should design function as an informative platform?

 

Paola Antonelli, the Museum of Modern Art’s Senior Curator of Architecture & Design prides herself on curating design environments that seek to inform as well as engage the audience. Antonelli's forward-thinking exhibitions which challenge the public’s perception of a museum exhibit are legendary; some of her acquisitions for MoMA include the @ symbol, a series of video games and the Rainbow Flag.

 
 
Image courtesy moma.org. Copyright © 2016 Valve

Image courtesy moma.org. Copyright © 2016 Valve

From the Design and Violence exhibition - Slavery Footprint (Made in a Free World)

From the Design and Violence exhibition - Slavery Footprint (Made in a Free World)

 
 

Fundamentally, Antonelli has maximised her role as a curator to ensure that design becomes a platform in which meaningful experiences and insights can take place. Her previous work presenting the relationship between violence and design - named, Design and Violence - demonstrates the relevance in designers unifying to, "define ethical goals and behavioural codes and ways to really tackle what’s going on in the world.” Examples of this can be found on the online exhibition such as the Slavery Footprint survey (pictured above) which calculates the amount of forced, unpaid, undocumented and illegal workers we have come into contact with through our daily spending and lifestyle habits. 

This then begs the question if design should serve an informative and educational function. It also begins to question the role of the designer in contemporary practise and whether there should be a more concerted society-facing effort as standard. Antonelli suggests that the works of innovative designers hold an international exposure that could potentially help shape our understanding of the world, bridge gaps in our knowledge ad make change.

Could she be correct?