Art Gallery of Ontario

February 10, 2005 11:23 ET

The World of Design and the Design of the World revealed

in Massive Change: The Future of Global Design Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Environment Editor, Lifestyle Editor, Travel/Tourism Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 10, 2005) - Massive Change: The Future of Global Design, on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario March 11 to May 29, 2005, is an exploration of design's unprecedented capacity to transform the world. This international touring exhibition, by renowned Toronto designer Bruce Mau and the Institute without Boundaries, commissioned and organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, proposes a new definition of design that envisions the practice as a profound global force at work in all facets of human life. While Massive Change is a celebration of design's rapidly expanding capacities, it is also a cautionary look at its limitations. The exhibition considers the ethics of living in a world where nature is becoming pliable to human manipulation.

"Design is no longer simply a mechanism for adapting to the world in which we live, but is profoundly affecting change on a global scale," said exhibition creator Bruce Mau. "I think if people walk away with the realization that their world is being designed around them, that design shapes their reality, and that they can play a role in how it is shaped, then we will have succeeded."

Uniquely provocative, Massive Change totally immerses viewers into installations composed of a mix of objects, sound, video, still photography, computer and satellite images, interactive technology and three-dimensional constructs. The exhibition is organized into 11 separate but interconnected global systems of design, which Mau calls design economies. Urbanism, Manufacturing, Movement, Health and Living, Energy, The Image, Materials, The Military, Information, Markets, and Wealth and Politics - Massive Change explores these economies through the events, ideas, and people who investigate their capacities and shape their potential.

"The content of Massive Change, like all good art, challenges the way we look at the world," said Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO director and CEO. "The exhibition gets people talking about the possibilities and complexities of our planet, which is precisely the kind of dialogue the AGO strives to inspire."

Massive Change presents some startling and provocative design breakthroughs. From the stair climbing iBOT wheelchair in the Movement economies gallery; to an investigation of the blur between military and civilian design in the Military economies; to the self-cleaning glass and Aerogel, the lightest solid in the world, in the Material economies; to the laboratory-grown nose cartilage and cross-bred featherless chicken in the Health and Living economies, Massive Change explores objects and innovations that have transformed our everyday lives, and yet-to-be-integrated inventions and systems that promise to revolutionize the world. In addition, the exhibition invites visitors to get involved in shaping the future of design by asking for feedback on such things as genetic manipulation and other bioethical debates.

"American Express is proud to once again sponsor Massive Change: The Future of Global Design. The exhibition had enormous appeal during its run at the Vancouver Art Gallery and we anticipate the same will be true at the AGO," said Beth Horowitz, president and CEO of Amex Canada Inc. "Massive Change explores innovation. This is a territory very much in line with our focus at American Express on driving and enabling full and rewarding lives through our products and services."

Massive Change is a collaborative project by Bruce Mau Design and the Institute without Boundaries. Since its inception in Toronto in 1985, Bruce Mau Design has gained international recognition for innovation across a wide range of projects, from book design to visual identity and branding, environmental graphics, programming and exhibitions, and product development. The studio has collaborated with some of the world's leading architects, artists, writers, curators, academics, entrepreneurs, businesses and institutions. Their recent projects include collaborations with Transformation AGO architect Frank Gehry on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Stata Center, and Tree City, which will transform Toronto's Downsview Park into Canada's first urban National Park. Mau rose to prominence in the early 1980s through his work with Zone Books. In 1995, he collaborated with Rem Koolhaas on the celebrated design manifesto S,M,L,XL, and in 2000 he published his own acclaimed manifesto Life Style.

The Institute without Boundaries is a post-graduate, interdisciplinary design program developed by Bruce Mau Design in partnership with George Brown - The Toronto City College. In this demanding program a small number of students is chosen from an international pool and a diverse range of academic and intellectual backgrounds to spend a year inside the Bruce Mau Design studio working as a team to research, design and realize an ambitious public project.
Established in January 2003, the program aims to create a new breed of designer that can look beyond the specific to see expansive and innovative possibilities. Massive Change is the first project of the Institute without Boundaries.

The Massive Change exhibition and tour is a project by Bruce Mau Design and the Institute without Boundaries, commissioned and organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Massive Change: The Future of Global Design is sponsored by American Express Foundation and supporting sponsors Teknion and St. Joseph Corporation.

This exhibition has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
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Contact Information

  • Andrew Riley, Publicist, Art Gallery of Ontario
    Primary Phone: 416-979-6660 ext. 403
    E-mail: Andrew_Riley@ago.net