Jerusalem Design Week challenges the inevitability of reality turning into a circus

For the edition that takes Israel out of the pandemic, Jerusalem Design Week chooses the theme of a positive escape from reality. Finding in the circus metaphor a key to put anomalies, hyperbole, and amazement under the spotlight.

The desire for suspension from the everyday has inspired Anat Safran and Tal Erez, respectively artistic director and chief curator, to spot a new guiding theme of the new edition of Jerusalem Design Week, which opens on July 1 in the old pavilion of Hansen House, the city's former leper colony. With "Runaway Circus", the limelight is then offered to the possibility of making eccentricity and escape the pretext for a great popular festival - every year the festival is inaugurated with a free-entrance evening that welcomes a huge participation of secular Jerusalem, as well as worldly Tel Aviv.          

In a particular conjuncture marked by Covid's setback, design reconsidered through the lens of circus takes on the role of agent provocateur, suggesting distorted visions or alternative ways of conceiving our artifacts, magnifying freaks and their aesthetics, or even just making itself a tool for reconnecting social relationships and legitimizing entertainment as a collective cure after the long months of solitary confinement.

Among the projects on display, The Freakshow exhibition (curated by Safran and Erez) questions the boundaries of normality through the work of 20 Israeli and international designers. The pairings fielded by the Matchmaker Project will instead focus on food, pairing a designer and a chef in experimenting with new possibilities for interacting in the kitchen environment. Finally, the multidisciplinary artists of the Clown X collective will turn into the circus performers for the opening parade of the design week, which will be conducted among installations, acrobatic robots, maxi-inflatables, and virtual videos in the garden of the Hansen House.

Design week
Anat Safran, Tal Erez

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