A loudspeaker that announces deaths and a device that explodes on auspicious dates are among the exhibits at Wouldn’t It Be Nice, a show at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève until 16 December.
The speaker, which broadcasts a running total of deaths reported on the BBC’s website, and the wall-mounted “exploder” were both designed by British studio Dunne & Raby, in collaboration with Michael Anastassiades, as examples of the show’s equivocal theme: wishful thinking.
“We used the term wishful thinking because we didn’t want to get into the utopian mode,” says Katya García Antón, director of the centre. “Utopia is a big word, and we wanted something more modest. Wishful thought is something packed with ambiguity, so it’s richer ground for us to explore.”
This ambiguity can produce dystopian results like Dunne & Raby’s speaker, which is wishful because it meets a perceived consumer desire for objects that respond to their anxieties.
The other five designers and four artists who contributed met the brief in a sunnier way. Italian designer Martino Gamper set up a workshop in the gallery in the month before the show’s opening, building furniture out of junk for the other participants – expressing his desire for recycling to be easy and fun. Fashion design studio Bless contributed the black plastic Fat Knit Hammock, which visitors can lie in – a wish for a friendlier, less exclusive fashion world. Other exhibitors included Marti Guixé, Jurgen Bey and Dexter Sinister.