement within it. 

Plastics are now the group of materials with the most uses in the world. This exhibition focuses on specific applications of plastics in order to demonstrate how the properties of plastics have influenced design and how the contribution of plastics is distinct from that of other materials.

Our upstairs exhibition space shows objects from the MoDiP collection, whilst our downstairs cases display work created by both AUB staff and students working with plastics as their core material.