Spatial design: Feedforward. The Angel of History

Created by Ángel Borrego - Office for Strategic Spaces

Spatial design: Feedforward. The Angel of History

Photo: Marcos Morilla

The design of exhibitions has the same conceptual problems as the design of contemporary art museums but several times over. How does one embark upon the design or adaptation of a container for a number of artworks? An exhibition would seem to require a certain order or arrangement of the pieces in the space, a space which possesses a concrete form. Should that spatial form be designed for a better adaptation to the discourse of the works? Is design not really an imposition of an overarching plot that distracts from the reading of the pieces, though it might seem to support them? The schizophrenia inherent in the function of museum architecture and, to a lesser extent, of an exhibition design is predicated on the fact that exploring the spatial and conceptual potential proffered by an exhibition seems to actually increase the distance between the beholder and the exhibited work. If the quantity, and depth, of the design creates a proportional distance between the spectator and a direct experience and reading of the work, how then can we address this commission? How can an exhibition be designed to do away with the undesirable imposition of design? In other words, how can one design the disappearance of design itself?

Feedforward. The Angel of History has given us a second chance to address this critical problem and, most importantly, it proportions a glimpse of a solution. The curators Christiane Paul and Steve Dietz, and ourselves at OSS, were opposed to any radical division of the pieces into isolated thematic groups and yet at once refused to entirely relinquish the possibility of providing an organised reading of the issues. We wanted it all, an order imposed on the works but also the coexistence of all the works in a single landscape. Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History, the source inspiration for the show, offers one of the most physical and intense translations of the advance of time in space. We wanted any visit to the exhibition, any movement of the public, to operate as a representation of the Angel of History, in short, an overall view of the past strewn at his feet.

We have made the typical dividing walls one normally fi nds in exhibitions partially disappear, turning them into semitransparent partitions. If we are not sure about our ability to make design metaphorically vanish, at least we try to achieve it in a physical way, turning the walls into a less physical presence, as if in the process of disappearing. This transparency, together with the way of making them, with a clearly differentiated front and back, gives the route through the exhibition a non-subjective, defined and undisputed directional quality that connects it with the irreversibility of the passing of time. We want the public to fully control the exhibition right from the word go, just as the Angel of History does with the recent past. That said, this control intensifi es the 
attraction one can feel towards the discovery of each piece glimpsed through successive layers.

These dissolved walls weigh less, are easily assembled and made with a great economy of means... We would like to think that, while it is impossible to eschew the idea of destructive progress, this succession of planes, silhouettes and shadows achieved by scant means speaks of a less violent version of progress.

By Ángel Borrego - Office for Strategic Spaces

Diseño espacial: Feedforward. El ángel de la Historia

Realizado por Ángel Borrego - Office for Strategic Spaces

Feedforward. El ángel de la Historia Oct 22, 2009

Cleaning up after the 20th century. What is progress now?

Credits: Feedforward. The Angel of History

Ángel Borrego

Ángel Borrego has a PhD in Architecture from the ETSAM (School of Architecture of Madrid) and a ...

“In Search of a Story”, 8-part journal by K.D. (2008-2009)

Weekly journal printed in El Comercio.

Spatial design: Emergentes

Created by Fernando Muñoz y Sergio Sebastián arquitectos

Dialogues with students. Conversation with the artist Carlos Motta Oct 22, 2009

Carlos Motta will demonstrate some of the activities related to his work La Buena Vida, as part of ...

Spatial design: Homo Ludens Ludens

By: Nerea Calvillo (C+arquitectos)

Symposium Feedforward. The Angel of History Aug 23, 2009 12:00 AM

In coincidence with the opening of the exhibition Feedforward. The Angel of History, LABoral Centro ...

Rosina Gómez-Baeza showcases the work done by LABoral in the region and cartography at the Faenza's Festival dell’Contemporary Art Rosina Gómez-Baeza showcases the work done by LABoral in the region and cartography at the Faenza's Festival dell’Contemporary Art

The Director of the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation in Gijón takes part in the meeting in ...

Eelko Moorer

    Logo LABoral
  • Information

  • Los Prados, 121
  • 33203 Gijón (Asturias)
  • Spain
  • Phone: +34 985 185 577
  • Contact
Personal tools
Log in