Nothing is forever, not even functionality

Given the world we live in, we are constantly reminded that nothing has a great deal of permanence. But that’s not all negative. There is much to be learned from the deterioration of things. And there is much be considered. Which is exactly what Design Museum Mornings is doing with Heidi Schwegler, award-winning artist and Chair of MFA in Applied Craft and Design (OCAC/PNCA), at Deconstructing Design.

“When an object or place is no longer useful… it has become waste,” says Heidi. “Because of this, it has also been rendered invisible: out of sight, out of mind. Out of mind, out of sight. Empty of purpose, I can now consider its formal qualities as raw material, but a very particular raw material that is both new and an indicator of past use, past value and past purpose.”

Effective design means functionality, and functionality means use—and lots of it! Paradoxically, for many objects repeated use also means the gradual deterioration of functionality. The aspects of design that enable the object to fulfill its purpose are progressively worn down and used up, until eventually the useless object is thrown away and promptly forgotten.

Heidi begins her work where an object’s purposeful existence would normally end. Her approach to artistic creation is seemingly a backwards process, which ultimately results in representations that not only exclude but emphasize the absence of functionality. The very nature of her creative process results in glasswork that calls on the viewer to consider objects in an unusual and challenging way, and as Chair of the MFA in Applied Craft+Design she makes this demand of her students as well. Heidi’s dedication to her artistic career outside the classroom creates a unique, challenging, and fruitful experience for students within.

The event takes place Friday, August 18, 2017, at 8:30AM. It is free to Design Museum members. Not-yet Members can purchase tickets for $10. Or purchase a membership for as little as $5/month and get in free. You know, because then they’re members. Who get in free.

For more information or to RSVP, visit Design Museum Mornings: Deconstructing Design.

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