Jerusalem Design Week 2018 Tackles Conservation for a Brighter Future

Jerusalem Design Week 2018 examines conservation in all its facets, from instinct to survival and essential features that give us an identity, bringing us into the future

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Dor Kedmi

In understanding the spirit of Jerusalem Design Week 2018, it’s hard not to wonder what exactly makes one “design week” different from another?

Something of a Genius Loci, the “spirit of a place”, that permeates the curatorial selection, the spaces, and the work from designers that translate the cultural spirit, local craftsmanship, history, and political and economical situation into well-conceived design.

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Dor Kedmi

There are some design weeks, like that of Milan, which have come to represent complex events through multiple forms, losing their local connections or mutating into hybrid identities to be understood on various levels. And then there are the more recent affairs, delivering a more direct or punctual form of Genius Loci.

That seems to be the case here at Jerusalem Design Week, now on its 7th edition, which kicked off on June 7th, 2018 under the theme “Conserve”, guided by artistic director Anat Safran and head curator Tal Erez.

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Dor Kedmi

150 Israeli and international designers showed up to exhibit their projects, installations, spectacles and temporary experiences in the city’s key cultural site, museums, and gallery arts. The event concentrates on the idea of conservation and conservationism through the lens of the society (The Market), the environment (The Garden), the culture (The Library), and the role design plays in those contexts. The cultural kermesse also establishes collaborations with international organizations like D’Days of Paris or the Milano Design Film Festival.

Taking center stage at JDW 2018 are the Hansen House, a former leper community from the 19th-century transformed into a contemporary center for design, media, and technology, Palazzo Bezek, and the Jerusalem Theater.

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Dor Kedmi

A tour of the main exhibition to explore the spirit of Jerusalem Design Week means reflecting on its host city at this moment in time. A voyage through the “Human Conservation Project” will stimulate reflection on concepts of conservation applied to human beings and the social and cultural constructs that push mankind to fight against time to preserve the human existence and identity.

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Dor Kedmi
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Dor Kedmi

The instinct to conserve of our very existence, both biologically and culturally, is explored at JDW, investigating the mechanisms we implement to sustain and prolong our physical and memorial existence. Social constructs evolving around the biological necessity to procreate are examined along with the useless struggle to register humanity as a whole in both time and space. All part of an enormous technological, social, and cultural operation to preserve human existence, it’s persistence and it’s identity.

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Dor Kedmi

Also focusing on identity is the “Local History” program, centered on the history of Israeli design, and dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Society for Jerusalem, responsible for the visual guidelines for all art, architecture, and landscapes. The exhibit, curated by Keren Kinberg, Hadar Porat, and Alex Topaz, presents the influence of the society on the city, inviting designers to explore the future, asking the inhabitants of Jerusalem today, “what will you preserve for the future?”

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Dor Kedmi

Finally, if the role of design is to anticipate the needs of the future, a Design Week can’t ignore the new generations, which in Jerusalem are represented in “The Future Rooms”. There, a series of five, 20 square meter spaces is reserved for Israeli and international design schools: Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art’s Fashion department; HIT’s Industrial Designer Department; Vitso - Haifa Graphic Design Department, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design’s Fashion & Jewelry department; Muthesius University of Art and Design Industrial Design Kiel.

It’s a program in delicate harmony between the past and future, national identity and openness to the world, which are the same traits that allow design to evolve, a city to grow, and humanity to conserve itself.

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