WHAT'S IN/ON YOUR HEAD? | SALONESATELLITE 2023
The Art Academy of Latvia is participating in the Salone del Mobile. Milano international design fair, taking place from 18 to 23 April, featuring in the SaloneSatellite space for young designers and design schools. Rho Fiera Milano fairgrounds, SaloneSatellite pavillion, G07 stand.
This is the fifth time the Art Academy of Latvia (LMA) is taking part in a design event of such scale and significance. Back in 2004 the design study department at LMA commenced its international exhibition activities at this very fair, and in the meantime the academy has been recognised for its distinct displays and relevant design messaging, also featured in the international media. This is why this year we are invited as special guests – as an educational establishment with a manifest attitude to design education.
While last year's LMA display was a metaphorical homage to "mending the world" from a sustainability and ecology perspective and appreciated as a manifestation of poetic design, this year's concept belongs to the realm of critical design, pervaded by anxiety about the fluctuating social processes.
The shared responsibility of design is embodied in the rhetorical question to SaloneSatellite participants and visitors alike – Design: Dove Vai? (Design, where are you going?), with the display by LMA providing an equal counter-question – What’s in/on your head?
Thus the LMA graphic identity symbol – the crown – becomes a confirmation of the fact that in art and design it's always the most creative, responsible and tolerant approach that gets crowned, both in searching for solutions to global complications and within the dimensions of personal challenges on an individual level.
In their research process LMA art and design students set out to examine what's going on in people's heads in the context of the challenges of our current era. They found that in the exhaustive information overload the view of an individual still remains narrow, that in the noise pollution the most essential remains unheard. As we know, wars are ongoing in many places of the world, therefore in this instance freedom is adorned with a crown of bullets, as opposed to the fragile matter of life. The relevance and influence of monarchies has faded right now, and the boundaries of the notion of sin have blurred, so it seems that absolution could soon be on sale at supermarkets along with consumer goods.
Converting their research process into various materials, students of five specialties at LMA – product design, metal design, fashion design, graphic design and textile – together with faculty members have interpreted the crown as a symbolic synergy of power and will where social, ethical and philosophical categories interact.
The crown as a means of expression is also used in the additional graphic material supporting the exhibit – a pack of cards, placing design in the status of a crowned ruler in the hierarchy, one with higher powers, one who must be wise and see several moves ahead.
Each visitor can carry on their dialogue with the artwork via a QR code that will take them to the Instagram account of the exhibition where they can try on all the twelve crowns in augmented reality and reflect on the questions accompanying each of the crowns. Coming up with an answer straight away or leaving the question unanswered remains up to their individual choice.
Authors of the LMA exhibition:
Lecturers at the Art Academy of Latvia: Māris Mortukāns (project lead), Maija Rozenfelde, Matīss Zvaigzne, Ervins Pastors, Rasma Pušpure, Agnese Narņicka, Sarmīte Poļakova, Beate Šņuka, Evija Štelpa, Modris Svilāns, Arvīds Endziņš, Andrejs Puķītis, Līga Dubrovska, Jānis Gailītis, Elīna Ģībiete, Ieva Krūmiņa and Barbara Ābele.
Students of product, metal, fashion and graphic design and textile at the Art Academy of Latvia: Emīlija Lūse, Paula Leismane, Marta Cīrule, Rūdolfs Kuncītis, Laura Dzērve, Lūkass Segliņš, Anete Trifanova, Elīza Dzērve, Anastasija Bikova, Dāniels Šatalovs, Laima Grasmane, Rūdolfs Kesenfelds, Katrīna Bināte, Sintija Sorokina, Reinis Lozda, Luīze Kalniņa, Egija Ziediņa.
The project has also been inspired by the traditional crown collection at the National History Museum of Latvia, going on public display at the “Crowning” exhibition of unprecedented scope, opening on June 19 this year. LMA students are also invited to participate in this exhibition with their contemporary interpretations of the traditional crown.