It's an optimistic point of view, of course, but I have to admit an exhibition like The Machine makes a pretty strong case for it. Itself sitting in a recently repurposed mining area, now transformed into a creative hub called C-Mine that has been hi-jacking visitors from Manifesta 9's more charismatic Watershei venue, the show is the first joint project of Design Hub Limburg.
The exhibit is curated by Jan Boelen, artistic director of the Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt, and provides a conceptually solid framework to understand some of the most dramatic shifts in design today (and a chance to physically interact with the objects causing them). The focus ranges from the influence of digital technologies like low-cost 3D-printers and Arduino processors to the reclamation of old-fashioned repairing, from the deconstruction of object-making to the newfound need for participation and open-source. The main underlying statement, however, is that the designer-user relationship has changed for good and there is no excuse for people to ignore the political and economical implications derived from this shift.
To its credit, the exhibition manages to celebrate innovation while staying critical, and freshly so