Ambiguous standards and everyday geopolitics

Among the projects seen at Jerusalem Design Week 2019, ASI - Ambiguous Standards Institute archives banal objects to reveal political and social relations.

In the world there are 14 different types of plugs and outlets and only one country in the world has a model that is not compatible with any other state: Israel.

Among the most stimulating projects spotted at Jerusalem Design Week 2019 is that of the ASI – Ambiguous Standards Institute, a research collective inspired by a Turkish governative agency that really existed in the 1960s, which had the task of comparing local standards for products, services and protocols with those of other countries to verify their adaptability.

Ambiguous Standards of Electricity: Plugs and Outlets
This variety stems from the period of the industrialisation of electricity, an era of imperialistic struggles of early modern standardisation as well as technical necessities such as voltage, frequency and grounding

The group maintains the same spirit as its predecessor and conducts these comparisons in a different era: that of Amazon and Ali Express, where objects from all over the world can be reached with just a few clicks.

Through the accumulation and reorganization of everyday objects, banal fragments of diverse material cultures, ASI carries out a geopolitical and social analysis that touches several countries and is more interested in movements, agreements and relationships than in precise geographies.

The food industry has developed all number of metrics to classify and value different food according to shape, size, weight, colour and firmness, and developed packaging, transportation and consumption criteria accordingly

Glasses of tea, eggs, cooking utensils, musical rhythms, gestures and instruments for time measurement: in addition to the electrical sockets exhibited in Jerusalem, the research includes other six chapters, each of which is organised and displayed in a wooden case. The project was exhibited for the first time at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, as part of the exhibition “A School of Schools: Design as Learning”, which can now be visited at the Mine Cultuurcentrum in Genk until 29 September 2019.

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