Dead Ringers, work exhibited in Public Luxury, group show at ArkDes, Sweden's national centre for architecture and design
Övrigt - Utställning, 2018
Dead Ringers is a study of Stockholm’s smallest public buildings – like phone booths, public restrooms and photo kiosks. These kinds of public spaces are a current concern simply because they are becoming extinct. Some, like phone booths, are rapidly being removed because of technological shifts. Others are threatened because they are at odds with prevailing ideals for public spaces, like transparency and openness. Dead Ringers critically turns this tendency into new opportunities. It proposes to selectively replace removed booths with mysterious near-copies that provide similar types of enclosed public spaces, without the narrow functional focus of phone and photo booths. Most if not all of Stockholm’s urban booths are immediately recognizable as small figures in the urban fabric. At the turn of the last century some models featured shingle clad pitched roofs and slender legs, while more recent ones are monolithic, rectilinear volumes made from formed metal panels. What ties them together, despite stylistic differences, is the fact that they all have been shaped after the human body. Their anthropomorphic features include vertical proportions, symmetry, and a clear division into base, enclosure and roof. Each proposed Dead Ringer samples and tweaks these ideal proportions and perfect symmetries of historical booths, recasting them as imperfect and multivalent individuals. A full scale Dead Ringer was commissioned by ArkDes for the exhibition Public Luxury, curated by Kieran Long, Daniel Golling and Marie-Louise Richards.
Public Luxury is an exhibition about architecture, design and the struggle for public life. Large-scale commissions, installations and projects inside and outside of the museum will give visitors an insight into the struggles and successes of design as it faces many of the challenges currently facing Sweden. From hot dog kiosks to public monuments, and from video games to public campaigns, the works reflect the breadth of the contemporary debate about Swedish cities.
The title Public Luxury sounds like a contradiction, but recognizes that everything in the public realm exists for more than merely functional reasons. Every kerbstone, bench, bollard, station sign, public toilet and street is part of the character and identity of a place.
All the works in Public Luxury, many of which were made for the exhibition, share the ambition to tell a story about public life today. Architects and designers may not be able to change society, but nothing reveals how society is changing as clearly as architecture and design.
Participants include Dansbana! (Anna Pang, Anna Fridolin and Teres Selberg), Jonas Dahlberg, Sandi Hilal/DAAR, Johan Celsing, Hilda Hellström, Johannes Norlander, Åsa Jungnelius and Uglycute, among others.