»Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow
Design stories between Africa and Europe««

Dokter and Misses, Kassena Collection, 2015, Photography by Vatic
Dokter and Misses, Kassena Collection, 2015, Photography by Vatic

»Looking at design stories in a global context, means on the one hand to consider design as an overall existing praxis; on the other hand comes a critical attitude towards the Eurocentric view along that, which is to this day thinking in simple dichotomies from traditional – modern, indigenous – imported, manufactured –
industrial, formal – informal.«

The research and exhibition project »Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow« goes far beyond mere reproduction of the cultural history and designed objects of the African continent. Instead dialogue and exchange, as well as the synthesis of African and European Design are central elements of the exhibition. The aim is to change the Eurocentric point of view on the artistic and cultural landscape and thus affiliate with the global turn of the art and design sciences.

The research project shows »who is currently dealing with artistic work and cultural debates of Africa and its diaspora, will notice a change from various different disciplines of applied arts.« This development is strongly connected to the (temporary) (re-)migration of contemporary designers. Designer like Cheick Diallo. As one of the project partners is he dealing with social and political dimensions of design and focusing on forms, which resulted from cooperation, exchange and dialogue. The question is arising whether it is possible to make social and political dimensions come alive through artifacts. According to that Cheick Diallo created, beforehand the exhibition and together with the manufacture project CUCULA, a design workshop in Mali. The results could be seen in Munich as well.

Cheick Diallo, Table Caba, 2012, Photography by Diallo Design.

The interplay of these various exhibitions and through the amount of global design stories the project aims to enable a new transcultural point of view on Design. The term »African Design« is displayed in its historical context to question current perceptions and existing dynamics. Contrary to a singular narration »Formflow« is considering design stories as complex and diverse. The theoretical and practical seminar attempts, within two semesters, the analyzing of design stories through a transnational perspective with a particular focus on »Africa«. The exhibition is only one result of the project. An accompanying publication as well as a catalogue will be elaborated within this work. The overall concept of the exhibition, created by students of the Institute of Art History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, was already showing a promising impression of (design-) stories between Africa and Europe.

The exhibition is curated by Prof. Dr. Kerstin Pinther and Alexandra Weigand, Dipl. Des./M.A. together with art history students of the LMU Munich. Cheick Diallo / Diallo Design (Bamako/Mali) and CUCULA (Berlin) are important project partners.

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