Friday, 31 October 2014

Did you know? #9

Did you know that our current exhibition, and all our past exhibitions, can be found on our website?

To date we have covered a wide variety of topics all with a plastic thread running through them.  

Is that plastic? skeuomorphs and metaphors in design

Our current exhibition explores the way plastics can imitate other materials and can be moulded to resemble any object.


This exhibition looked at the most common types of plastics that visitors may encounter.

10 most wanted

This exhibition celebrated 10 Most Wanted, an online detective game played with objects in museum collections, inspired by the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.


MyPlastic/ was a collaborative project with the Arts University's marketing team.  The resulting videos were the plastic stories of designers, humanitarian documentary makers, scenographers, animators, monster makers, academics and astronauts. Stories of objects that are loaded with emotions, memories and meaning.

Beastly designs

This exhibition explored the ways in which designers working in plastics have exploited the distinctive features of animals to enhance the functionality of products.  It also looked at aspects of bio-mimetic design and demonstrates the potential of plastics to imitate luxury materials derived from animals and, thus, how plastics help to save endangered species.

Plastics for gold

This exhibition focuses on plastics in relation to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.  It was granted the Inspire mark by the London 2012 Inspire programme. The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Work, rest and play with plastics

This exhibition explores some of the ways plastics have enabled us to conduct our lives in a more comfortable, efficient, colourful and safe environment than we might without them.

You can do it with plastics…

You can do it with plastics looked at the relationship between material and design in relation to plastics and how the contribution of plastics is distinct from that of other materials.

Nature's plastic

Horn is a natural thermoplastic substance which means that when heated to a certain temperature it becomes pliable. With little work it can be made into objects which exploit the natural shape of horn, or by the application of heat and/or pressure it can be manipulated to form a wide variety of objects such as spectacle frames, combs and cutlery. It can be carved, engraved, or simply polished to enhance the natural beauty of the material.

Substitute: animal vegetable mineral

Plastics are unusually versatile materials. As a result they can act as substitutes in different ways for a vast range of other materials. For example, they can imitate the appearance of other materials and fulfil the role of other materials without necessarily resembling them.

Spotlight on…

In this exhibition, MoDiP put the spotlight on the work of designers and familiar companies whose use of plastic has been significant in the products we showcase. Shunning the ‘poor relation’ attitude to plastic, seemingly no expense has been spared in the production of high quality, well designed products with plastics playing the starring role.

Encore! re:formed plastics

This exhibition took a look at the imaginative alternative solutions to landfill and incineration as the final destination of our unwanted plastics. It considered some of the ways we can lessen the impact modern life has on the environment by innovative uses of design in plastic. It looks at the imaginative ways plastics are given a new life and how in their recycled form they can become a thing of beauty and of how from the ashes of mass production a work of art can emerge. Transformed beyond recognition plastics can be given a new identity. Where they once began life as a container for liquids, repurposed they can become an insulating fibre for the home or the body.

Winning with plastics

Plastics have contributed dramatically to sporting achievement. They have improved the potential of sports equipment; they have helped to streamline athletes' bodies; they have enabled their muscles to be kept at the optimum temperature for optimum performance; and they have reduced injury. This exhibition explores the reasons why.

The plastics invasion

This exhibition explores the rise, and rise of plastics from 1900, the decade in which the first synthetic plastic was invented, to the present…and on into the future. The timeline places the development of plastics in the context of national and world events.

In 1900 there were only a few types of plastic and now there are tens of thousands. Since 1976 plastic, in its variety of types, has had more uses than any other material in the world.
In the early decades it tends to imitate the forms and appearance of other materials but gradually new forms, building on the potential of plastic, begin to appear and colour becomes a key player in the design.

Eat in or take out: Plastics for portability

When it comes to snacking and eating on the move, you cannot beat plastic. The nature of the material means that it is cheap to make, highly disposable, light to carry, durable and insulating.

With the invention of plastics, and subsequent advances in technology, munching away from the table has never been so simple.

Ways of seeing plastics

This was the first exhibition to be mounted since plastics became the museum's focus. The exhibition presents different approaches to the study of products made of plastic.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

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