Review: Voyager 3 at Dutch Design Workspace Shanghai

— by

Midway December we kept on fighting on through the snowstorms for a short stopover in Shanghai. Voyager 3: A group of Western and Chinese architects, designers and artists, presented their proposed contribution for an imaginary third Voyager space probe in the format 20 x 20 (20 images of each 20 seconds), amounting to 7-minute presentations each.

Alicia Framis presenting the Moonlife Concept Store in Shanghai.

The event was organized by Volume and the Platform for Urban Investigation in conjunction with the official Chinese launch of Volume 25 – Getting There, Being There: Architecture on the Moon with The Moonlife Concept Store catalogue inside. The evening was followed by a creative industry event with food/drinks/music.

The first two Voyager capsules, sent into space in the seventies to take images of several planets in our planetary system, venture on into deep space and (potentially) encounter other intelligent life one day in the future. For that reason a representation of life on Earth was selected by scientist Carl Sagan and his team. These sounds and images included greetings in 55 languages, animal sounds etc. Not only was this a rather narrow subset of life on Earth but it also represented a strictly western point of view.

Daan Roggeveen of the GoWest Project presenting a very long distance telephone to go along with Voyager 3.

Voyager 3 intended to revamp the discussion about design in its broadest sense and how to communicate that design beyond our stratosphere. The theme Voyager 3 evokes a discussion not only on different design approaches, but also more fundamentally on what earthly values and norms are worth keeping. A wide range of objects, inventions and designs were presented to go with Voyager 3. Western and Chinese perspectives were juxtaposed and ideas were exchanged on the future of design and the design of the future.

While Arjen Oosterman discussed the concept of the ‘Faculty of Architecture’ Daan Roggeveen of the GoWest project introduced a red telephone connecting random callers from east and west to exchange ideas, creating new links between them while Emiliano Armani proposed the placing of a household mirror in Voyager 3 as a non-narcissistic method of ‘letting-go’ of our objects, subtracting instead of adding in the process.

Crowd at the Dutch Design Workspace in Shanghai attending the Voyager 3 presentations and the official Chinese launch of Volume 25 on December 19.

The event was presented at the Dutch Design Workspace, an incubator program and office space for Dutch creatives companies setting up in Shanghai. The project was generously supported by the Dutch Design Workspace, the Dutch DFA and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Shanghai.