Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Plastic: Remaking our world

As you may have seen on our Instagram feed, MoDiP has had the great pleasure of loaning objects to an international exhibition curated by Vitra Design Museum, V&A Dundee, and maat.  The exhibition Plastic: Remaking Our World, which will be hosted by all three museums (Vitra Design Museum in 26.03.2022 – 04.09.2022, V&A Dundee 29.10.2022 – 05.02.2023 and maat, Lisbon spring 2023), examines the history and future of this controversial material: from its meteoric rise in the twentieth century to its environmental impact and to cutting-edge solutions for a more sustainable use of plastic.  Exhibits include rarities from the dawn of the plastic age and objects of the pop era as well as numerous contemporary designs and projects ranging from efforts to clean up rivers and oceans to smart concepts for waste reduction and recycling through to bioplastics made from algae and mycelium.

The case at the front of this picture displays objects from the Worshipful Company of Horners, whose collection we look after. © Vitra Design Museum, Photo: Bettina Matthiessen

Dr. Jochen Eisenbrand, Chief Curator, Vitra Design Museum stated that the Museum of Design in Plastics has been most supportive of our exhibition and we are most grateful for this support. During our research and preparations for the show – all of which coincided with two years of COVID pandemic – MoDiP’s excellent online collection and the wealth of information it provides proved to be a most valuable asset and resource that the curatorial team of the exhibition kept coming back to again and again.’

Vitrac picnic ware and Sputnik jam dish from the MoDiP collection. © Vitra Design Museum, Photo: Bettina Matthiessen

He goes on to say: ‘Among the many wonderful and important loans that MoDiP is generously supporting our exhibition with are a Hawker Sear Fury cockpit canopy as the largest historic exhibit we are presenting and also some of my personal favourite exhibits: the Hax and Flip squeeze bottles from the 1950s and 1960s in the shape of a lemon, a banana, or a strawberry.’

Military lamp, Plasfort helmet, and fighter plane cockpit canopy from the MoDiP collection. © Vitra Design Museum, Photo: Bettina Matthiessen

Sqezy bottle BXL image, hax bottles and Sqezy washing up liquid bottle from the MoDiP collection. © Vitra Design Museum, Photo: Bettina Matthiessen

As a whole, the exhibition offers a critical and differentiated reassessment of plastic in today’s world. Interviews with designers, scientists, and activists underline the importance of an interdisciplinary approach in which politics, industry, science, and design collaborate closely to tackle the plastic problem.  While it is true that each of us is a catalyst for change, there will be no simple remedy to this issue. For this reason, the exhibition aims to address the bigger picture of plastic and its complex role in our world: by analysing how we came to be so dependent on it, by reassessing where the use of plastic is essential and where it can be reduced or replaced, and by reimagining possible futures for this contested material.

I am looking forward to visiting the exhibition when it comes to the UK and I am sure I will share more about it in another blog post in the winter.  In the meantime, find out more on the VitraDesign Museum website.


Louise Dennis

Curator of MoDiP

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