November 14, 2017 - Liverpool Biennial - "Design & Empire [working title]"
November 14, 2017

Liverpool Biennial

(1) "Design & Empire" image courtesy Project Projects. (2) Grace Wales Bonner, Ezekiel, 2017. Courtesy Jamie Morgan and Tom Guinness.

"Design & Empire [working title]"
November 24–26, 2017
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"Design & Empire [working title]" is a multi-part event exploring the power structures embedded within contemporary and historical design, visual art, and consumer culture.

Presented by Liverpool Biennial and Liverpool John Moores University and curated by Prem Krishnamurthy, Emily King, and Joasia Krysa, "Design & Empire" brings together practitioners from the fields of art, design, architecture, and fashion. Framed by guided city tours exploring Liverpool’s architectural past and a cooking event serving a colonial-style Christmas Pudding, the weekend presents a series of talks from leading creative voices. These conversations touch upon topics ranging from national identity and the display of museum collections, copying within creative manufacturing, distributed models of property ownership, postcolonial approaches to contemporary fashion, reuse and revaluation of bio-industrial materials, the politics of computer interfaces, and beyond. With Liverpool as both the subject and stage, "Design & Empire" will collaborate with its citizens in challenging aspects of Liverpool’s imperial legacy whilst reflecting on current practices within design and visual culture.

Participants include Shumi Bose (curator, RIBA and teacher, Central Saint Martins, University of The Arts London); artist duo Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe)Frederico Duarte (curator); Paul EllimanMohamed Elshahed (Project Curator, Modern Egypt Project); Christopher Kulendran Thomas (artist); Mae-ling Lokko (architect and Assistant Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Meriç Öner (Director of Research & Programming, SALT); Duro Olowu (fashion designer); Christian Ulrik Andersen (Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Department of Digital Design and Information Studies); and Grace Wales Bonner (fashion designer).

All events are free with booking required here.

Delivered in partnership with RIBA North and The Serving Library at Liverpool John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab. Funded by Arts Council England. 



Friday, November 24

Imperial by Design and drinks reception
RIBA North / 6–8pm
Curators Prem Krishnamurthy and Emily King consider how design functions as a primary force in the production, consumption, and distribution of political and cultural ideologies.

Saturday, November 25 

Empire Walks: Guided city tour
Starting point: RIBA North / 10:30am–12pm
A set of guided tours of Liverpool by RIBA North, exploring the legacy and impact of colonialism upon the city’s infrastructure and built environment.

"Design & Empire" talks
Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Art & Design / 1:30–7:30pm

Empire Talks I: Shumi Bose & Christopher Kulendran Thomas
Curator, educator, and editor Shumi Bose and artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas consider topics including national identity, property ownership, and economic redistribution.

Empire Talks II: Frederico Duarte & Mohamed Elshahed
Writer and curator Frederico Duarte and curator Mohamed Elshahed discuss the intersection between design and national identity with reference to the collecting policies of museums that were once at the heart of imperial systems.

One and the Many by Meriç Öner
Reframing questions of authenticity, manufacturing, and creative genius, Meriç Öner discusses the idea of "genuine copies" within the history of Turkish industrial production.

Empire Talks III: Christian Ulrik Andersen & Mae-ling Lokko
Christian Ulrik Andersen and Mae-ling Lokko consider hidden dimensions of material production and contemporary consumption, focusing on computer interface design and agro-waste, respectively.

Ruins of Empire: Detroit as Refrain/The Liverpool Echo by Paul Elliman  
The Serving Library at LJMU's Exhibition Research Lab
Paul Elliman pursues the trajectory implied by the industrial and post-industrial locations of his youth, revisiting them via images and music.

Sunday, November 26

Stir-up Sunday by Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe)
LJMU's Exhibition Research Lab / 10:30am–12pm
In a hybrid performance lecture and food event, artist duo Cooking Sections introduce the myriad web of colonial routes and locations that underlie contemporary culinary fare, taking the pudding as both a case study and object for consumption.

Empire Talks IV: Grace Wales Bonner & Duro Olowu
LJMU's Exhibition Research Lab / 12–1pm
Fashion designers Grace Wales Bonner and Duro Olowu consider the globalised context of contemporary fashion design, addressing questions of cultural origination, export, and value construction. 

Liverpool Biennial
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