A collection of recent work from Parsons and Charlesworth, Spectacular Vernacular will be exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center from September 10 to January 2. Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth have long had a broad, independent practice with emphasis on experimental design and discursive design. They are pushing boundaries and helping to chart expanded notions of design through their making, writing and teaching.
This exhibition takes viewers on a journey of research, experimentation and conjecture to discover the rhetorical and narrative possibilities embedded in the designed objects surrounding us every day. In their work, they critique traditional notions of design, such as "designer as servant to industry," aspiring to allow design to move beyond a strictly problem-based framework. The purpose of the work is to express unconventional ideas around the ways we ask questions and engage with the objects in our lives. Their work ranges from mass-produced objects and unique one-offs to limited editions, writing and printed publications.
Spectacular Vernacular is the first major solo exhibition of work by the design studio Parsons & Charlesworth, formally founded by British husband and wife Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth in 2014. Showing three distinct aspects of their creative practice – observation, experimentation, and speculation – across the three galleries of the Chicago Rooms, the exhibition reveals how Parsons & Charlesworth mix their craft and industrial design backgrounds with influences from fiction, science and the arts. In doing so, the studio makes the case for independent design practice as a critical response and essential adjunct to the corporate design world.
The first gallery deals with observations, and is a collection of images and objects that inform their practice. These come from three specific sources with each artifact selected because of particular design traits that ultimately offer insight into the poetic potential of things.
The second gallery deals with experimentation, and includes objects that represent the studio's desire to re-think everyday material culture. It presents a series of products and prototypes that playfully suggest we take a closer look at the built environment and our role in it.
The final gallery focuses on the importance of speculation, using thought experiments in the form of objects and storytelling to raise questions about the human condition and to speculate on alternative ways of being. These projects use design as a means of raising awareness of wider issues; they suggest alternative futures.
Don't have an account? Join Now
Create a Core77 Account
Already have an account? Sign In
Please enter your email and we will send an email to reset your password.